Get ready for Precalculus
Probability: the basics
Explore what probability means and why it's useful.
Probability is simply how likely something is to happen.
Whenever we’re unsure about the outcome of an event, we can talk about the probabilities of certain outcomes—how likely they are. The analysis of events governed by probability is called statistics.
The best example for understanding probability is flipping a coin:
There are two possible outcomes—heads or tails.
What’s the probability of the coin landing on Heads? We can find out using the equation .You might intuitively know that the likelihood is half/half, or 50%. But how do we work that out? Probability =
Formula for calculating the probability of certain outcomes for an event
In this case:
Probability of a coin landing on heads
Probability of an event = (# of ways it can happen) / (total number of outcomes)
P(A) = (# of ways A can happen) / (Total number of outcomes)
There are six different outcomes.
Different outcomes rolling a die
What’s the probability of rolling a one?
Probability formula for rolling a '1' on a die
What’s the probability of rolling a one or a six?
Probability of a 1 or a 6 outcome when rolling a die
Using the formula from above:
Probability formula applied
What’s the probability of rolling an even number (i.e., rolling a two, four or a six)?
Probability of rolling an even number? The formula and solution
- The probability of an event can only be between 0 and 1 and can also be written as a percentage.
- The probability of event is often written as .
- If , then event has a higher chance of occurring than event .
- If , then events and are equally likely to occur.
Practice basic probability skills on Khan Academy —try our stack of practice questions with useful hints and answers!
Want to join the conversation?
- If two standard dice are rolled. What is the probability that the total of two dice is less than 6?(25 votes)
- less than 6 would not include 6 so
| 1-1 2-1 3-1 4-1 |
| 1-2 2-2 3-2 |
| 1-3 2-3 |
| 1-4 |
⁂ p()=10/36(8 votes)
- A card is drawn from a standard deck of 52 cards. Find the probability that is
a.) a heart or a face card.
b.) a jack or an ace card
c.) a 10 or a spade.(11 votes)
- I am just warning you, I don't know much about cards that much, so my numbers may be off.
a. there are 13 heart cards and 12 face cards (aces aren't faces, right?), of which 3 are repeated, so 13+12-3 = 22/52 = 11/26
b. there are 4 jacks and 4 aces, so 4+4 = 8/52 = 4/26 = 2/13
c. there are 4 tens and 13 spades, and one 10 is repeated, so 4+13-1 = 16/52 = 8/26 = 4/13
I hope that helps!(26 votes)
- Can't you multiply the possibility(fraction) with the the same numerator or denominator to get a different but equivalent answer?
Example: 3/4 chance times 3/3(numerator) equals 9/12. At my school, they say you can multiply fractions with the same numerator/denominator, but I haven't taken probability yet in my grade.(4 votes)
- Yes you can multiply probabilities with fractions that are equal to one. We usually want the fraction in the simpliest form though.(4 votes)
- does probability always have to be written like a fraction? How do you know when to write it as a percentage?(2 votes)
- Usually, the question concerning probability should specify if they want either fractions or percentages. Here on KA, you can tell if they're asking for a percentage if you see a % sign by the answer box, while for fractions / decimals a small dialogue box will pop up after you click on the answer box telling you which form to put it in. (I've also seen them state which form to use in italics right after the question.)
Hope this helps!😀(7 votes)
- what's the probability I wont throw my computer because of khan academy?(3 votes)
- hmmmmmm...using the formula P(H) i think ur chances would be 100%…. yes yes i believe that should be correct(2 votes)
- If there were 3 black dogs,4 brown dogs,and 2 white dog what would happen if You took 2 brown dogs away.(2 votes)
- Um...there would be 7 dogs instead of 9. And there would only be 2 brown dogs now. Which is equal to the number of white dogs. Or is there a more complex reason to this? I don't know. Anyway I hope this helps.(4 votes)
- Heres is a question I am stuck on that's on my study guide:
If a balanced tetrahedron with faces 1,2,3,4 is rolled twice, find the probability that the Sum is prime.
It also asks to find the probability that a 3 is rolled on at least one of the rolls and I think I got the correct answer, but I'm not sure can you help me double-check?(3 votes)
- im hungry 🍞(3 votes)
- Khan Buttcademy deleted my previous comment, I'm on to you Mr. Academy(2 votes)
- Math is l ame, boring, and s tupid, I rather have my f oot run over than do math.(2 votes)