Words of Wisdom from Previous Students
The last few times I taught a statistics/methods class, I asked students to reflect back on their experiences in that class and to offer words of advice to future students. Here is what those who responded had to say....
(Note: these comments are unedited except for the material in red which is my clarification due to differences in course number or computer procedures)

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Spring, 2011

"Dear Future Students of Psych Stats,

If your a student like me who has had difficulty with math because you weren't exactly sure why you were doing certain calculations or what exactly you were looking for, this class actually offers you direction. True, its new material, but it's very different from just straight formulas and number-crunching; most of the time all of what you are looking for is put into the context of an actual psychological study.

That being said, I have a few suggestions for you in regards to this class: 1.) Don't leave your Problem Sets to do the last minute. Allow yourself at least one week to do them. It helps in the long run if you really take time to think about them, and attempting to complete them in two days really won't help you out much. 2.) Your Portfolio: SPEND TIME ON IT. You want to make sure you have good, solid notes and examples in there. Trust me: it helps SO MUCH during the final if you've really put effort into it. Don't underestimate this assignment and try to slap something together last minute; your portfolio will take a pretty long time to put together. 3.) As much of a pain the random, in-class quizzes may seem, they force you to study the material. You'll find that if you took the quizzes seriously, you won't have to cram for the exams. 4.) Aren't sure of the material? Go to the workshops! Basically, if you put effort into this course and regularly review the material, you should do just fine!

This class will be one of the tougher courses that you will be taking. However that does not mean that you should put little effort into it. Rather you should try your hardest and prove to yourself that you can rise to the challenge. The best advice that I can give you is be positive and stay focused because that is what really got me through. Also, the reason there are workshops twice a week are for you to get extra help. Take full advantage of this because without them I would not have done as well as I did. Good luck you can do it.

If you have any doubt of your ability in math, please do yourself the service of attending every workshop, and getting a tutor for yourself. Start the portfolio today. Revise it after. Add to it every time you learn something new. Revise it. Make it beautiful. I, have always been awful at math, and if there is one thing I wish I did was get more help earlier. This class moves fast. Very fast. Sometimes even uncomfortably fast. The only way to slow it down for yourselves is to ask questions during class - trust me the other 24 people will thank you silently .
"Hello future students,
This class is going to be difficult but if you take the time to work hard and study you will be successful! Some words of advice are to definitely print out the lectures before every class so you can listen to what Dr. Scuitto says instead of trying to write everything down. Also, work on the portfolio throughout the semester instead of all at the end. Make sure to use the quizzes that Dr. Scuitto puts up on Moodle and also use the Learning Assistants as well!
Good luck!"
As a student in this class, I would say to always look at the review questions before class and go to the workshops as often as possible. They can really help you to understand the concepts, and for me they were sometimes the only motivation to work on the practice problems before class because of other work. Go to class and participate. It will help you pay attention and confirm for yourself that you understand the concepts. Do extra practice problems. Most of the concepts in this class are new and pretty difficult, so the more you practice the more comfortable you will be with them.
Over the semester, make sure you complete all of the review questions because they will help you to stay on top of your work and do well on the quizzes. Also, try to spread out writing your portfolio, because if you save it until right before the final you will be busy with your other finals and won't be able to spend as much time or put as much effort into it. The portfolio is really necessary and will help you a lot on the final exam. Also, don't stress that much about the possibility of a quiz every class. They do not amount to that much of your final grade, they are more of a way to help you stay on top of the material. Look at them as more of a review than a quiz.
The class is enjoying and fun if you allow yourself to like the material and use the examples in fun interesting ways. USE THE LEARNING ASSISTANTS. Honestly, when ever I went to them for help my quiz grades went up significantly more than when I didn't use them. Don't treat the class as a requirement, let yourself enjoy the material because once you start understanding it, it is actually fun and interesting.
"Dear Dr. Sciutto’s next psych stat class,
Make sure that you stay on top of the portfolio. It will make the class easier during and won’t be another thing you have to do right before finals. Also make sure you always study for the daily quizzes because it very possible you have to take a quiz everyday. Also it will make studying for the exams easier. It is very doable material if you stay on top of your work.
Good luck."
"Although studying for the quizzes every week was stressful, because you never knew if you were getting one or not, it was very helpful to study for them along the way. It really prepared you for the exams and you were retaining what you were learning instead of teaching yourself everything again before the exam.
Really pay attention and take good notes. Focus on key words in problems, that will help you determine what type of test to conduct in each problem"
I had such a hard time in stat analysis so I was terrified for this class, but ended up loving it. As long as you go to class, pay attention, and do the review questions after every class you will be absolutely fine. Also, try and keep up with the portfolio, it's surprising how much you can forget by the end of the semester
"Don't let the fact that the quizzes are short and easy lead you to believe that you shouldn't study for them in advance! I had an overwhelming semester overall and it was so easy to put off studying for the quizzes until right before class. But the quizzes are such a great method of preparation for the exams, and final that you're really only robbing yourself when you slack on studying for them.

