= ;
 understand the meaning of independent events, and use the result
P( ) P( ) P( ) A B A B = where A and B are independent;
 construct a tree diagram and use it to interpret and calculate probabilities including
probabilities of combined events and conditional probabilities.
1 Basic Concepts
1.1 Definitions
(a) An experiment (or a trial) refers to a process of observations or measurement where
the results cannot be predicted with certainty.
(b) An outcome of an experiment is the result obtained from the experiment.
(c) The sample space, S, is the set of all possible outcomes of the experiment.
(d) An event is a subset of the sample space S.
Example 1
A fair die is tossed once and the score is noted.
Solution:
Experiment: Toss a fair die once.
Possible outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Sample space, S = {1,2,3,4,5,6}.
Let A be the event An even number is shown. Then A = {2, 4, 6}.
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 2
Example 2
In an experiment involving tossing 2 coins, let E be the event of obtaining at least 1 head.
Solution:
Sample space S ={(H,H),(H,T),(T,H),(T,T)}; Event E = {(H,H),(H,T),(T,H)}.
Note:
(i)  and S are events of an experiment since  _S and S_S
where  is an empty set, a set which contains no element
and S is the sample space, which contains all elements
(ii) Let A and B be two events of an experiment.
(a) A B is the event "A occurs or B occurs (or both occur)".
(b) A B is the event "A and B both occur".
(c) A', the complement of A, is the event "A does not occur" i.e. the set which
consists of all elements that are not members of A.
(d) \ A B is the event A occurs but B does not
(iii) Two events A and B are said to be mutually exclusive if they cannot occur
simultaneously i.e. A B =  . We say that A and B are disjoint events.
1.2 Venn Diagram
We often display the relationship of events in a single experiment in a Venn Diagram.
Example 3
Toss a die and observe the score.
Solution:
Let A be the event An even number is shown and
B be the event An odd number is shown.
Then A and B are mutually exclusive.
We see that A and B are mutually exclusive (they cannot happen concurrently),
A B S = and therefore ' B A =
Event A
2 4 6
S
Event B
1, 3, 5
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 3
2 Probability
As probability is a measure of how likely an event will happen, the probability of an event
P(A) is the ratio of the number of outcomes of an event to the total number of all possible
outcomes.
P(A) =
number of outcomes of event
number of possible outcomes
A
=
n( )
n( )
A
S
Note:
(i) A sample space where all outcomes are equally likely is known as a uniform space.
(ii) The larger the probability, the more likely the event will occur.
Example 4
Two fair coins are tossed. What is the probability that at least one head occurs? What is the
probability that two tails occur?
Solution:
Sample Space, S = {(H,H),(H,T),(T,H),(T,T)}. (Note this is a uniform space)
Let E be the event at least one head occurs.
Event E = {(H,H),(H,T),(T,H)}.
P(E) =
3
4
P(two tails occur) =
1
4
Note that the two events, at least one head occurs and two tails occur, are mutually
exclusive. In addition, it is more likely for at least one head than two tails to occur.
2.1 Laws of Probability
(1) ( ) P 1 S = and P( ) = 0
(2) For any event A, ( ) 0 P 1 A s s . In general if A _ B, then P(A) s P(B).
(3) If A and B are any two events, then ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) P P P P A B A B A B = +
In particular, if A and B are mutually exclusive then P(A B) = 0 and so
( ) ( ) ( ) P P P A B A B = +
(4) ( ) ( ) P ' 1 P A A =
(5) ( ) ( ) P \ P ( ) A B A P A B = = P(A B )
A
B
S
A B
S
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 4
Example 5
A die is weighted such that when the die is tossed, the probability of a number appearing is
proportional to the number.
Let A = {even number}, B = {prime number} and C = {odd number}.
Find
(a) the probability of each possible outcome
(b) P(A), P(B), P(C).
(c) the probability (i) of getting an even number or a prime number.
(ii) of A occurring but not B.
Solution:
Sample Space, S = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}
(a) P( ) P( ) n n n kn o = , where k is a positive constant.
6
1
P( ) 1 (1 2 3 4 5 6) 1
n
n k
=
= + + + + + =
1
21
k =
P( )
21
n
n = , for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. n =
