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Introduction

Notation:

If a random experiment can result in N(S) equally likely outcomes, and if N(E) of

these are favourable to the occurrence of an event ‘E’, then:

N E

Equation: PE

N S

P(E) = Probability of an event ‘E’ (0 P(E) 1)

N(E) = Number of outcomes in the event ‘E’

N(S) = Number of outcomes in sample space

Range of Probability

Since probability is denoted by a fraction:

Range: 0 P(E) 1

If, P(E) = 0 Then, the event cannot occur

If, P(E) = 1 Then, the event is certain to occur

Complementary Events:

The complementary event to the event ‘E’ is denoted as E (i.e. The not event of ‘E’)

Equation: P E 1 P E

Proof:

If ‘E’ has N(E) outcomes, then E has N(S) N(E) outcomes:

i.e. N E N S N E …(1)

Now divide (1) by N(S):

N E N S N E

N S N S N S

P E 1 P E

E.g. In a raffle with one prize, 40 tickets are sold. Lisa buys 4 tickets. What is

the probability that:

(a) Lisa wins

(b) Lisa doesn’t win

4 1

A (a) P L

40 10

1 9

(b) PL 1

10 10

GITIMH3 94107 Probability Page 2

The probability that events ‘A’ and ‘B’ will both occur is given by:

Equation: P A .B P A.P B

P(A.B) = Probability of events ‘A’ & ‘B’

P(A) = Probability of event ‘A’

P(B) = Probability of event ‘B’

E.g. Sam buys 4 tickets in a raffle in which 100 tickets are sold. Two different

tickets are drawn for the 1st and 2nd prize. What is the probability that Sam

wins both prizes?

4 3 1

=

100 99 825

If two events are mutually exclusive, they cannot both occur, so the probability of ‘A’

or ‘B’ occurring is given by:

Equation: P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B)

P(A or B) = Probability of events ‘A’ or ‘B’

P(A) = Probability of event ‘A’

P(B) = Probability of event ‘B’

E.g. A bag holds 7 green, 3 red, 8 yellow and 6 white pegs. One is chosen at

random. What is the probability that the peg is red or yellow?

A Let, R Red

Let, Y Yellow

So, P(R or Y) = P(R) + P(Y)

1 1 11

=

8 3 24

GITIMH3 94107 Probability Page 3

If two events are not mutually exclusive, then the probability of ‘A’ or ‘B’ occurring

is given by:

Equation: P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B) P(A.B)

P(A or B) = Probability of events ‘A’ or ‘B’

P(A) = Probability of event ‘A’

P(B) = Probability of event ‘B’

P(A.B) = Probability of events ‘A’ & ‘B’

study both. If a student is chosen at random, what is the probability that

she studies chemistry or physics?

A Let, C Chemistry

Let, P Physics

So, P(C or P) = P(C) + P(P) P(C & P)

22 18 13 9

=

30 30 30 10

Tree Diagrams:

Tree diagrams are used to trace the possible outcomes of an experiment.

E.g. At a maternity hospital, 3 babies are born on a particular day. Find the

probability that there are 2 boys and 1 girl.

B BBB

B

G BBG

B B BGB

G

G BGG

B GBB

B

G GBG

G B GGB

G

G GGG

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

So, P(B.B.G) =

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3

=

8

GITIMH3 94107 Probability Page 4

Binomial Probabilities

For Information on Permutations or Combinations for Use in Probability See

Permutations and Combinations

Binomial probability is used when the same trial is repeated several times and there

are two possible outcomes, either one of which must occur.

Equation: P k successes n C k . p k .q n k

p = Probability of success

q = Probability of failure

E.g. A die is tossed 3 times. Find the binomial expansion for the result of sixes turning

up.

P(not a single six) = 5/6 = q

On a tree diagram the result is

1st Toss 2nd Toss 3 rd Toss Sequence

p p3

p

q p2.q

p p p2.q

q

q p.q2

p q.p2

p

q p.q2

q p p.q2

q

q q3

From the tree diagram one can see that the results are related to the binomial

expansion of (p + q)3

p q 3 p 3 3C1 . p 2 .q 3C 2 . p.q 2 q 3

p q 3 P 3 sixes P2 sixes P1 sixes P0 sixes

GITIMH3 94107 Probability Page 5

Examples of Use:

Games of Chance: A die is tossed.

Probability of a six is p = 1/6

Probability of not a six is q = 5/6

Target Shooting: A marksman scores a bull’s eye on average 4 times out of 5.

Probability of success is p = 4/5

Probability of failure is q = 1/5

Manufactured Articles: A manufacturer determines that in the long run, 10% of the

articles are selected.

Probability of any one being defectives is p = 1/10

Probability of not defective is q = 9/10

Clinical Trials: In the long term, it is found that 80% of patients suffering from

complaint X are used by drug Y. If 10 patients are chose

Probability of being cured is p = 4/5

Probability of not being cured is q = 1/5

GITIMH3 94107 Probability Page 6

Glossary

Random Experiment The process of performing an experiment repeatedly in an

identical manner, without necessarily identical results

E.g. Throwing a die. Result: 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6; If

this is repeated, one of the above results will

appear again

Simple Event A single outcome of a random experiment

E.g. Throwing a die. Result: 3

Composite Event Consists of more than one simple event

E.g. Throwing a die. Result: 1 & 3

Sample Space The set of all possible outcomes of a random experiment

Equally likely outcomes If there is no reason for one outcome to occur more often

than any other, then the possible outcomes are equally

likely

E.g. Tossing a coin. Result: head or tail

Non-equally likely outcomes E.g. Tossing two coins simultaneously. Result: 2 head or

1 head & 1 tail or 2 tails (not equally likely because

1H & 1T is twice as likely then 2H or 2T)

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