Course: ECO202
Instructor: Muller
S 2017

Description of Course Goals and Curriculum

The Goal of this course is to provide students with the skillset that they need to analyze data in a more sophisticated manner. By beginning with the basic concepts of statistics, such as Normal distribution and Regression analysis, the course hopes to build your knowledge by complicating these statistical concepts. For instance, once the course has covered the basics of Inference it can be complicated by applying it to means, probability, and multiple regressions. Topics covered in the course are layered atop each other to provide a more holistic understanding of statistics. This course has weekly problem sets, two midterm exams, and a final exam.

Learning From Classroom Instruction

  • ECO 202 lecture is relatively regimented compared to other courses by virtue of the fact that there is good amount of content that needs to be covered throughout the course. Much of the lecture revolves around following the professor as they complete a calculation on the board. It is crucial to try to follow each step as best as possible because the class moves on relatively quickly. At the same time don’t feel afraid to raise your hand and ask the professor to explain something that you find confusing. More often than not another student probably had the same question that you wanted to ask. Lectures for this course are very clear in terms of what the goal is and what the professor expects for you to get out of it. Be on the lookout for the professor pointing out which concepts are more important than others to understand.
  • Precepts for ECO 202 focus primarily on reviewing the assignments from the previous week. After exams have been graded precepts also cover questions that may rise from the exam. Although there is one class on STATA (a statistical software program) it is not entirely essential for the class. It is emphasized as something supplementary that one may want to engage in if they so please. For the most part precept is what you make out of it for ECO202. One can use it as the opportunity to formulate questions they had which confused them in the current problem set as well as to make concepts that were fuzzy in lecture more clear.
  • The primary reading for this course is “Introduction to the Practice of Statistics” by David Moore, George McCabe and Bruce Craig, 8th edition (Freeman). This text is followed very closely by the lecture. Even if you cannot cover the material in depth before lecture, just skimming it will help for following lecture. The content of the textbook is very relevant to the course so spending the extra time to look at it will actually save you time in the future!

Learning For and From Assignments

  • There are 10 problem sets for this course which enable students to apply the skills they gather from class. Keep in mind that just as the concepts in class build on top of each other, so do the problem sets. Problems which show up for one problem set may be tweaked slightly and ask that you try to apply another skill that was taught in class. Problem sets are also a good indicator for what you might expect to see in exams for this course.
  • Although there are quite a few resources available for statics based courses (which will be expanded on further), try to struggle through as much of the problem set as you can on your own. For problems which are similar to previous ones that were assigned, for instance, one can work through the parts that are familiar for practice before determining if they need help for the remainder. In order to actually LEARN from the problem set it is important not to take short cuts for finding the answers because the problems give you valuable practice for future exams.
Two types of problems: What to focus on.
  • Book Problems: These problems adhere to strict formats which are meant to test your ability to recall statistical concepts. This means that their goal is typically to see whether or not you understand the basics of how to apply a statistical skill. Because of this, these questions are not as complicated by nature, rather one should treat them as refreshers for the material that was covered for that week.
  • Conceptual Questions: These are the problems that the professor wrote themselves. These are especially important to comprehend because they are the best indicator for what one may see on the exam (besides the practice exams of course). It is important to keep in mind that these questions tend to combine different topics from the week in order to get you to think outside the box. These questions are not as straightforward to answer as the textbook questions and give you the chance to see how well you really understand the material.
Tests, including exams and quizzes
  • There are two midterms and one final exam which consist of open ended questions similar to those in the problem sets. Although some questions test ones straightforward recall, as the exam progresses the application of basic concepts gets more complicated and requires one to mix multiple concepts. Although the two midterms cover different topics, the final exam is cumulative so it is important to look at the the course material holistically. Here are some beginner steps one can take before determining what works best for them:
    • Reviewing open ended questions from the problem sets. These are the best way to see how the professors likes to word their problems.
    • There are quite a few practice tests given for each midterm, dating back to 2004! So there is definitely not shortage of opportunities to practice your skills for the exam. The closer the practice exam dates get to the actual exam year the more similar the structure and questions will be to the coming exam. If there is a crunch for time focusing on the more recent practice exams may be more helpful.
    • Making a key for what each symbol stands for in each equation. There is also a “cheat sheet” allowed for the final exam so writing a key for symbols and equations may be helpful for putting together this sheet at the end of the semester.

External Resources

  • Piazza: Many students use this discussion forum to get help on problem set questions as well as to clear up any confusions from the practice exams! The professor and TA’s are very responsive on this forum so use it to your advantage!
  • Additional Lecture Notes (Will save you a lot of time!): The professor posts lecture notes that include key equations and concepts from the lecture. If one prints this out before the class it may help them follow better and save time having to write down certain equations. In addition, the professor often moves through these portions of the lecture faster because there are lecture notes provided in the first place so be sure to actually take a look at and use them!
  • Learning Consultations: Learning Consultants at the McGraw center can help with a wide range of issues one may face. It is best to speak to them relatively early on in the semester so that one can apply what they talked about to the course to see what works best for them individually. For instance, learning consultants can help with planning a schedule for when to begin problem sets so that they are not held off until the last minute. For ECO202, which has two midterm exams, it may also be useful to talk through how to make a good review schedule for both midterms so that it will not be overwhelming as the exams approach.

What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection

Statistics and Data Analysis for Economics

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