(b) P(A) = P({2, 4, 6}) =
2 4 6 12 4
21 21 21 21 7
+ + = =
P(B) = P({2, 3, 5}) =
2 3 5 10
21 21 21 21
+ + =
P(C) = P({1, 3, 5}) =
1 3 5 9 3
21 21 21 21 7
+ + = =
OR P(C) = 1 P(A) =
4 3
1
7 7
=
(c)(i) P(even or prime number) = ( ) P A B = P({2, 3, 4, 5, 6})
= 1 P(1) =
1 20
1
21 21
=
OR Use ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) P P P P A B A B A B = +
12 10 2 20
21 21 21 21
= + =
(c)(ii) P(A but not B) = P({4, 6}) =
4 6 10
21 21 21
+ =
OR Use P(A \ B) = P(A B ) = P(A) ( )
12 2 10
P
21 21 21
A B = =
A
B
C
S
4 6
3 5
2
1
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 5
Example 6
In a certain sample space, the events A and B are such that P(A B) = 0.8, P(A) = 0.4, and
P(A B) = 0.3.
Find (i) ( ) P ' A , (ii) P( ) B , (iii) ( ) P ' A B , (iv) ( ) P ' ' A B .
Solution:
(i) ( ) P ' A = 1 P(A)
= 1 0.4
= 0.6
(ii) P(A B) = P(A) + P(B) P(A B)
P(B) = P(A B) P(A) + P(A B)
= 0.8 0.4 + 0.3
= 0.7
(iii) ( ) P ' A B = P(A) P(A B)
= 0.4 0.3
= 0.1
(iv) ( ) P ' ' A B = 1 P(A B)
= 1 0.8
= 0.2
3 Conditional Probability
Consider the situation where John tosses a uniform die and asks Peter to guess the number.
Peters chance of guessing the correct number is 1/6. However, if Peter is given a clue that it
is an even number, then Peter can conclude that the number may be 2, 4 or 6. Now his chance
of guessing the correct number is 1/3. This leads us to the concept of conditional probability.
Note:
(i) For a Uniform Space,
( )
P( ) ( ) ( )
P( )
( )
P( ) ( )
( )
n A B
A B n A B n S
A B
n B
B n B
n S
= = = .
(ii) ( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
P P
P 
P P
B A A B
B A
A A
= = . Therefore in general, ( ) ( ) P  P  B A A B =
(iii) ( ) ( ) ( ) P P  P A B B A A = or ( ) ( ) ( ) P P  P A B A B B =
Conditional Probability
Let A and B be 2 events of a sample space S. Then P(AB) denotes the probability that
event A occurs given that event B has occurred, and is defined by
P( )
P( )
P( )
A B
A B
B
= , provided P( ) 0 B > .
S
A
B
0.3
0.1
0.4
0.2
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 6
Example 7
A couple has 2 children. It is assumed that getting a child of either gender is equally likely.
Find the probability that both children are boys if
(i) it is known that one of the children is a boy;
(ii) it is known that the older child is a boy.
Solution:
S = {(B,B),(B,G),(G,B),(G,G)}. (Note this is a uniform space)
(i) Let A be the event both the children are boys and
B be the event one of the children is a boy.
P(  ) A B =
1
P( ) 1
4
3
P( ) 3
4
A B
B
= = OR P(  ) A B =
( ) 1
( ) 3
n A B
n B
=
(ii) Let C be the event the older child is a boy.
C = {(B,B), (B,G)}
AC = {(B,B)}
P(A  C) =
1
P( ) 1
4
2
P( ) 2
4
A C
C
= = OR P(A  C) =
( ) 1
( ) 2
n A C
n C
=
Example 8
A Personal Identification Number (PIN) consists of 4 digits in order, each of which is one of
the digits 0,1,2,..,9. Susie has difficulty remembering her PIN. She tries to remember her
PIN and writes down what she thinks it is. The probability that the first digit is correct is 0.8
and the probability that the second digit is correct is 0.86. The probability that the first two
digits are both correct is 0.72. Find
(i) the probability that the second digit is correct given that the first digit is correct,
(ii) the probability that the second digit is incorrect given that the first digit is incorrect.
Solution:
Let A be the event the first digit is correct and B be the event the second digit is correct.
Given P(A) = 0.8, P(B) = 0.86, P(A B) = 0.72
(i)
P( ) 0.72
P( ) 0.9
P( ) 0.8
A B
B A
A
= = =
(ii)
P( ' ') 1 P( )
P( ' ')
P( ') 1 P( )
A B A B
B A
A A
= =
=
1 [P( ) P( ) P( )]
1 P( )
A B A B
A
+
=
8 . 0 1
] 72 . 0 86 . 0 8 . 0 [ 1
+
0.06
0.3
0.2
= =
A
B
0.72
0.08 0.14
0.06
S
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 7
3.1 Independent Events
Let A and B be two events. We say that A and B are independent events when the
probability of one event does not affect the probability that the other occurs, i.e.
P( ) P( ) A B A = and P( ) P( ) B A B =
So, as P(A B) = P(AB)P(B), A and B are independent events P(A B) = P(A).P(B).
Theorem 3.1: A and B are independent events P(A B) = P(A)P(B)
For Independent Events A and B, P( ) P( ) A B A =
P( )
P( )
P( )
A B
A
B
=
P( ) P( ) P( ) A B A B =
Conversely, if P( ) P( ) P( ) A B A B = ,
then
P( ) P( )P( )
P( )
P( ) P( )
A B A B
A B
B B
= = = P(A)
Note:
