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Sunday, September 28, 2008

How to learn Econometrics

How to learn Econometrics

(first written, erm almost millennia ago... whoops 2008 actually, but now edited, 4 Sep 2012. Edits are in italics, good luck!)

OK. This article is going to be an almost certainly entirely boring one, but one that is necessary because there are many people like me who want to learn how to learn Econometrics, but there "ain't no one out there" who can teach us how to learn Econometrics.

I actually went online to search for "how to study econometrics" and "how to learn econometrics" or "how to do well for econometrics exams" and didn't get very satisfactory answers, so here are my attempts at answering the question. (I guess that some readers might have gotten here by looking for "how to study for 'metrics at NUS", so here you are - right place for some advice from a former student!)

Do note that no prior knowledge of Econometrics is assumed. I myself only knew some basic maths and still managed to learn EC2303 and get A+ as well as Econometrics 1 at NUS and got A for that as well. Now I am struggling with EC3304 so I might as well try to help others. Oh well. Here goes:

How to Study Econometrics (and do well at it)

1. No one actually knows how to study econometrics and do well at it. I've searched the whole Net and asked countless people already. Those who know probably don't write about it online, and those who don't know are looking online for ideas and tips on how to do that. I was in that position too. That's why I am attempting to answer the almighty question for students worldwide: "How the heck do I study Econometrics well and do well in Econometrics exams?"

2. But there are indeed some things that you can do to study Econometrics and do well at it in examinations :)

3. The question fields/ sets are limited, so these are the fields that you need to know and master:

probability, statistics, matrices, linear regression and other regression models (log-log, log-linear, and so on)

4. You should do questions every day. The thing is that the field is limited, but the questions are vast in number.

5. Theoretically, you can learn the equations and formulae, then practise questions related to them. That is the best option, but the thing is:

Your teacher didn't give you easy equations right? He also didn't give you questions related to those right?

I know, I was there. So the point 4, which is more general, holds. Do questions every day. 

Do questions every day. 

You can actually learn the formulae and then apply them, but at higher levels, this method will not work. So just try to practise.

6. MATRICES turn out to be so important, but I didn't know that before. 

But now you do. 

To study Econometrics well, you definitely need more than a passing command of Matrices - you need to learn all the hard terms and methods immediately!

7. You need to learn a lot of important and hard words like heteroskedasticity, homoskedasticity, linear regression, multivariate normal distributions, variances, standard deviations, means, modes, medians, and more. Your command of esoteric language in the weird realm of Econometrics will improve. You have to know all that in order to do well, because questions routinely have those terms:

e.g. "According to the Gauss Markov theorems, with i.i.d., BLA BLA BLA?"

E.g. Do you know the law of iterated expectations?

E.g. Do you know how to study Econometrics? OK, the last one was a joke.

8. Even though Econometrics is tough, you can study Econometrics if you have the motivation and persistence.

9. Mathematics will be your friend and your neighbour. The good thing is, that when we study Econometrics, we unlike Mathematicians, do not need to have formal rigid proofs, but we can do easier stuff than they do. I know, I know, it looks Greek to everyone (which it is - most of the symbols are Greek!) but trust me, when you study Econometrics you learn hard stuff that is easier than what pure mathematicians do. So there. We have it good, in that sense.

10. To get the highest marks, get into your teacher's good books and get a lot of practice. I know, because I've seen it done and I've done it myself.

I hope I managed to contribute something major to the world - how to study Econometrics effectively and get good grades... this must be the only article as at 28th Sep 2008, because there isn't any article in the world that teaches you how to study Econometrics and do well in it, except mine. I know because I want someone to tell me how to learn advanced Econometrics well, and no one can, not so far at least.

Now I go back to preparing for my examinations. Work, work, work! Good luck and all the best!

Anything that interests me!