STAT 270 - Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Instructor: Professor X. Joan Hu, K10555, 778-782-6714,

Lectures: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays - 9:30am in WMC3520 (Sept 3/13 - Dec 2/13)

Office Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10:30-11:30, Sept 13/13 - Dec 15/13) Make use of office hours - only send email in emergencies.

Extra Help: The Statistics Workshop ( is run by Robin Insley and he can be contacted through email at The Statistics Workshop is an excellent resource for STAT 270. The workshop is open long hours (Sept 13 - Dec 15 from 9:30 to 16:30) and is located one floor below the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science (K9516 via K9510). In the workshop, teaching assistants (graduate students in Statistics) are able to help you with problems in the course.

Textbook: ``Introduction to Probability and Statistics'' by Tim Swartz (ISBN: 978-1-256-15290-3). The custom softcover text by Pearson Learning Solutions is available in the SFU Bookstore. It is inexpensive and was written primarily to save you some money; our previous textbook sold for $238. There are some typos in the text; click here for a list of typos, and update your text accordingly.

Reference Textbooks: There are a lot of introductory mathematical statistics textbooks out there. Most of these can provide you with a different perspective and extra practice problems. For example, you might consider Probability and Statistics by Devore (any edition), Introduction to Mathematical Statistics by Hogg/Craig or Mathematical Statistics by Freund/Walpole.

Computing Software Packages: Your choice: e.g. R, SAS, SPSS (R will be used in class)

Approximate Course Timeline:

Practice Problems: The textbook contains many worked-out problems and solutions to selected exercises. It is advised that you try a few exercises each week. Practice problems will be selected from the textbook but these will not be collected nor graded.


You are allowed an 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of notes (two-sided if required) and a calculator during the midterms and final exam. Graded midterms will be ready to pick up at the Stats Workshop from the monday of the week following the midterm. There will be no makeup midterms for any reason.

The style of the midterms closely resembles problems considered during class. The content on a midterm may include anything covered since the previous midterm. You should bring a calculator to every midterm. The purpose of regular testing is to keep you on top of the material. Please see the marker (a TA in the workshop) regarding concerns about the marking. If you are unhappy with the marker's decision, you should then see Robin Insley. My insistence on having you deal with the marker is to strive for consistency in marking. For all midterms, you should bring in a calculator. Any type is permitted (except a phone).

Strategies: Because of the many different ideas introduced in STAT 270, students often find this to be a difficult course. My main suggestion for the course is to avoid falling behind. It is almost impossible to cram for this course and do well. Make use of the fine resources of the Statistics Workshop and regularly try the problems in the text to check your understanding of the course material. With the lecture material tied so closely to the textbook, it may be tempting to skip classes. Naturally, my advice is to attend all lectures; hints are often given in class that will be helpful in the midterms and the final exam. Also, more time is spent on topics that typically cause difficulties. Finally, if you can find some time to read the textbook and lecture notes before coming to class, you will find that the lectures are more easily digested and you will be aware of the difficult parts and know when it is important to pay close attention.

Lecture Notes: The following lecture notes should be printed out and brought to class. You will most likely annotate the notes during the lecture. The idea of the notes is that you can listen to the instructor rather than copying frantically. Again, it is a bad idea to skip lectures thinking that the textbook and lecture notes will allow you to figure things out for yourself. Instead of downloading the notes lecture by lecture, all of the notes are bundled together here . Also, the lecture notes are closely tied to the textbook; it is much easier to come to class and listen rather than figuring everything out on your own. Don't blow off the lectures!

Some Old Midterms and Solutions:

Another Set of Old Midterms and Solutions: