course
Intro to Statistics

Mar 2021

Here is why Zheng rocks: 1) The workload was very manageable. She adjusted deadlines when she saw that we were stressed and needed more time. She believes students should learn in a nurturing environment, so she lets you submit homework multiple times (until you master the content). 2) Her final exam was about testing your knowledge, not tricking you. Zheng even offered to increase the weight of the final for individual students who were worried they might not pass the class. This was ingenious-it allowed more students to do well and also created a greater incentive to study for those who felt their grade was a lost cause. 3) There were ample office hours where you could ask questions. Zheng is very approachable and friendly. She stayed VERY late at the office hours before our big coding project was due because she really cares about helping her students. 4) Zheng organized an army of TAs who were always there to answer questions on the course discord she built us. This was really nice for students who worry about asking the professor questions. The TAs also helped us in class when we split into breakout rooms to work on coding notebooks. 5) Zheng added a research credit for students who were interested in exploring coding more on their own. We analyzed election prediction models and proposed additions to them. This was such a great opportunity, especially because it was accessible to students who were new to coding! 6) Zheng is super organized. I would 100% take Zheng again. She’s the reason I want to major in stats! _______________________________ Here’s how Professor Zheng made Intro to Stat my favorite class during my first semester at college: - She developed an innovative course structure. We learned the basic intro to stat content on our own, through short videos she posted on Canvas. We explored the basic ideas behind each math concept on our own; in class, we got to see how those ideas applied to research and the real world. - On the first class day of each week, Zheng taught us coding using interactive R notebooks that demonstrated the stats content we had learned. My understanding of the content was definitely deepened through the R work-plus I got an intro to R! (major bonus!) - The second meeting each week was about the election. (For context, this class overlapped with the 2020 Trump v. Biden election.) Zheng invited other professors (like Gelman and Wawro) to teach us about elections and how statistics apply to election predictions and outcomes. Later in the course, she and Professor Hansen organized visits from people who analyzed data outside of Columbia, like people from 538 and the government organization that collects data on political donations. This was SO interesting. - The actual in-class content, like coding and the election, wasn’t part of the final exam. However, our coding knowledge was tested in the coding project we completed. Even though our elections knowledge wasn’t tested, attending class and learned how stats/data is applied was interesting for career path exploration and deepened our understanding of the content. That said, if you’re just going to class for the grade, you might not be into this class format.

Dec 2020

This was the most uninteresting class I've taken in my life. Professor Nguyen is nice, but he would sometimes tell us one thing, then take points off for it on an exam. He also didn't really reply to emails and would only read off of slides during lectures. The pacing of the material made no sense. We spent multiple classes going over mean, median, and mode then learned about every type of confidence interval and hypothesis test in one class. The workload isn't bad at all, but 85% of your grade is based on two exams. If you pay attention during lectures or just read the textbook, you should be fine, but I would not recommend taking this class.

Jan 2019

Super chill

Jul 2018

Baby Baydils class will break you. Be prepared for a grueling semester of cutting edge statistics and the expectations of a graduate level course. Popquizs will fly at you from every angle when absolutely no one has done the reading or agrees to answer Banu’s irritating questions like “what is a variable?” Or “do you like statistics?” I don’t fucking know banu!!! You teach me damn it!!! Then when times are tough and finals are near, she goes for the jugular. Banu will assign an entire stat report in the last week of classes. Unsure how to complete this assignment? It’s made harder by the fact that their are absolutely no guidelines. So get ready for a garbage dump of words to be thrown on paper (and of course labeled on some charts). Yes the professor wants pie AND bar charts! That shit don’t come cheap. Just thought I’d give you an inside look at this class, as to quote a close friend “i thought she was gonna stab me when said the wrong standard deviation.”

Jan 2018

class is good enough. beginning was easy and midterm was pretty straightforward though for me personally there were a bit more complicated problems than what we were assigned in the homeworks. the final was the same difficulty as the midterm though i had fallen off the wagon after the midterm and thus played an intense game of catch up during reading week. overall a good class and I got a B+ even with straight up not going for the last month or two of class. beware that he doesn't curve!