Also, utilize your resources! Psych stats can be a tough class; it's notorious in the major, but Dr. Sciutto anticipates this and gives you so many opportunities to get help and do well! The workshops were GREAT and hardly anyone attended! Every time I went to a workshop, I understood the material perfectly for the next quiz. People sometimes feel more comfortable expressing their confusion to their peers than to their professors, and workshop doesn't have a strict schedule to keep to like the syllabus does, so you have the opportunity to ask questions about anything you don't understand. I would hear people complaining about their grades who had never attended the workshops. Even if math or statistics is not your strength, a good grade in this class is well within your grasp if you actually USE these resources!"

"Dear Psych Stats Student”
Welcome to Psych Stats! If you aren't very good at math or haven't had positive experiences with it, don't worry; the math you do here is nowhere near as difficult as calculus, and is actually fairly straightforward. The random quizzes that he gives may seem annoying, but they are actually rather helpful because they force you to look at the material right after you learned it. This is nice because if you don't understand something, you can rectify that right away and little by little as opposed to realizing you don't understand 16 different things the night before the test and freaking out about it. My biggest piece of advice is to NOT leave your portfolio until the last minute (unless you enjoy pulling an all-nighter the night before your final, because then by all means go right ahead). It would be really beneficial to do each section as you learn it; not only will this save you time at the end of the semester when all of a sudden everything is due, but it will come in really handy for your problem sets and such. Good Luck!"
Previous Classes
For Psychological Statistics, some insight I would give would be to attempt to have the power point slides for that day printed out so you can refer to them during the classtime. It gets confusing trying to copy notes from the slides, it's easier and you can pay more attention when you have the slides infront of you. ALWAYS do the review questions, they are really helpful, and if you don't understand them, be sure to clarify your question before going to class so you can do the best possible on the possible upcoming quiz. Keep up to date with your portfolio. Everytime we finished a group of slides, I wrote up that portion of the portfolio when I was doing the review questions for that topic. Not only does this help you review, it also saves you from doing it all the night before the first portfolio check. Ask Dr. Sciutto for help, he will do the best he can to help you with anything you need. Lastly, as far as problem sets and putting it together assignments, start them as soon as you can after you receive them, they are confusing and you will probably need a lot of time for questions and clarifications to produce good work! (p.s. tell if Dr. Sciutto kicks the garbage can a few times, don't be alarmed, this is normal... haha)
- Print out Power Points ahead of time
- Work on Portfollio at a steady rate as you learn the material instead of all at once
- For the coin flip quiz determination it is better to call what side is face up
 
Dear Future students,
I can't stress enough the importance of being on top of your portfolio. After a chapter be sure to go back and add on to your portfolio. Print out all of the power point slides before you get to class, even if it means that you have to arrive to class a few minutes early. Attend the workshops they really help before a quiz. The course is difficult, so don't go in thinking you can skip and sleep during class, stay on your toes. Overall, the class can be exciting, especially when you laugh at Dr. Scuitto's jokes- just laugh it makes him feel better:)
 
Review questions are great! Whether or not there is a chance of a quiz, definitely do the review questions. They are a good way of seeing if you fully understand what was covered in class. It's easy to get any questions clarified before a possible quiz. Also, try to print out the slides before class, it makes it easier to take notes. If you don't have the slides, take good notes and compare them to the slides after class. Good luck- it's a great course to take!
 
