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Conditional Probability

Now we can use this formula to solve the problem at the top of the page.
Problem:

Solution:

A math teacher gave her class two tests. 25% of the class
passed both tests and 42% of the class passed the first test.
What percent of those who passed the first test also passed the
second test?
P(Second|
First)

P(First and Second)


0.25
=
= 0.60 = 60%
P(First)
0.42

Let's look at some other problems in which we are asked to find a conditional probability.
Example 1:

Solution:

Example 2:

Solution:

Example 3:

Solution:

Summary:

A jar contains black and white marbles. Two marbles are chosen without
replacement. The probability of selecting a black marble and then a white marble
is 0.34, and the probability of selecting a black marble on the first draw is 0.47.
What is the probability of selecting a white marble on the second draw, given that
the first marble drawn was black?
P(Black and White)
0.34
P(White|Black) =
=
= 0.72 = 72%
P(Black)
0.47
The probability that it is Friday and that a student is absent is 0.03. Since there are
5 school days in a week, the probability that it is Friday is 0.2. What is the
probability that a student is absent given that today is Friday?
P(Absent|
P(Friday and Absent)
0.03
=
=
= 0.15 = 15%
Friday)
P(Friday)
0.2
At Kennedy Middle School, the probability that a student takes Technology and
Spanish is 0.087. The probability that a student takes Technology is 0.68. What is
the probability that a student takes Spanish given that the student is taking
Technology?
P(Technology and Spanish)
0.087
P(Spanish|Technology) =
=
= 0.13 = 13%
P(Technology)
0.68
The conditional probability of an event B in relationship to an event A is the
probability that event B occurs given that event A has already occurred. The
notation for conditional probability is P(B|A), read as the probability of B given
A. The formula for conditional probability is:

The Venn Diagram below illustrates P(A), P(B), and P(A and B). What two
sections would have to be divided to find P(B|A)? Answer

Venn diagram

Venn Diagrams
Market Survey Example | Simple Venn Example | Survey Sampling Example
Venn diagrams are a
method to help solve
John Venn (1834 - 1923)
problems in market
research, in science, in
for more information about Venn, check out:
social science, etc.
where often overlapping
Who was John Venn?
information is collected
http://sue.csc.uvic.ca/~cos/venn/VennJohnEJC.html
and needs to be sorted
out.

Examples
1. From a survey of 100 college students, a marketing research company found that 75 students
owned stereos, 45 owned cars, and 35 owned cars and stereos.
a) How many students owned either a car or a stereo?
b) How many students did not own either a car or a stereo?
METHOD:
a) Start with a Venn Diagram and label the different categories:

b) Fill in the number of students who own both cars and stereos, which would be in the
intersection of the two sets:

c) Fill in the remaining numbers for the two sets. In this case, since a total of 45 students own
cars, and 35 have already been listed, then 45 - 35 = 10 students own cars only. Similarly, since
75 students own stereos and 35 have already been listed, then 75 - 35 = 40 students who own
stereos only:

d) Finally, interpret and answer the questions:


How many students owned either a car or a stereo?
The question asks either ... or which is union of the sets.
From the diagram, the number of elements in A = 10 + 35
and the number of elements in B which are NOT in A are 40.
So the union would be 10+35+40 = 85
How many students did not own either a car or a stereo?
The question asks for the number not in either A nor B
(namely, the complement of A B or (A B)' ).
Since there are 100 students in the universe, then the complement is found
by subtracting those who own either a car or stereo from the total number of students surveyed
or 100 - 85 = 15.

2. Suppose n(U) = 150, n(A) = 37, and n(B) = 84.

a) If n( A U B) = 100, find n(a

B) and draw a Venn diagram illustrating the composition of U.

b) How many elements belong to A only?


METHOD:
a) Start with a Venn diagram and label the categories:

b) Since the number of elements in the union = 100,


add the number of elements in A to the numbers of elements in B:
37 + 84 = 121.
But 121 is larger than 100, which means that 121 - 100 = 21 must
be in both sets or in the intersection! And the first question
(If n( A U B) = 100, find n(a B) and draw a Venn diagram illustrating the composition of U.)
is answered!

c) Using the information about the intersection, the other numbers can then be filled in:

And the second question (How many elements belong to A only?) is answered
since the total number of elements in A is 37.
Then the remaining elements in A will be 37 - 21 = 16!

A class consists of six girls and 10 boys. If a committee of three is chosen at


random, find the probability of:

1 Three boys being chosen.

2 Exactly two boys and a girl being chosen.

3 Exactly two girls and a boy being chosen.

4 Three girls being chosen.

Calculate the probability of three coins landing on:

Three heads.