Statistics and Probability | Mathematics

February 22, 2016 Jennifer Brandt

Statistics and Probability | Mathematics

Did you know that every day you use probability? That’s right. Checking the weather, choosing to take one route to work versus another, deciding what to wear for the day, and countless other actions and thoughts happen because we make predictions and analyze for the best outcome.

In preparation for the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ Mathematics subtest, we will discuss statistics and probability. First, let’s define the two mathematical terms:

  • Statistics is the study or practice of collecting and analyzing numerical data.
  • Probability is the likelihood of something happening.

According to the Khan Academy, if we are unsure about the outcome of an event, we discuss the probability of various outcomes and how likely they are to happen. The analysis of these varied outcomes is called statistics. 

Probability Basics

According to Math is Fun, most events in life can't be predicted with total certainty. Because of this, we look at how likely they are to happen using the idea of probability.

Think of flipping a coin. You have two possible outcomes: heads or tails. The probability of a coin landing on heads is 50%, and the probability of a coin landing on tails is 50%. If we flip an object with more sides, the chances decrease of predicting which side it will land on.

Math is Fun uses the example of throwing dice. If you toss a single die, it can land on one of six sides, so the probability of the die landing on the number six is 16.6…%, or 1/6.

Probability Distribution

According to Stat Trek, a “probability distribution is a table or an equation that links each outcome of a statistical experiment with its probability of occurrence.” Let’s say we flipped a coin twice and wanted to see how many times it landed on heads.

There are four possible outcomes that could happen, and each outcome is equally likely to happen with a probability of ¼. The statistics of our experiment is seen in the probability distribution table below:

Table via OnlineStatBook.com.

Work through additional probability and statistics examples with the Khan Academy

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