Some things to keep in mind:
~ laugh at his jokes even if they aren't funny ;)
~ print out slides before class...it's MUCH easier
~ ask him anything you want - he's amazingly helpful
~ try to keep up with your portfolio to avoid all-nighters
~ save all of the SPSS worksheets to use in your portfolio!!!
~ CALL THE COIN TOSS WITH WHICHEVER SIDE IS FACE UP!

Good luck! This class is difficult, but absolutly wonderful and taught in a wonderful style. You'll get through it!
 
This can be a challenging but important class. Make sure to stay up to date with the material, since much of it builds on each other. Do the review questions before each class. They really prepare you for each quiz. Also, keep up to date with the portfolio. It can take a lot of time, but will be very helpful for the final and future classes and research in psychology. Also, printing out the powerpoint slides before class can be really helpful. Good luck!
 
This class is a really great class even if you cannot stand math. If you took stats and had touble understanding things, you will understand the concepts from stats that you did not understand previosuly in this class. The class is taught at a very good pace and studying for each potential quiz is a really useful way to reinforce the information. There is no reason to be nervous about the class. There is a lot of work, but if you pace yourself you will be fine. Additionally, it is important if you do not get a concept to ask questions and go to the workshops because if you do not get one major concept, it hinders your ability to see the bigger picture of when to use each type of stats test. Also, for your portfolio, do a section as you cover it in class so it is fresh in your mind and you do not have to rush at the end of the semester to put it together. Good luck!
 
Dearest student of torture (ha ha), I have one major suggestion for you to survive in this class. Get the notes off the R: drive [Blackboard]before class. It makes it so much easier to follow along and if you save them you can work right off of them for your portfolio. Also work on your portfolio right after you finish a major topic (e.g. t-tests). That's about it, good luck and may the force be with you.


Dear Future Student... You are about to embark on an incredible journey through the realm of statistics... sounds exciting???? Well, despite the dryness of material, Dr.Sciutto does an awesome job in making the class fun and interesting. By the time the semester is over, you will have a greater appreciation of psych. research and will feel more confident about your future performances in other classes. This class teaches you time management. I underestimated the difficulty of this course...it is a necessity that you keep up with the material, and not let yourself be intimidated or overwhelmed by the material. It is very
possible to excel in this course... Just like any other aspect of life....what you only get as much out of as you put in to this class. Good Luck and Godspeed.


Research methods [This course was an integrated statistics and methods course] is a tough class, but it is not impossible. I enjoyed the class and did well in it. Some hints for next year's students: 1. take good notes, even if it means copying the powerpoints word for word; 2. try to pay attention during class; 3. go to every class, because there is so much material to learn; 4. ask questions; 5. work on your research project and portfolio throughout the semester, or you'll have absolutely no fun the last two or three weeks of the semester; and 6. study with other people. It really isn't that bad.


Dear Psy201[PSY103] student, You are going to have to do a lot of work this semester and, at times, it is stressful and time-cosnsuming. But, overall, the class is interesting, not impossible, and worthwhile. If you keep up with your work (do not slack off even though that is tempting) and take advantage of Dr. Sciutto's willingess to help you out at any time, you can reduce the stress a lot. He goes to great lengths to make sure this class is as interesting and understandable as possible. If you just go to class, take really good notes (the notes on the R drive [Blackboard] and the handouts help) and take the quizzes seriously (they help immensely when it come to the exams), you will do fine. Don't worry!!


