Many quake in their boots when they hear that there will be Statistics covered on the GRE. They run to their college stats textbooks, dust off the cover, roll up their sleeves, and start computing the standard deviations of a list of twenty, three-digit numbers. Stop, if this in anyway describes you.
The Statistics on the GRE is much simpler, and does not test your aptitude at crunching numbers as much as it does your ability to think about Statistics. That is you will rely more on intuition than computation on statistics questions on the GRE. You shouldn’t be so worried about how many statistics questions there are on the GRE, anyway.
To illustrate take a look at the following question.
Q1. The standard deviation on a test was
Answering this question correctly requires understanding standard distribution (that refers to the distribution of scores along the familiar bell-curve). To understand how standard deviation relates to the bell-curve take a look below:
Within 1 Standard Deviation Above the Mean
Within 1 Standard Deviation Below the Mean
Between 1 and 2 Standard Deviations Above the Mean
Between 1 and 2 Standard Deviations Below the Mean
Between 2 and 3 Standard Deviations Above the Mean
Between 2 and 3 Standard Deviations Below the Mean
In the problem above,
Returning to the actual question, we want to find how many standard deviations above the average a score
Looking at table above, we can see that two standard deviations above the norm is better than
That gives us a total of
Let’s try another problem.
Q2. The reaction time of
A. 0 – 1 standard deviations
B. 1 – 2 standard deviations
C. 2 – 3 standard deviations
D. 3 – 4 standard deviations
E. 4 – 5 standard deviations
This is exactly the sort of daunting problem that the GRE likes to throw at you. Believe it or not, there is very little math involved. Again, you want to rely on intuition more than math.
To do well on statistics questions on the GRE, you have to rely more on intuition than on number crunching. Having a strong sense of standard distribution and how standard deviation relates to standard distribution will help you immeasurably.