1. 2 events originating from independent experiments will themselves be independent.
E.g. Throw an unbiased coin and a fair die simultaneously.
Let A be the event the coin shows head and B be the event the die shows 5.
P( ) P( ) P( ) A B A B = (Note A and B independent)
1 1 1
2 6 12
= =
2. Independent events occur in the context of
(a) two (or more) experiments taking place together OR
(b) one experiment being repeated a number of times.
E.g. If a fair die is thrown twice, the second score is independent of the first score.
Probability of obtaining two sixes = P (1
st
throw is 6 and 2
nd
throw is 6)
= P (1
st
throw is 6) P(2
nd
throw is 6)
=
1 1 1
6 6 36
=
3. If A and B are independent, then the following pairs
(1) A' and B
(2) A and B'
(3) A' and B' are also independent.
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 8
Example 9 [N06/P2/Q23]
Two fair die, one red and the other green, are thrown.
A is the event : The score on the red die is divisible by 3.
B is the event : The sum of the two scores is 9.
Justifying your conclusion, determine whether A and B are independent.
Find P(A B).
Solution:
2 1
P( )
6 3
A = =
4 1
P( )
36 9
B = =
1 1 1
P( ) P( )
3 9 27
A B = =
P (A B) = P(red die = 3 and green die = 6) + P( red die = 6 and green die = 3)
=
1 1 1
2
6 6 18
=
Since P( ) P( ) P( ) A B A B = , A and B are not independent.
P(A B) = P(A) + P(B) P(A B)
18
7
18
1
9
1
3
1
=
+ =
Note that for fair dice, we will have a uniform space. Thus the problem reduces to merely
counting the number of cells that represents the favourable outcomes.
4 Solving Problems in Probability
The following methods are often used to solve probability problems.
 Venn Diagram
 Table of Possible Outcomes
 Permutations and Combinations
 Tree Diagram
In this section, you will realize that the Addition and Multiplication Principles are omni
present.
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
R
G
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 9
4.1 Venn Diagram
This is a popular method to display the relationship between events (refer to Example 5, 6,
8). The key idea is usually in finding P( ) A B .
Example 10
Events A and B are such that P(A) =
3
8
and P(B) =
5
8
.
(a) If
3
P( )
4
A B = , find P(AB) and P(BA).
(b) Find P(BA) if
(i) A is a subset of B,
(ii) A and B are mutually exclusive.
Solution:
(a) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) P P P P A B A B A B = +
3 3 5
P( )
4 8 8
A B = +
P( ) A B =
1
4
P(AB) =
P( ) (1/ 4) 2
P( ) (5/ 8) 5
A B
B
= =
P(BA) =
P( ) (1/ 4) 2
P( ) (3/ 8) 3
A B
A
= =
(b)
(i) Since A is a subset of B,
then whenever A occurs, B must occur.
P(BA) = 1.
Alternatively,
P(BA) =
P( ) P( )
1
P( ) P( )
A B A
A A
= =
A B _
(ii) If A and B are mutually exclusive, then
whenever A occurs, B cannot occur.
P(BA) = 0.
Alternatively,
P(BA) =
P( ) P( ) 0
0
P( ) P( ) P( )
A B
A A A
C
= = =
A B =C
A
B
A B
A
B
1
4
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 10
4.2 Table of Possible Outcomes
Our favourite is the twodiediagram as illustrated in Example 9. The table of possible
outcomes is a neat way to summarise all possible pairs of outcomes in a cell format but of
course you may not need to calculate every cell.
Example 11
Two teams A and B play a football match against each other. The probabilities for each team
of scoring 0, 1, 2, 3 goals are shown in the table below:
Number of goals 0 1 2 3
Probability Team A 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.1
of scoring Team B 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.1
Calculate the probability of A winning assuming that the score for each team is independent
of each other.
Solution:
Team A 0 1 2 3
Team B 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.1
0 0.2 0.06 0.06 0.02
1 0.4 0.12 0.04
2 0.3 0.03
3 0.1
P(A wins) = 0.06 + 0.06 + 0.02 + 0.12 +0.04 + 0.03
= 0.33
Note: Using the multiplication law for independent events, the probabilities for each cell is
calculated. Note that the cells represent mutually exclusive events but they may not
always give a uniform space.
4.3 Permutations and Combinations
Example 12
A class consists of 8 boys and 7 girls. Four students are chosen at random to take part in a
maths quiz. Find the probability that
(i) exactly 2 girls are chosen,
(ii) all 4 chosen are girls,
(iii) at least 1 boy is chosen.
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 11
Solution:
(i) P(exactly 2 girls) =
7 8
2 2 28
15 65
4
  
