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SAT Math: Data Analysis

Probability

An open box of picnic utensils contains 4 forks and 8 spoons.  What is the probability of pulling out a fork at random? 

 

Note: In the math section of the SAT, you will encounter questions that do not have answer choices.  Instead of bubbling in a letter, you will bubble in your answer.  These questions are called grid in questions, and you should always guess an answer for them because there is no penalty for getting the question wrong!

 

Knowsys Method

Read the question carefully.  In probability problems it is especially important to know which numbers are relevant to the outcome.

Identify the bottom line.  probability of fork = ?

Assess your options.  You do not have any answer choices, so you will have to use the formula for probability.

Attack the problem.  The formula for probability is simply the number of relevant outcomes divided by the number of total possible outcomes.  In this problem, you want to know the probability of selecting a fork, so the forks are the relevant outcomes.  That means that you will need to divide the 4 forks by the total number of utensils.  The total number includes 4 forks plus 8 spoons, so it is 12.  You are not finished until you have reduced the fraction.

probability.JPG

Loop back.  You must reduce the fraction completely!  Fractions that are not reduced will be counted as incorrect!  Once you are sure that you have solved for the bottom line, bubble in your answer choice.  

 

The correct answer is 1/3 or .333.  The decimal answer must be as accurate as possible.  Less accurate values such as .33 are not acceptable. 

This is a medium level question.

 

Want some help reviewing the math concepts you need to master?  Try out the Knowsys Pre-Algebra Flashcards, the Knowsys Algebra I Flashcards, and the Knowsys SAT & ACT Math Practice book.  

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