An Introduction to Statistics



STAB22 Frequently Asked Questions

To save you asking us questions, and to save us having to answer them, here are some frequently-asked questions and our answers to them.

Where to look:

Problem sets

  1. Which problems should I do, and where are the solutions?

    In any mathematical course, the only good way to see whether you truly understand the material is to do problems. The text has an enormous number of problems, any of which will be helpful to you. At the back of the text are answers to the odd-numbered problems. Also, look at the online system MyStatLab, access to which comes with a new textbook.

Exams and quizzes

  1. When is the midterm/final exam?

    As soon as we know, we'll tell you. We'll announce dates in class and put them on the course homepage (look under News on the main page) as soon as we know what they are.

  2. What if I can't make the midterm/final exam?

    University policy is that you should be available for exams on any date within the exam periods. There are no makeup exams.

  3. What if I get sick for the midterm exam?

    Go to your doctor, and complete a medical certificate with your doctor. Get the certificate to your professor as soon as possible after the missed exam. If you miss the midterm with a valid medical certificate, your final exam is worth 80% of the course grade instead of 50% (that is, the weight for the midterm is transferred to the final). Your missed midterm will appear in Blackboard as "-1": this means "missed with documentation".  

  4. What if I get sick for the final exam?

    Go to your doctor and complete a medical certificate. Take this to the Registrar's office and petition for a deferred final exam (which is usually written at the end of the next semester). Trust me, you don't want to do this unless it's absolutely necessary.  

  5. What material is on the exam?

    You are responsible for what appears in lectures, plus all of the material in all of the sections of the textbook that we cover (this includes exercises). Optional sections are not included, unless we say otherwise. Optional sections are indicated in the text by a * next to the section heading. In the case of the term test, this means all of the above for all the material covered in lectures up until the test, unless we say otherwise. We will mention any sections of the text that you are not responsible for.  The final exam covers the whole course.

  6. What can I bring to the exam?

    You will need a #2 pencil for the Scantron (multiple choice) sheet. A pen may work, but is not guaranteed. You will need a non-communicating, non-programmable calculator (a simple one is fine, but a square root key will be useful). You will also want to bring your "cheat sheet(s)", which can contain any notes or formulas you wish. This is one sheet (midterm) or two sheets (final) of 8.5" x 11" letter-size paper. You can use both sides. This should be handwritten by you. We provide any statistical tables (such as the normal table) that you might need.

    If you need paper for calculations during the exam, you can use the question paper (the backs of the pages are blank).

    At the end of the exam, you can take away the question paper. The only material that is graded is your Scantron sheet. You are responsible for ensuring that the answers marked on there are the ones you intended. It is therefore essential that you bubble in your name and student number on your Scantron sheet before you hand it in. If you don't, you risk getting a grade of zero, because we won't be able to figure out who you are. If some information is missing, but we can figure out who you are, we have the right to deduct marks from you to compensate for our wasted time. Your exams may also have multiple versions; if that is the case, you are responsible for checking that the version of your exam (a colour printed on the Scantron sheet) is the same as the colour of the front page of your question paper.

  7. What are the tutorials for?

    The tutorials are to review the previous week's material and to have that week's quiz (at the end). You can expect that the TA will answer questions (about the previous week's material) and work through some example problems, to help you prepare for the quiz.

  8. When are the quizzes?

    In the tutorial for which you are registered. Tutorials and quizzes start in week 2 of classes. There are usually 10 quizzes, with either the first or the last tutorial not having a quiz. The marked quizzes are returned in the tutorial after they are written. (If the last quiz is in the last week of classes, you can collect your marked last quiz from your TA during their pre-exam office hours.)

  9. What can I expect on the quizzes?

    There will be about 2 short questions (worth about 5 points each) on a single sheet of paper, with space for you to write your answers. (You can use the back of the sheet if you run out of room.) Your answers will need to include a complete but concise explanation of your answer. If you write too much or too little you risk losing marks; in particular, if you end up with the wrong answer, having an explanation containing some plausible ideas will probably get you partial credit, but if you write too much, you will probably write something that is wrong and will be marked accordingly. The quizzes are designed to take less than 10 minutes to complete, but we will try to give you 15 minutes at least.

  10. What materials can I use on the quizzes?

    The quizzes are "open-book". This means that you can use your lecture notes, the text and a calculator. You may not use anything that communicates with the outside world, such as a laptop or tablet.

