Undergraduate Statistics Class Helpful for future Medical School Research?

May 22, 2013
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For those who took undergraduate statistics before entering medical school, how helpful was it for research involving statistics? I ask because I am considering taking it next semester, my last semester of undergrad. From what I have learned medical students do learn some biostatitics, but I am not sure at what point in the curriculum it is taught (probably depends on the school) and if it is enough to guide me in future research. I have previously done research with some statistics and took a class with a little bit of statistics involved.

I might post this in the MD forum as well depending on the feedback I get here.

Also, the stats course I am thinking of taking is Stats in Psychology.

Has anyone hit the ground running in medical school with no statistics background and were able to get by easily learning the stats as you went along?

Thanks!
 

seeinghowitgoes

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Jul 6, 2012
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For those who took undergraduate statistics before entering medical school, how helpful was it for research involving statistics? I ask because I am considering taking it next semester, my last semester of undergrad. From what I have learned medical students do learn some biostatitics, but I am not sure at what point in the curriculum it is taught (probably depends on the school) and if it is enough to guide me in future research. I have previously done research with some statistics and took a class with a little bit of statistics involved.

I might post this in the MD forum as well depending on the feedback I get here.

Also, the stats course I am thinking of taking is Stats in Psychology.

Has anyone hit the ground running in medical school with no statistics background and were able to get by easily learning the stats as you went along?

Thanks!
I'll be matriculating this fall, but my advice would be to choose an answer based on what you want to do down the road.

Friend's have suggested that in med school you learn enough to interpret papers, so if you aren't as interested in research, you may be fine with just learning in med school. However, if you're going to do research, more stats would definitely be helpful (though a lot of time a biostatistician is called upon anyway), at which point you should look at the syllabus for the stats class and see if it goes beyond t tests, chi-squared, p values, confidence intervals, and basic linear regression - if you want to be a more competent researcher and the class does, take it. If you want to be the most competant researcher possible but the class is also at an intro level (aka you'll potentially just get a repeat of the material in med school down the road anyway), try finding an online course to hone your skills. If you don't want to do research anyway (or at least it's not a focus), you can probably put off stats until you see what your med school offers.

That would be my two cents, and for what it's worth, I think stats is one of the most important tools you can have at your disposal; read a paper now, go truly understand the underlying methods and tests used, and read the paper again to uncover a much more subjective (and complete) article.
 
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Pacna

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Jun 2, 2013
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I am still in undergrad, but I just finished a statistics course and I can honestly say it has helped me immensely in reading scientific papers and really understanding the values and statistics :)
^ What s/he said. Seriously you don't know what kind of stuff you're missing in papers and just gloss over until you know statistics.
 
Apr 23, 2013
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I have never met anyone in research who wished they knew less statistics. You can pretty much never know too much statistics, and I wish I knew more just about every day. It's massively useful if you want to do any kind of research in the future.
 

darkjedi

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An understanding of statistics is incredibly important for the proper interpretation of most scientific literature. It is also just a very useful set of skills to have for life in general. It is definitely not taught well enough at the med school level.
 

MedMinded

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Jul 13, 2013
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For those who took undergraduate statistics before entering medical school, how helpful was it for research involving statistics? I ask because I am considering taking it next semester, my last semester of undergrad. From what I have learned medical students do learn some biostatitics, but I am not sure at what point in the curriculum it is taught (probably depends on the school) and if it is enough to guide me in future research. I have previously done research with some statistics and took a class with a little bit of statistics involved.

I might post this in the MD forum as well depending on the feedback I get here.

Also, the stats course I am thinking of taking is Stats in Psychology.

Has anyone hit the ground running in medical school with no statistics background and were able to get by easily learning the stats as you went along?

Thanks!
I'd say it depends on the statistics course you're planning to take. Ask around and get some information from other students who've taken it already. I had to take a statistics course during undergrad, and it was a complete joke for the most part. I'd already learned everything the professor taught through my science courses.

However, I definitely think learning as much statistics as possible is an extremely valuable asset. If you know it's a reputable course, then I'd say go for it!
 
Nov 1, 2013
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A good working knowledge of statistics is tremendously useful in many ways, especially analyzing scientific literature and the likes. Take the course, you won't regret it.
 

Ismet

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You should take stats regardless of if it will help you in med school or not. But how much it will help will depend on the school. We're required to do research here and we have a semester-long course in biostat that helps us get an understanding of the statistics used in analyzing and reporting research findings. Schools probably have varying levels of education in stat, so I would say go for it. If anything, it gives you some basis of understanding for biostat in med school.