Statistics is one those subjects that almost every student at the University of the Free State seems to dislike. Almost every student seems to think that it is very tricky and complicated. And it’s not that we don’t practice hard enough, we do. It’s just that there are just too many formulas to remember and some of our brains are not quite used to dealing with these kinds of things.
South Africa has a messed up education system and the quality of education in public schools is very low. For instance, although I was doing accounting and economics in high school we never had math as a subject. And many learners had problems in the end because math was required. This is part of the reason why I had to do a bridging program before I could get accepted at the university.
Although math is being offered at schools now there are still only a few good math teachers and as a result only a few percentages of pupils manage to pass mathematics in High School. According to the Report on the National Senior Certificate Examinations, 263,034 pupils wrote the mathematics paper in 2010 alone, but only 81,374 of the candidates managed to achieved a pass rate of 40% - the pass rate required to be considered for university entrance. And only 30.9% of the pupils achieved a mark above 40%.
And so those that underperformed in math encounter problems when they get to varsity because there is also Statistics to deal with. Like myself, they too end up getting confused as to which formulas to use and where. And as a result many of us end up failing or underperforming in Statistics.
When I first got introduced to Statistics I felt like it would be the end of my academic career. But despite all the challenges I still managed to pass all my first semester exams, including Statistics. However, I am now beginning to have serious panic attacks about this second semester module of Statistics. It seems more challenging than ever. We just recently wrote our first test and unfortunately things didn’t go all so well. I failed the test by five percent. I don’t handle failing very well, so when I saw my results I felt like crying. My heart was beating so fast that it felt like it was going to jump out of my chest.
But despite all the pain and disappointment I was feeling I decided that stressing about it wasn’t going to help me in any way. Instead I decided to just remain positive and to do everything in my power to make sure that I pass all my modules at the end of this semester. And with the final exams coming up in the next few weeks, I decided to ask one of my friends to be my study buddy. So far it’s been going great because we are able to help each other with many of the things that we had problems understanding before. And this time I am confident that I am going to pass Statistics because I believe that nothing is impossible if you put your mind and energy into it.
Thandi Mkhatshwa grew up in the the small village of Tintswalo, South Africa. In 2007, she graduated from the Amazwi School of Media Arts with a Certificate in Narrative Journalism and Fieldwork Studies.She is now studying Accounting at South Africa's University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. She enjoys writing about every day life and events. She blogs once a week on AFRicanmag.com. Bookmark her blog at