Solve Probability Word Problems

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Probabilities are used in mathematics and statistics and are found in everyday life, from weather forecasts to sporting events.

With a little practice and a few tips, the process of calculating probabilities can be more manageable. One important tip when solving a probability word problem is to find the keyword, which helps to identify which rule of probability to use.

Again, these will usually be a normal, “or”, “and”, or conditional probability.

Use any appropriate formulas Now that you have written out the given and needed probabilities, you need to do the math to connect them.

This probability doesn't change no matter how many times we toss the coin. It can be confusing doing probability problems with die because the sides are numbered.

And we can test the probability easily–just toss a coin. Make it easier to keep the numbers straight by writing out the number when referring to a side of the die. We are looking at the probability of landing on black. There is a 1:4 or 25% chance of getting two heads in a row. The probability of flipping heads once is greater than the probability of flipping heads twice!

You use the rule P(A or B) = P(A) P(B) - P(A and B) when the events are not mutually exclusive.

For the complement rule, you always use the rule P(A) = 1 - P(~A).

You know that your mother makes turkey on 5 days, and beef on 2. Even though there are two puppies, we are only thinking about one right now. That makes two possible events, with one outcome; so there is a 1:2 chance that one puppy is a girl. So using the steps for solving a joint probability there is 1:4 change that both puppies are girls.

Even though there are only two options, it is easier to solve the probability problem by keeping the week divided into equal pieces–7 days. Another way to look at this is to write out the possible gender combinations.


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