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An excellent review of the ECE Statistics test.

by Joe
(Fort Worth, Texas, USA)

I recently took the lower level Excelsior exam, 210 Statistics. Let me tell you, it was one of the hardest math exams I have ever taken. Depending on who you are and what your goal is, I was wanting to spread the word about this test.

If you are just looking for a lower level math credit, I would recommend taking Algebra CLEP or something similar to that. The Statistics, in my opinion, is way tougher. Some people feel that they get it better than Algebra though, and if you are one of those people, then good for you and go for it.

In my situation, I was one credit away from getting my Bachelor's and I never had taken math (yes, I procrastinated for 4 years). And it came down to me either taking an Algebra class or testing out of math. So obviously, I wanted to test out and save some time and money.

I was originally going to take the Algebra CLEP but I could not get scheduled in to take one in my area for up to a month. So, I signed up for the Statistics and they got me in within 10 days. Which was a mistake, because I should have studied for longer than that. And if you are not in a hurry, I suggest you do the same! Luckily, I passed with a C and was able to graduate!

As far as study guidance...I felt that the free downloadable study guide for Statistics was useless once I took the test. The sample questions were not anything like the ones on the test. I did buy a practice exam for $18 and it was almost exactly the same as the test, just half as short (about 35 questions).

One good site that I used was Carnegie Mellon University's OLI website. Once you register, you can take a free online Statistics class and it will cover almost everything that will be on the test. It has many examples, videos and tutorials. Make sure you understand more than just the formulas. Understanding how and where to plug in the variables is just as important. Statistics questions are not like Algebra ones, they are complex word problems.

I took my tests at a Pearson Vue center. And let me tell you, they do not mess around with cheating. If you have been to one, then you know what I am talking about. When you first come in, they make you empty all of your pockets and stick the stuff in a locker. Then they laser beam both of your hands, checking for ink. Then they take your picture and inform you that you will be video and voice recorded in your cubicle. I understand about cheating, but the camera that was stuffed in my face during my test made me somewhat uncomfortable.

The way my exam was broken down was 20% was summarizing, organizing and describing data and another 20% was hypothesis testing (which is the hard ones). The rest were broken down evenly in 10% sections. They were basic overview of statistics, regression and correlations, probability theory, probability distributions, sampling and statistical estimation.

This test is NOT the typical find the mean, mode and median like I had hoped. The formulas are complex and it is hard to know which numbers are the right ones to plug in. If you are not a strong math person, I definitely recommend Algebra. I have to tell you, I got out what I put into my studying. I barely passed, which was a relief, but at the cost of much undue stress and worry. On a scale of 1-5, this test for me was a 5, but I would have rated Algebra a 3 or 4.

There are some differences between the two tests. The Excel test was by far tougher from what I hear. But, the test gives you all of the formulas you need during the test (which didn't help me). You pay one up front charge of $85, whereas clep, you have to pay $77 for the test and then an administrative fee, usually $20 to the testing center. So the Excel test is usually cheaper.

Another thing to remember is that Excelsior has two forms of tests. If you are testing an upper level course you will be taking an ECE and if it is lower level like Statistics, it is a UEXCEL. They have different websites to sign up for an exam and when you request your transcripts you have to send two (that's assuming if you were like me and took one ECE and one UEXCEL).

UEXCEL's tranfer request service is free. After you test, they will send your college the grade in 5 business days. ECE's however, are $12 and mail in the same time.

One thing to remember! Once you sign up for an Excelsior test, you DO NOT get your money back. If you have to cancel, you eat it and they will charge you an administrative fee of $20. If you reschedule, the same fee of $20 is applied. That is one advantage that CLEP has, if you get to your testing day and you are unprepared, just don't go and reschedule. You don't pay until the day of the test.

I hope this has helped you to better understand the Statistics exam. It was tough, but I made it. If you are just looking for a quick 3 credits witho little study, take the CLEP Algebra. If you have strong math skills and are confident, you can do this one. I was able to without taking math in nearly 15 years.

Here's Carnegie Mellon University's OLI website. Just register for free, then click on the Statistics class link and there you go.

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