How Many Probability Questions will I Get on the GRE?

Posted by on April 7, 2013 in GRE, Probability | 3 comments

Over the past couple of years since I have been teaching the GRE, nearly all the students have shown immense anxiety over the probability questions. Infact probability is the only topic that students go out of their way to study and improve upon – in the process deliberating over irrelevant concepts that are beyond the scope of the new GRE. Last year was a bit different than this year in terms of probability questions. In 2012, more than 90% of my students got to see not more than 1 probability question – usually tested along with other concepts such as Geometry. However this year expect to see 2 to 3 questions from this topic – since January over 45 of my students have seen 2-3 probability questions. However another 20-25 students never saw any probability questions at all. Therefore the number of questions varies but do not expect more than 3 questions from probability.

Number of probability: 0-3 out of 40

Probability questions vary from removing socks from a drawer to tossing coins and dices. Good news is these questions are not very tough and with just some practicing you’ll do fine. Last year I came across several students who mentioned GRE combining probability with geometry. For instance, the probability that a random point will fall within a shaded region of a circle or a triangle. This year was more about merging probability with counting and combination questions – however don’t fret over the possibilities. Just practice a bit more (30-40 questions at maximum) and you should do well.

Here is a practice question that would get you started and allay your probability woes 🙂

Q) A certain jar contains 60 jelly beans—22 white, 18 green, 11 yellow, 5 red, and 4 purple. If a jelly bean is to be chosen at random, what is the probability that the jelly bean will be neither red nor purple?
A) 0.09
B) 0.15
C) 0.54
D) 0.85
E) 0.91

Explanation:

Since there are 5 red and 4 purple jelly beans in the jar, there are 51 that are neither red nor purple, and the probability of selecting one of these is 51 . Since 60 all of the answer choices are decimals, you must convert the fraction to its decimal equivalent, 0.85. Thus, the correct answer is Choice D, 0.85.

Takeaway

In conclusion I would just say that the probability of getting a probability questions on the GRE is very low 🙂

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    salam………sir i have a question…..i dont know where to post.but plzzzz give me the answer……….sir if someone wants to persue his education in usa for mechanical engineering………but without fulbright …………and in case he cant afford the fees…….so definitely he has to get TA SHIP OR RA SHIP?????? SIR MY QUESTION IS WE HAVE TO APPLY FOR TA SHIP OR RA SHIP SEPARATELY OR IF THEY GIVE US ADMISSION THEY WILL GIVE US BY THEIR OWN ON THE BASIS OF MERIT????????? AND SIR ONE MORE THING….IF OUR PRIORITY IS TO GET INTO USA …DOESNT MATTER IF WE ARE IN STANFROD OR OHIO STATE …THAN WITH A GUD GRE SCORE WE KNOW THAT WE WILL GET ADMISSION….BUT TO GET TA SHIP OR RA SHIP WAT CAN WE DO TO GET THIS EASILY…… SIR I HAVE READ UR CHATS COMMENTS EVERYWHERE BUT I COUDLNT FIND ANSWERS TO THESE THINGS……AS U KNOW PAKISSTANIS CANT AFFORD FEES THERE……. AND MANY DNT WANT TO GO FOR FULBRIGHT……THEY WANT TO DO JOB THEIR AFTER THEIR MASTERS……SO PLEASE ELABORATE THESE THINGS ……THANKS.

    • Avatar

      WAS Jazi,

      Thank you for your post. Yes you need a TAship/RAship in case you are not applying for FB. You have to ask the university to consider you for TA & RA. Email them and tell them how to mention it. You need top GRE scores to get TA/RA regardless of which uni you are applying to. However visa regulations these days are so severe that usually students with admission to low ranked uni’s are generally rejected a visa. So be careful.

  2. Avatar

    sir, i am rohini.i have my exam on September 15.as my dates are fast approaching I am getting scared because in all the practice test which i had taken i had got less marks in maths and i coulnot score more than 286.I am not able to cross 140 r 145 in quantitative section.i usually struck with permutation and combination,time and work and probability section. Pls help me in this regard.

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