Terms in Probability

Let us take an example to learn the few frequently used terms in probability.

Suppose you toss a coin and you need to find the probability of getting heads. Then, the act of tossing the coin to get heads or tails is called an experiment, getting heads or tails from the experiment is called the outcome, the group of possible outcomes or events (heads or tails) from the experiment is called the sample space, and the outcome/event whose probability we are calculating (that is, getting heads), is called the favorable outcome.

Now suppose you toss a coin ten times. Each toss can have two outcomes. Thus there will be ten outcomes in total (although the sample is much greater, having a size of `2^10`). A collection of one or more of these outcomes is called an event. Suppose you are calculating the probability of getting exactly four heads when tossing a coin ten times, then the collection of four outcomes of 'heads' (that is, favorable outcomes) can be called a favorable event. It is used as "The event of getting four exactly heads on tossing a coin ten times." When an event consists of a single outcome, as in tossing a coin only once, then it is called a simple event.

Use of the terms highlighted above is frequent in questions on probability. Thus you need to be familiar with them to understand the questions.

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