 
\ .\ .
=
 

\ .
(ii) P(all girls) =
7 8
4 0 1
15 39
4
  
 
\ .\ .
=
 

\ .
(iii) P(at least one boy chosen) = 1 P(all girls) =
1 38
1
39 39
=
Alternative Solution:
(i) P(exactly 2 girls) =
7 6 8 7 4! 28
1514 1312 2! 2! 65
=
(ii) P(all girls) =
7 6 5 4 1
1514 1312 39
=
(iii) P(at least one boy chosen) = 1 P(all girls) =
38
39
Example 13
Eight cards each have a single digit written on them. The digits are 5,5,6,6,8,8,8,8
respectively. A player will shuffle the cards and randomly arrange all the cards in a row on a
table.
(a) Find the probability that the second and fifth cards are both 6.
(b) What is the probability that the two cards with digit 5 are together?
(c) Find the probability that
(i) all the cards with digit 8 are separated and the first card cannot be an 8,
(ii) at least two cards with digit 8 are together and the first card cannot be an 8.
Solution:
(a) P(2
nd
and 5
th
cards are 6) =
6!
1
2!4!
8!
28
4!2!2!
=
_ 6_ _ 6 _ _ _
(b) P(two 5s are together) =
7!
1
2!4!
8!
4
4!2!2!
=
_ _ _ _ _ _
5 5
Choose 4
8 B 7 G
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 12
(c) (i) P(all 8s are separated and the first card cannot be an 8)
=
4!
1 2!2!
8!
70
4!2!2!
 