Apr 2013

Prof Yang is one of the most boring profs I have ever had. I slept through the entire course and learnt nothing. He does not engage the class at all. His lecture is a monolgue and this does not seem to bother him. He does not have regular office hours and is quite unapproachable. His exams are straightforward so if you want a decent grade this is the course for you. But if you want to learn statistics this is not the course for you.

Oct 2012

This course is very useful and enlightening. Before taking this course, I was blank to the statistical field and afraid that I couldn't follow up. It turned out that I was just over-concerned. The content of the class gave me a well-rounded picture of statistics with clear emphasize and allocation of contents. The class is just accordance with the intro level, yet giving you a bigger picture and more in depth related knowledge during the class for your future study, if interested. Since this course requires fewer maths, it was not demanding and hard in the calculation. All required equations would be provided and the aim of this class is not testing your calculation skills, but the critical thinking and reasoning. The atmosphere of class was very live and open. The case study and the sample questions were quite helpful in understanding the concepts and statistical way of explaining some matters. The professor wanted us to understand what he taught, thus he didn't rush up to meet the deadline, but very patient with everyone, yet we did finish all the stuff in time. Btw, the professor is super nice and approachable!!! He's the one you cannot afford to miss! I was totally surprised that he remembered my name just in the second day of class. He cares about students and flexible with the due dates of projects, the attendance and the class organization as long as it is right and better for our learning and understanding. Professor Donoghue is willing and happy to discuss with students and respect students' diverse ideas. Almost everyone of us felt sad at the end of the semester to say goodbye. I benefited a lot from this course that my critical thinking was fostered, my professional statistical knowledge was initiated and I got great fun and pleasure. I strongly recommend taking this class if you are still skeptical about the data presented to us and would like to know the critical methods to do research and projects.

Aug 2012

This review is long but it’s worth your time. I’m here to set the record straight about this class. There are a few things upfront that you need to understand: 1. It is the intro level statistics class. However, math classes require more time than an average humanities class. Don’t like doing problem sets? Don’t take the class. Don’t take any math class. This is by far the least work I had to do out of calc I and III, ode, and linear algebra…side note: no I’m not a math genius, I wasn’t even a math major/minor, I just like learning new concepts and attempting to get my full $50,000 dollars worth out of this damn school each year. 2. This is Columbia. It is completely fair to give a decent. Don’t like working hard? Maybe you should have gone to a state school and majored in basket weaving. 3. The class focuses on big topics. Are you interested in understanding what they’re reading in NEJM, JAMA, etc? If you don’t know those acronyms, you probably don’t give a fuck about the content of the class and there is an 80% chance that isn’t the right class for you. You will become one of the people who endlessly complains that the workload is too much and you don’t see the point in the class. Get over it; take the higher level if you’re so smart. The workload: -Completely manageable, don’t listen to the haters below -Some of the questions on the problem sets can feel a bit tedious. However, it’s nice knowing that you’re getting the right answer. Would you rather waste 2 hours trying to solve a linear algebra problem only to get it wrong and an F on your problem set or 2 hours doing a stats problem set that you’re fairly confident you got over a 95% on? -Don’t be a lazy lion. People complain about the projects but we have weeks to complete them. WEEKS!!! Skip one frat party and ensuing Sunday hangover and you’ll be able to finish the project in a few hours…it’s easier than writing a paper for a class. The professor: -He is one of the friendliest professors I’ve ever met. You can email him or the TA with any questions that you have on the problem set. For all you gunners, this allows you to ensure that you get a 100% on every problem set. -He cares about his students. Are you a premed? Are you freaking out because you don’t have enough letter writers who know your name? Take this class. If you go to class and contribute occasionally not only will you essentially not have to study for the midterm or final, you’ll likely receive a wonderful LOR at the end of the semester -He has the student’s best interests at heart. The reason why so many people felt overwhelmed at the end of the semester with the project and last problem set was because Prof. Donoghue was nice enough to extend the due date THREE times (per the students’ pitiful whining requests at the start of every class). Name any other professor at Columbia who would do that… Overall: -Questionable attendance policies? No. This is college. Do what you want. You’re free! Just know that Prof. Donoghue knows every student by name and if you’re on the cusp of a B+/A- at the end of the semester, going to class may just serve its purpose. -If you’re a freshman, welcome to college, you’re no longer the valedictorian and sometimes you have to do work. Get over it. Now you’re competing with 8349384 other valedictorians for the A in the class. Again, get over it. -If you’re a senior, beware, senioritis, especially if you already have a banking job lined up may overwhelm your ability to do any work. Don’t take this class if you feel like carefree chilling on low lawns everyday -Sophomores and juniors, welcome home. It’s a great class to add to your schedule. Just set a time each week when you sit down and do the problem set and it becomes part of a natural routine. I actually did mine on Thursday afternoons/evenings before going out, and then I didn’t even have to think about it during the weekend.