Dear psych 201 [PSY103] students, some good advice for this class is to actually do the study questions and study them the night before, not 10 minutes before class. Also keep up with your portfolio, it helps you study for exams and also does not load you down at the end of the semester. This class is a challenging one but it can be done with minimal pain with good organization. GOOD LUCK!!


Please, please, please do this: Every week, when you get your study questions in your email, take that as a reminder to work on the matching section of your portfolio. If you do it in one-week bites, it will be a breeze and will serve as a study aid for that quiz as well. To get the info from the PowerPoint program to the Word program: Click on View and select Black and White Then View and Slide Sorter Then Edit and Select any graphics you want. Then Edit and Copy Then go to Word, open a new document and click on Edit then Paste. Then go back to PowerPoint and select View and Outline. Then Edit and Select All Then Edit and Copy Then go to Word and Edit/Paste. Now you have the entire presentation on a document you can edit to your personal layout, add your class notes to, and save and print! You have a limit of pages per subject so check your syllabus for specifics. If you don't get some of this, there are those who can help you - especially Dr. Sciutto. Relax and enjoy the course... you'll be surprised at how well you do. Dr. S. is an exceptional teacher with superb teaching skills. Good luck! ( on the daily coin toss ) :)


Even though this class seems intimidating, it's not that bad! Dr. Sciutto is an incredible teacher and he will make the material interesting and understandable. Take advantage of his concern for his students and go to him if you are having trouble. You don't want to get behind because everything carries over. Some suggestions: (1)Print out the power points before class so you can follow along & just add your own notes. This way you can pay attention in class and they are great to study by. (2)Take the study questions and quizzes seriously! They get you ready for each exam and they are an easy "A" if you take the time to learn them. (3)Work on your portfolio after each section instead of waiting for a week before the final like we all did. It is very helpful for studying and it will be useful for senior studies. (4)Save all your lab print outs and write-ups for you porfolio That's about it! Good Luck and enjoy the class!


The best advice I can give you is to keep up with the work. When you have questions to do, do them that evening. Everything will be more understandable if you keep up with the work. This class is a lot of work, but in the end you will be glad you have taken the course. Be sure to work on you portfolio as you go. It does work well as a review for each test. May sure you include SPSS print outs for every analyses. Also Include a sample write up for each. Be sure to save all your labs as you go. They will be helpful in the end. Dr. Sciutto is great support so use him for what you can. Enjoy the class and keep a positive attitude.


Dear Psy201 [PSY103] Student, 1. Take care choosing a topic for your group project [not relevant to PSY103]. Make sure it is something you are VERY interested in, because you will know more about it than you could imagine when you get done with your literature review. 2. Copy the R: drive [Blackboard] notes before class - then take your own notes on those pages. 3. Do NOT take advantage of Dr. Sciutto's good nature. He is dedicated to teaching YOU! He is a great teacher - be a great student. 4. Do go to EVERY class. 5. Do work on each section of your portfolio as you go. 6. In labs, write copious notes on your SPSS printouts. Know where each number in a summary table comes from. Get THOSE formulas in your portfolio. 7. The one thing you will really need to comprehend is the concept of IVs. Know the difference between "within" and "between" groups. Knowing this is vital in every application. If you don't get it, ask Dr. Sciutto for more examples and then try to come up with your own and ask him if they work. 8. To gain true understanding: Try to think of every concept in your own way - then bounce it off of Dr. Sciutto. 9. READ the assignments... before class! Even if it doesn't make sense when you are reading it - it will after class. 10. Memorize this line: If p is less than alpha - REJECT the Ho. 11. Memorize this line: T-test: TWO MEANS


I know that alot of this doesn't mean anything to you now... keep it handy and re-read these letters often. They are full of really useful advice. I remember looking at former students' portfolios and being totally confused. "What IS all this stuff???" Go to Dr. Sciutto for feedback often - he is extremely patient and helpful.

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