High School Statistics Coming Soon: Should You Go For It?
It is tempting to go for Advanced Placement classes. They provide a great opportunity to improve your grades and to boost your GPA above 4.0, which is more commonly becoming a factor when applying to competitive programs.
But like in every other aspect in life, every good thing has a tradeoff. For AP classes, on the one hand you have the chance to improve your grades and get recommendation letters for college. But, what if you bomb it? You may be closing some doors there.
The fear of bombing it sometimes outweighs the potential benefits, and many students will skip the opportunity to take high school statistics. I will try to go over some factors to consider at the time to make a decision like that.

What is covered in high school stats?
I have heard this question, and I truly think that what students really want to know is whether or not Statistics is math. Short answer: YES. Stats is math, so you should expect some math stuff covered in any AP stats class.
I mention this because often times students will want to go for Stats because they think it is not math. "Thankfully there is this Stats class, because I was tired of math classes". Not the case. If you are escaping from Math, you may as well extend your escape efforts to Stats.
Now, in terms of what it is covered in high school statistics, you typically will have the following:
 Descriptive Statistics: One image is worth 1000 words, or so it says the adage. You will learn different ways to graphically describe data, using histograms, pie charts, bar charts, boxplots and scatterplots
 Tallying of data. This is not exactly a topic on its merit, but you will be covering lots in terms of counting data, grouping data into frequency tables, using crosstabulations of twoway tables.
 Measures of center and description: You will learn how to describe the center of a distribution using sample mean, median and mode, and you will see how to describe the variability of data using standard deviation and ranges.
 Probability Rules: You will learn out to count and evaluate the chances of occurrence of basic events, as well as learn the basic probability rules
 Probability Distributions: You will likely cover the basic probability distribution, such as the normal and exponential distribution
 Hypothesis testing: You will learn how to make claims about population parameters using sample data. The ztest and ttest are the most common tests used.
You mileage will vary, as not all classes will cover all that. I have seen high school stats classes covering all of that, and I have seen classes covering on the first three topics.
This one is always interesting: Is Statistics harder than calculus?
Well, it is relative, depends on many factor. All in all, calculus is a more mathematical subject than Stats, in the sense that calculus is a rigorous deductive discipline where there is not much room for interpretation: In calculus you prove things, you verify that something is true or false, and you calculate specific amounts, whereas in Stats you can have more of an opinion about certain things (mostly in basic stats).
Calculus can definitely be more conceptual and convoluted than Stats, and I would go forward and even say, mostly any GOOD students could take an AP Stats class, but AP Calculus is probably not for everyone. You need to have some math in you to have a good experience with it.
But you know what, it ultimately goes with what you care about. Psychologically, you will find harder those subjects you don't like much. So it boils down to that: if you like the subject, probably you should go for it. With the only precaution that AP classes are meant for students who are doing well. So if you are struggling overall, maybe it is not such a good idea.
Is statistics easier than math?
This is a question that is related to the previous one, but I think we have answered it already. Statistics is Math. Some people will think differently, but that is fine. Arguably, Statistics is Math, perhaps a certain KIND of math.
There is no such thing as an easier subject than other. All subjects have their dimensions and their own objectives. For example, math is a deductive discipline with clear rules and boundaries and your are evaluated by your performance under those parameters. Then you have something like Creative Writing, which may have looser rules, and you will evaluated based on how creatively can you work in that setting.
Each discipline is different, and from my point of view, it does not make much sense to compare them in terms of difficulty. In terms of high school statistics, all you need to think is this: will this class benefit me? Will it enhance my application to college? If yes, then go for it. Easier, harder, who cares. You go for it, and do what you need to do in order to do well.
Is there a lot of math in statistics?
Well, I don't know if a lot of math, but Stats has sufficient math to scare you if you are actually scared of math. My point is, don't try to separate Math from Stats. If you are running away from Math altogether, you may as well run away from Stats too.
Like I mentioned before, the main clenching point here is to whether taking AP stats in HS will benefit your chances to get accepted where you want to be accepted. If the answer is yes, well, I think you should go for it.
What if you struggle? You can always get a stats tutor, put out some office hours, follow the T.A. around with questions, etc. There is always a way. Make it happen. If it will enhance your application, I think you should go for it and nothing should stop you.
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