Sep 2011

This is a shockingly good class if you can understand what it is fundamentally about. Clearly the other reviewer could not, and I am pleased to see most disagreed with her. Below are a few of the reasons to take the class. The professor is extremely nice (he learned everybody's name by like the second day in a 60 person class with optional attendance). He did not do this b/c he is a freak with names, he did it because he cared about connecting with his students. Having a professor like this is always a good thing. Second -- the class is not unnecessarily complicated. It is true that the fundamental ideas put forth in it are not terribly difficult to understand, but internalizing them and seeing their ramifications are what is really important and this is what the class is about. I would draw an analogy to evolution. The idea of evolution by natural selection is extraordinarily simple and can be boiled down to a few sentences, and having a whole course explaining it would in some way seem unnecessary. This does not mean, however, that the implications of the idea are simple or that internalizing the worldview that it gives us is not important. Just as you can have a course on evolution (a fundamentally simple idea) so too can you have this class, for it gives you access to a way of dealing with uncertainty and probability (things we must deal with as humans living in the world) in both mathematical and real world terms. I would add that the latter is often forgotten in statistics classes, though it is ultimately probably more important, but Donoghue treats it very thoroughly and thoughtfully. Third -- his accent, you simply can not beat it. Fourth -- If you pay attention to what is going on it is not difficult whatsoever. In fact, I don't really think he wants it to be, he just wants you to show him you get the ideas, and as I suggested those ideas at a fundamental level are pretty basic. Fifth -- the assignments are straightforward, there is no guesswork, though you do have to be thorough to do well. Sixth -- He puts statistics (which he admits, in and of itself is not thrilling material) in a broader perspective (he makes insightful analogies to 1984, Huxley, Bob Dylan to name a few) thereby making it way more interesting than it would be if taught by someone else. I could go on but there is not much need, if you are not convinced by now you probably won't be. If you are sensible (and it is unfortunately quite clear that many people in the class were not) there is a lot to be gotten from this class, I would highly recommend it. I never write reviews but when I saw that the other one was all there was for this great professor I was inspired to write this one.

Dec 2009

STAY AWAY FROM THIS CLASS. You think it's going to be a piece of cake because there is no calculus involved, but "Professor" Rad is the absolute worst teacher I've ever experienced. Going to class is pointless because he can't explain the material, and the book is not a great help either. He gives a quiz every Monday, and it's supposed to be on only what you did the past week, but sometimes he'll throw in a question on something completely random. There are also weekly homeworks which aren't so bad...if you spend an hour and a half teaching yourself the material before you do the problems. The only good thing about this class is that the quizzes and homework count for most of your grade, and the final is only 20%. There is no midterm. There are no more than 3 questions per quiz and the final had a grand total of 4. This class made me want to run to the Bursar's office and demand a refund for this class. I learned nothing, and I dreaded every single class. Getting an A is definitely not impossible, but it just shouldn't have to be that hard for a class like this. Bottom line: Professor Rad is terrible and so is this class.

