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The average symbol error rate is an important performance measure in a wireless communications system. However, it does not provide any information on the variability of the symbol error rate (SER) over a fading channel. Presented is a method based on the Pearson systems that is used to approximate the probability distribution of the SER in a Nakagami-m fading channel. The approximation is shown to be accurate, and its usefulness is illustrated by a numerical example.