Archive for the ‘Probability’ Category

Testing Probability

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Flummoxed by his true-false final exam, a student decides to toss a coin up in the air. Heads means true; tails, false. Thirty minutes later, he is done, well before the rest of the class. But then the student startsd flipping the coin again. And soon he’s swearing and sweating over each question.

“What’s wrong?” asks the concern teacher.

“I’m rechecking my answers,” says the student.

[Comic Wendell Potter, Laugh!:), Reader Digest, March 2009, p. 81]

Uri’s Comment: It is interesting to note that the student can change any answer that is not confirmed without affecting the probable grade of the test. Of course, for this to be true, the number of questions should be as large as possible. Considering that (a) it took the students 30 min. to finish the test and (b) it takes under 6 seconds to toss a coin and jot down the result, the test could have consisted of 150-300 questions (no need to spend time on reading each question). This test consists of a sufficient number of questions for probability to determine the overall grade.