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Brief Summary

A discrete random variable can only be a finite number or from a number of values.

Continuous means the variable can take on any number of values from a line interval. For

example, when observing a waiting room between 6am and 12pm, there can only be a finite

number between these times. For continuous, it would be a package with the label 12 ounces.

A probability distribution is an allotment of probabilities of a discrete random variable, or

to an interval of values for a continuous random variable. The key components are that the sum

of all probabilities must equal one, and there is a probability assigned to each distinct value of a

random variable. An example of a probability distribution would be a chart with the probability of

you rolling a certain number/sides with a pair of dice.

A mean is the expected average value from a set of numbers, and the standard

deviation is a representation of a measure of risk, the larger the number for this implies a bigger

chance that the random variable is different from the value. The information from those two

numbers represents the estimate of an estimate to the probability distribution. In order to

calculate there are the mean, you would use this: μ = Σ xP(x);μ, or the expected value of x.

While σ = Σ( x-μ)^2P(x); σ is the standard deviation of x. The expected value is a predicted

value of a variable, it is calculated as a sum from all the values that are each multiplied of its

occurrence.

A binomial experiment must have the following values, the experiment consists of n

repeated trials, and the experiment has two possible outcomes. The outcomes are called a

success and failure. Each trial must be independent of the other and the probability of each

outcome remains constant. The mean μ is the expected balance point while the standard

deviation σ represents the measure of spread.

When computing probabilities, letters are used to stand for different things. The letters P,

Q, N, and R are used. P represents the probability of success in a trial, and Q represents failure.

N represents the number of trials, and R represents the number of successes. You can compute

𝑛!

binomial probability with the formula 𝑃(𝑟) = ⋅ 𝑝𝑟 ⋅ 𝑞 (𝑛−𝑟) or through the use of a table.

𝑟!(𝑛−𝑟)!

Our scenario: You skipped class yesterday and walk into a 16 question multiple choice quiz

today. Each question has 4 choices and you must guess on all. What is the probability you get

at least 9 correct? What is the probability you get exactly 6 correct?

This scenario meets the criteria for a binomial experiment. The first criteria is that there

must be a fixed number of trials. In our scenario, there are a fixed number of trials. There are 18

questions to be answered, which is the number of trials. The next criteria is that the trials must

be independent of each other. In our scenario, the trials are independent. The answer of one

question does not have any effect on the next. Each question is independent from the next, in

the way that the answers do not affect each other. The next criteria is that there are only two

outcomes to each trial: success of failure. Our scenario only has two outcomes for each

question. You either get the question right or wrong. For each question, there is only one right

answer. The next criteria is that the probability of success for each trial is the same. In our

scenario, each question has the same probability of success. There is a 25% chance that each

question will be right, since there are 4 choices, but only one right answer. The final criteria is

that the probability of r successes out of n trials is able to be found. Our scenario meets this,

because we are searching to find the probability that we are able to get either 6 or 9 questions

on a test while guessing.

When guessing on the test, it is hard to get any questions right. The probability of getting

at least 9 questions out of 16 right can be found using the table. By using our n value, or the

number of trials, 16, and locating the r value, 9, we are able to compute the probability. When

taking a multiple choice test, there are 4 options, so the probability of success, p, is .25, since

only one answer is right. On a 16 question multiple choice test, the probability of getting 9 right

is .006. However, our scenario asks for at least 9. Because of this, it is necessary that we add

up all probabilities up to 16 questions. When added, the total probability equals .007. This

means that there is a .007, or .7% chance of getting at least 9 questions right on a multiple

choice exam while guessing.

The second part of our scenario requires us to compute the probability of getting exactly

6 questions correct. By using our n value, or the number of trials, 16, and locating the r value,

6, we are able to compute the probability. When taking a multiple choice test, there are 4

options, so the probability of success, p, is .25, since only one answer is right. On a 16 question

multiple choice test, the probability of getting exactly 6 right is .110, or 11%. This means that

when guessing on a multiple choice test consisting of 16 questions, there is an 11% chance that

you will get exactly 6 correct.

I chose to use the table to find the probabilities because I find it much easier. Our

values, n=16, r=6/9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, and p=.25) were all present on the table, so I was

able to easily locate the values. In this case, the table was much more useful. However, if we

would have had the n value, or the number of trials, a number such as 18, I would have been

forced to use the calculator. The table is helpful, but only when the number of trials is a common

number. For example, a scenario consisting of 100 values would not be a situation in which the

table would be useful, because 100 is not a value on the table. So, there are drawbacks to using

the table, because it does not always work for the scenario at hand.

In the context of our scenario, the numbers represent the likelihood of getting questions

right. For the first situation, or the probability of getting at least 9 correct, we found it to only be

.7%. Obviously, this is a very low value. There is less than a 1% chance of getting at least 9

correct on the quiz. For the second situation, or calculating the probability of scoring exactly 6

correct, we found to only be 11%. This is a much higher percentage than getting at least 9

correct, but it is still not high. This value, or 11%, was expected to be higher than the first,

because less questions would be correct. This makes sense, since guessing on an entire quiz

would not be the most practical way to get the right answers.

In conclusion, it is not likely to get too many questions right on a quiz if you guess on the

entire thing. If you get nine correct, which you have a .6% chance of doing so, the grade would

still be a 56%, which is still a failing grade. Go to class and get good grades.

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