Aug 2009

Perfect class. George (we called him by his first name) is hilarious, kind, clear, and a generous grader. You don't have to have any math sense to get an A in this course. He has office hours each week in which he will go over with you the answer to every problem assigned. The work is standard for Intro to Stats--no surprises, just the essentials presented in an easy-to-understand manner. TAKE THIS COURSE for your math requirement. There were review sessions for the midterm and final.

May 2009

I had George for Intro to Stat at the SSW. He is overall a really fair professor - lenient grader, willing to clarify any point he makes, etc. I would recommend taking a class with him for the fact that he makes the info easily accessible, has a good sense of humor, and works with you the whole time.

Jan 2009

I took this guys Intro to Statistics. Easy class... HORRIBLE TEACHER! He's a nice guy, but not only can you not understand him, he can not teach intro classes. He seems like a very brilliant guy, but he can't put anything into simpler terms for students to understand. When you don't understand he sometimes gets mad and explains it just as he had before (without trying to help you understand it in a different way). When you ask questions he has absolutely no idea how to answer you because he just doesn't understand (which gets very frustrating when you are stumped on something).

Jan 2009

Took it, got an A, learned nothing. This is ideal for people who need to get a requirement out of the way (though this is true for many other profs who teach the same class from what I've heard). On the other hand, I didn't go to class much and didn't put in any effort. He's a very nice and approachable guy. I'm sure that if you're actually interested, he would be a lot of help and possibly a very interesting professor. There is potential to learn a lot...motivation is what's lacking.

Apr 2008

It's a boring subject, and Prof. Wang is even more so. Everything would have been ok though (and boredom is a must in a class like this) if it wasn't for two things: first, his final is a huge curveball that gets you by surprise, especially since his midterm is quite straightforward. I am convinced he does it on purpose. Second, he has no sympathy for the students whatsoever. If you're late with the homework, even if you have a legitimate reason, he will not take it. In a class, especially a tough one like Stats, everything is fair game; however, one would expect the teacher to want students to do well and to learn something, whereas Prof. Wang seems to take pleasure in functioning like a machine: it's in the rules, so deal with it -- don't come looking for support. Avoid if possible and get a real teacher.

Jan 2008

Rabinowitz seemed bored out of his mind teaching our class. He put no effort into teaching it and was then frustrated that we didn't all understand everything. His tests in no way reflect the study guides or homework materials. There isn't much due for this class, but it is essentially self taught. It really makes me wonder why I'm paying so much tuition. I would strongly recommend taking this class from someone else.

Jan 2007

Not sure why everyone's bitching about this class. Loh's good at explaining concepts in class and uses a lot of examples to demonstrate them, so you can figure out what's going on just by copying stuff off the board. He really goes overkill with this, to the point that half the class can become boring repetitive examples (but at least you're sure to learn the concepts, if you can stay awake). The first half of the semester is just basic probability and basic statistical concepts and you only really need to go to every other class, if that. It gets a little harder for the second half of the semester and I'd recommend actually going to class at that point- he's great at explaining stuff you don't already know. He also gives a good list of midterm and final review material so you get familiar with what you have to know (he'll also tell you in lecture whether something will be tested). In order to do well in this class, you just have to do the homework yourself- if you do the homework, then you'll know all the concepts for the tests.

Jan 2006

Professor Xu is a good teacher, albeit somewhat inexperienced. He's an extremely organized lecturer (provided students don't throw him off track with questions), links together concepts, and makes a whole-hearted effort to ensure that students get the most out of his class. He'll even respond to questions over e-mail within a day. Most of the students taking this class are only looking to get out of the Stats requirement for Econ majors with an easy A; Professor Xu provides exactly that. He's often too lenient towards obnoxious, show-off Econ majors who try to take advantage of him, but cut the guy some slack - he really does want everyone to make a good grade, and he even says so the first day of class.

Jan 2005

If you have to take this class for a requirement, old Martin is a clear lecturer and a nice guy. You can imagine how fun intro stats is - the book sucks, its easy to sleep through class, and recitation TA's come up short on the teaching end. Beware the methods of calculating grades - though its really really easy to get an A on the midterm and final (open notes), the homework and quizes count for half the grade, and since the book is horrible and the TA sessions stink, its easy to pull a solid D on half the course work if you're a lazy bum.

