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Combinations problem

This topic has 2 expert replies and 1 member reply
topspin360 Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Combinations problem

Post Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:11 pm
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    Hello,

    For the question below, why isn't the answer: (30/500 * 1/800) + (30/800 * 1/500). We can the first student either from business school or law school...

    A certain business school has 500 students, and the law school at the same university has 800 students. Among these students, there are 30 sibling pairs consisting of 1 business student and 1 law student. If 1 student is selected at random from each school, what is the probability that a sibling pair is selected?

    A) 3/40000
    B) 3/20000
    C) 3/4000
    D) 9/400
    E) 6/130

    OAA

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    Post Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:24 pm
    topspin360 wrote:
    Hello,

    A certain business school has 500 students, and the law school at the same university has 800 students. Among these students, there are 30 sibling pairs consisting of 1 business student and 1 law student. If 1 student is selected at random from each school, what is the probability that a sibling pair is selected?

    A) 3/40000
    B) 3/20000
    C) 3/4000
    D) 9/400
    E) 6/130

    OAA

    For the question above, why isn't the answer: (30/500 * 1/800) + (30/800 * 1/500). We can the first student either from business school or law school...
    You're double-counting the sibling pairs.
    Since each pair consists of 1 junior and 1 senior, it doesn't matter whether we select first from the junior class and then from the senior class or first from the senior class and then from the junior class: either way, we'll be counting the SAME sibling pairs.

    An alternate approach:

    P(sibling pair) = (total number of sibling pairs)/(total number of possible pairs).

    Total number of possible pairs:
    There are 500 juniors and 800 seniors.
    Total number of ways to combine 1 junior with 1 senior = 500*800 = 400,000.

    Total number of sibling pairs = 30.

    P(sibling pair) = 30/400,000 = 3/40,000.

    The correct answer is A.

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    Last edited by GMATGuruNY on Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:11 am; edited 1 time in total

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    Post Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:13 pm
    topspin360 wrote:
    A certain business school has 500 students, and the law school at the same university has 800 students. Among these students, there are 30 sibling pairs consisting of 1 business student and 1 law student. If 1 student is selected at random from each school, what is the probability that a sibling pair is selected?

    A) 3/40000
    B) 3/20000
    C) 3/4000
    D) 9/400
    E) 6/130

    OAA
    Here's another approach:

    P(selecting a sibling pair) = P(select a business student with a sibling AND select a law student who is that business student's sibling)
    = P(select a business student with a sibling) x P(select a law student who is that business student's sibling)
    = 30/500 x 1/800
    = 30/400,000
    = 3/40,000
    = A

    Note: P(select a business student with a sibling) = 30/500, because 30 of the 500 business students have a sibling in law school.
    P(select a law student who is that business student's sibling) = 1/800, because there are 800 law students and only 1 is the sibling of the selected business student.

    Cheers,
    Brent

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    Post Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:25 pm
    Hi topspin360,

    In certain types of probability questions (in which you're dealing with multiple "events"), the result of one event may affect the "math" of the other events.

    Here, we're asked to calculate the probability that a pair of siblings is selected (1 from the Business School and the matching sibling from the Law School).

    The first step is to calculate the odds of pulling ANY sibling from the Business School:

    30/500

    So, now we have a sibling from the Business School, but we need to also calculate the probability of choosing the MATCHING sibling from the Law School. There's ONLY ONE matching sibling though (once we choose ANY of the 30 siblings from the Business School, there is just ONE match at the Law School):

    1/800

    Multiply the results:

    (30/500)(1/800) = 3/40,000

    Final Answer: A

    When tackling these types of questions, it's usually best to work through one calculation at a time and ask yourself if the latter calculations are affected by the first.

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