  11. What if I have questions about a returned quiz?

    You can ask your TA, either after the tutorial or in the TA's office hours. If talking to your TA does not resolve the issue, bring the quiz to your professor's office hours. Professors, however, cannot change the mark awarded by the TA.

  12. What if I get sick for a quiz?

    Same procedure as for an exam. Give the medical certificate to your TA or one of the professors, and your overall quiz mark will be determined from your other quizzes. As for a missed midterm, the notation "-1" will appear on Blackboard; this means "missed with documentation".

  13. What if I miss a quiz for some other reason?

    There are no makeup quizzes. You get a mark of 0 for any missed quizzes.

  14. How is the quiz mark determined?

    There are 10 quizzes. The best 9 marks are averaged. If you missed any quizzes and submitted to us a medical certificate, that quiz is not counted in the average, but you lose the right to drop the worst quiz mark. (For example, if you miss two quizzes and submit acceptable documentation for them both, your quiz mark will be the average of the eight quizzes that you did.)

  15. Is there a time limit for submitting medical documentation for the quiz or midterm?

    Yes: ten working days after the assessment that you missed.

  16. I joined the course late. What can I do about the quizzes I missed?

    Nothing. Sorry.


  1. I'm enrolled in the course, but all the tutorials appear to be full. What do I do?

    Wait. The registrar's office opens up more tutorials depending on the enrollment in the course. By the second week of classes, when the tutorials start, you will be able to enrol in one. (If  you are registered in the course but are unable to get into a tutorial by then, you have a legitimate complaint which you can take up with the Registrar's office.)

  2. When do the tutorials start?
  3. The second week of classes.

  4. How do I switch tutorials?

    This has to be done through ROSI. We can't help you with this.

  5. I can't make my tutorial this week, but I can make one of the other tutorials. What should I do?

    Ask the TA of the tutorial you wish to go to whether you can attend that tutorial for one week only. The TA has the right to say no, but will try to help you. (You can do this by asking the TA in person right before the tutorial is due to start; you don't need to do it in advance.) If you can't attend the tutorial you are registered in for more than one week, you should consider switching tutorials.

Course material

  1. What course material are we going to cover?

    Look at the course schedule, which is our best estimation of the material that will be covered in the course, arranged by section in the text.

  2. What's on the quizzes?

    Each quiz covers the previous week's lectures.

  3. How can I practice for the quizzes?

    Do problems. The odd-numbered problems in the text have answers in the back of the book (Appendix B). There is also an online system called MyStatLab where you can practice doing problems.

  4. Do I have to learn the software?

    Doing so will make your life easier. You will be able to tackle all the suggested problems, even the ones with big data sets, and you will get practice at interpreting output, which you will have to do on the exams.

  5. Will I be asked to describe how to do something using software?


  6. There's a lot of stuff in the textbook that wasn't mentioned in the lectures. Am I responsible for that on the exams?

    Maybe. There is not time to cover everything in the lectures. You need to know enough to be able to do the exercises at the end of each chapter. We will endeavour to pick out useful ones for you to work on.

  7. How can I judge how I'm doing?

    The quizzes are intended to be straightforward. If you can't manage a passing grade for the quizzes and the midterm, ask yourself whether it is useful to continue with the course. Be aware that the final exam covers material from the whole course, so you will probably find it more difficult than the midterm.

  8. How can I get help?

    All the instructors and at least some of the TAs have office hours every week. You have a good chance of getting the help you need if you avoid the times right before exams, which are busier. The other TAs in the Math and Stats Aid Room (AC320) may also be able to help you. We all have extra office hours before the exams.

Final grades

  1. How do I find out my final grade?

    The final grades are submitted according to standard university procedures and approved by the department. They are then available in ROSI. After you have written your final exam, your instructor is not allowed to discuss or negotiate grades.

  2. Can I see my final exam?

    You may request a copy of your final exam, within 90 days of writing it, through the Registrar's office.

  3. What if I disagree with the mark on my final exam?

    You may request, through the Registrar's office, that the final exam be re-read.

  4. I think my grade was calculated incorrectly. What can I do?

    Request a clerical check of your mark through the Registrar's office. An amended grade will stand, whether it is higher or lower.

  5. I need an extra 1% to win a scholarship/graduate/get out of academic probation.

    Don't even think about asking the professor for special consideration of this kind. Your grade in a course is based only on the work you have done in that course, graded according to the procedures in the course outline, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your work meets the standard required.

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