Dec 2004

Martin is one of the nicest professors that I have had at Columbia. He responds really quickly to email and is always willing to go out of the way for a student. He's a good teacher too - explains things very well and will take questions if someone is unclear - however, the course material is EXTREMELY BORING. Homeworks are pretty tedious but really help when it comes to understanding the material. TAs grade a lot of stuff, and mine was extremely nitpicky to the point that when she dropped out as a TA Lindquist had to regrade our old homeworks because of the grading disparity. So, in sum - great guy, great teacher, hella boring material. (But if you take Stats I'd recommend you take it with him).

Jan 2004

I have mixed feelings about this class. The lectures were very organized; Martin went point by point through the text book chapters, writing out every little thing on the board. He went over certain points probably 10-40 xs, which is great if you are confused, but if you're understanding everything, his repetition gets tedious. He graciously takes questions during lecture but can't always answer them sufficiently. Homeworks got progressively a little longer and harder as the semester wore on. My TA could hardly speak English, which made recitations a bit frustrating. Many kids only went to recitations when we had our quizzes. Martin does his best to make the class entertaining, and he really is a cute little man, but it's still hard to get yourself to go to lecture twice a week. Missing a lecture isn't a big deal, but missing all of them would mean a lot more studying to do around midterms and finals. A good percent of the class came to every lecture. Martin doesn't make himself that available outside of class and wants students to instead consult their non-english speaking TA's. This review is sounding pretty negative, but I didn't dislike the course that much, and I took it for interest. If it's a requirement for you, Martin is a good choice. If you're taking it for interest, you might wanna look for something a little more lively.

Jan 2004

I would consider Prof. Lindquist the best professor I've ever had at Columbia if the subject were a bit more interesting. Nonetheless, Martin was overall awesome. The lectures were consistently detailed, thorough, and easy to follow. The class is really not the difficult at all--that certainly helped. But whenever something was tricky here and there, Martin was genuinely interested in making sure you understood. He truly made me see that despite the arrogant crap you often find teaching at Columbia, there are a few gems like him out there. He's really enthusiastic both about the subject and about teaching, so you'll find that going to class isn't so bad. But if felt like cutting, you're in luck because you can borrow notes from anyone in class and still understand perfectly: the man writes down every word he says. Always ask questions in class because he'll keep explaining until you understand three times over. If you have to take Statistics (and your major allows Stats A), Martin is your man! A friend of mine even found him cute and sexy; eventually, I too had to admit his sweaty enthusiasm was adorable.

Jul 2003

What the previous reviewer said is true. I did not end up attending class because it was just impossible to understand anything. And in answering questions, her responses didn't always address what was asked. Very disappointed with the class overall because all I learned was to plug numbers into formulas found in the book.

May 2003

Professor Heuer is a nice guy with good intentions but he shouldn't be teaching a Stat course. He doesn't seem to be at all interested in the subject and this comes out in his teaching, despite the effort he makes. Stats is boring to start with but this class can push the limits at times. There's a powerpoint presentation for every class, and Prof Heuer follows them word for word. They're all available online so there isn't even really a need to go to class. This would all be ok and probably typical if it weren't for his completely unaccommodating grading system. He tells you from the start that he'll give 30% As, 40% Bs, and 30% Cs. He follows through with this no matter what the quality of the class overall. So you better hope you find yourself in a class of people who are lazy and bad at stats. If this is the case then good for you because your grade isn't reflective of your knowledge as much as it's reflective of your position in comparison to the rest of the class. I'm not normally a person who gets caught up in grades, and I actually came out with one of the As, I just know that the majority of the class was really frustrated with his rigid curves that were incorrectly applied to a class of less than 40 students. I feel bad to complain about Professor Heuer's course, because he is really a very nice guy and I'm sure that the classes he enjoys teaching are also enjoyable for the students.