\ .
=
_ 8 _ 8 _ 8 _ 8
(ii) P(at least two 8s are together and the first card cannot be an 8)
= 1/2 (all 8s are separated and the first card cannot be an 8)
=
1 1 17
2 70 35
=
4.4 Tree Diagram
Tree diagrams are used when the problem involves
(i) going through two or more stages OR
(ii) one experiment repeated a number of times.
Suppose a problem has a sequence of two stages.
Stage 1: Two outcomes A and ' A where ( ) P A p =
Stage 2: Two outcomes B and ' B where ( ) P  B A q = and ( ) P  ' B A r =
(Note From Stage 2 onwards, we actually see conditional probabilities!)
Stage 1 Stage 2
( )
( )
( )
P
P 
P
A B
B A
A
=
( ) ( ) ( ) P P P  A B A B A pq = =
( )
( )
( )
P '
P  '
P '
A B
B A
A
=
( ) ( ) ( ) P ' P ' P  ' (1 ) A B A B A p r = =
Thus ( ) ( ) ( ) P P P ' B A B A B = +
(1 ) pq p r = +
The tree diagram thus simplifies the calculations
with conditional probabilities for us.
A
A
p
1 p
B
B
q
1 q
B
B
r
1 r
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 13
Example 14 [N03/P2/Q25]
In the first stage of a computer game, the player chooses at random one of 5 icons, only one
of which is correct. If the correct icon is chosen, then, in the second stage, the player chooses
at random one of 8 icons, only one of which is correct. If an incorrect icon is chosen in the
first stage, then, in the second stage, the player chooses at random one of 10 icons, only one
of which is correct. The events A and B are defined as follows.
A : the first icon chosen is correct.
B : the second icon chosen is correct.
Find
(i) P(A B), (ii) P(B), (iii) P(A B), (iv) P(AB).
Solution:
(i)
1 1 1
P( )
5 8 40
A B
  
= =
 
\ .\ .
(ii)
1 4 1 21
P( )
40 5 10 200
B
  
= + =
 
\ .\ .
(iii)
1 4 1 7
P( )
5 5 10 25
A B
  
= + =
 
\ .\ .
(iv) P(AB)
1
P( ) 5
40
21
P( ) 21
200
A B
B
= = =
A
A
B
B
1
st
stage 2
nd
stage
1/5
4/5
1/8
7/8
1/10
9/10
B
B
____________________
Chapter 17: Probability
Page 14
Example 15 [N08/P2/Q7]
A computer game simulates a tennis match between two players, A and B. The match
consists of at most three sets. Each set is won by either A or B, and the match is won by the
first player to win two sets.
The simulation uses the following rules.
 The probability that A wins the first set is 0.6.
 For each set after the first, the conditional probability that A wins that set, given that
A won the preceding set, is 0.7.
 For each set after the first, the conditional probability that B wins that set, given that B
won the preceding set, is 0.8.
Calculate the probability that
(i) A wins the second set,
(ii) A wins the match,
(iii) B won the first set, given that A wins the match.
Solution:
1
st
Set 2
nd
Set 3
rd
Set
(i) P(A wins second set) = (0.6)(0.7) + (0.4)(0.2) = 0.5
(ii) P(A wins the match) = (0.6)(0.7) + (0.6)(0.3)(0.2) + (0.4)(0.2)(0.7) = 0.512
(iii) P(B won 1
st
set  A wins the match) =
P( wins 1st set and wins the match)
P( wins the match)
B A
A
(0.4)(0.2)(0.7) 7
0.512 64
= =
Math Quote
It is remarkable that a science which began with the consideration of games of chance have
become the most important object of human knowledge.
Pierre Simon, Marquis de Laplace, Thorie Analytique des Probabilits
A wins
B wins
0.6
0.4
A wins
B wins
0.7
A wins
B wins
0.8
0.2
0.3
A wins
A wins
B wins
B wins
0.7
0.3
0.8
0.2