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# A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child

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A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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By fundamental counting principle,
Total No of out comes: 2^4 = 16

Total Desired outcomes: No of ways to arrange BBGG by MISSISSIPPI rule= 4!/(2!*2!) = 6

Probability is 6/16 = 3/8
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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So here we have four positions and there are two options to fill each position
so total number of cases=2x2x2x2=16
now we need 2boys and 2 girls OR we can say that we simply need 2 boys because if its not a boy it has to be a girl
favourable cases=4C2=6
probability=6/16=3/8

(A)

Originally posted by masoomdon on 14 Mar 2015, 01:30.
Last edited by masoomdon on 15 Mar 2015, 00:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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1/2 is the chance of boy or girl

1/2 * 1/2 * 1/2 * 1/2 = 1/16 (4 children, boy or girl)

Possible ways of 2 boys, 2 girls:

GGBB
BBGG
GBGB
BGBG
BGGB
GBBG

= 6 ways

we need "OR" --> 1/16 OR 1/16 ....
1/16 + 1/16 + 1/16 ....... +1/16 = 6/16 = 3/8

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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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Why are we ordering here? I mean, I would think BBGG to be the same as BGBG - since the question asks about exactly 2 girls and 2 boys, irrespective of any order of delivery.
We have 5 possibilities: 4 boys, 3 boys and 1 girl, 2 boys and 2 girls, 1 boy and 3 girls, and finally all 4 girls.
So shouldn't the probability be 1/5? too simplistic - I know. but where am I wrong?
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Binomial Probability
The probability of achieving exactly k successes in n trials is shown below.
Formula: P(Probability of K successes in n trials) = nCk p^k q^n-k

n = number of trials
k = number of successes
n – k = number of failures
p = probability of success in one trial
q = 1 – p = probability of failure in one trial

According to our question

n(4 children) = 4
k( we want exactly 2 girls) = 2
n – k = 2
p (probability of getting a girl in one trial) = 1/2
q = 1 – p = 1/2

4C2 * 1/2^2 * 1/2^2 =3/8

Binomial can also be used for problem like coins.

Binomial is used when following conditions are satisfied.

Fixed number of trials
Independent trials
Two different classifications
Probability of success stays the same for all trials
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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Bunuel wrote:
The Official Guide For GMAT® Quantitative Review, 2ND Edition

A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 children and each child is equally likely to be a boy or a girl, what is the probability that they will have exactly 2 girls and 2 boys?

(A) 3/8
(B) 1/4
(C) 3/16
(D) 1/8
(E) 1/16

Let us handle a single case. First boy, second boy, third girl, fourth girl. The probability of this case is 1/2*1/2*1/2*1/2 = 1/16
Two boys or two girls can be born among 4 children in 4C2 ways= 6 ways
So the required probability is: total number of ways * probability of one such way= 6* (1/16)=3/8
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
Why are we ordering here? I mean, I would think BBGG to be the same as BGBG - since the question asks about exactly 2 girls and 2 boys, irrespective of any order of delivery.
We have 5 possibilities: 4 boys, 3 boys and 1 girl, 2 boys and 2 girls, 1 boy and 3 girls, and finally all 4 girls.
So shouldn't the probability be 1/5? too simplistic - I know. but where am I wrong?

Bump seeking an answer to the question above:

I got 1/5 as well.

BBBB
BBBG
BBGG
GGGB
GGGG

1/5 outcomes

The question doesn't say anything about the order. How do we know when order matters?
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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Dondarrion wrote:
Why are we ordering here? I mean, I would think BBGG to be the same as BGBG - since the question asks about exactly 2 girls and 2 boys, irrespective of any order of delivery.
We have 5 possibilities: 4 boys, 3 boys and 1 girl, 2 boys and 2 girls, 1 boy and 3 girls, and finally all 4 girls.
So shouldn't the probability be 1/5? too simplistic - I know. but where am I wrong?

Bump seeking an answer to the question above:

I got 1/5 as well.

BBBB
BBBG
BBGG
GGGB
GGGG

1/5 outcomes

The question doesn't say anything about the order. How do we know when order matters?

In this case we are saying that the probability of BGGG is the same as the probability of BBGG. But that is not so.

You can have 1 boy and 3 girls in 4 ways: BGGG, GBGG, GGBG, GGGB
But you can have 2 boys and 2 girls in 6 ways: BBGG, BGGB, GGBB, BGBG, GBGB, GBBG

So the probability depends on the number of ways in which you can get 2 boys and 2 girls.

Think of it this way: if you throw two dice, is the probability of getting a sum of 2 same as the probability of getting a sum of 8? No.
For sum fo 2, you must get 1 + 1 only.
For sum of 8, you could get 4 + 4 or 3 + 5 or 2 + 6 etc.
So probability of getting sum of 8 would be higher.

In the same way, the order matters in this question.
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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ManonZ wrote:

Do you mean in the total number of cases? If yes, then it is actually 2^4.
First child can happen in 2 ways (boy or girl).
Second, third and fourth kids can also happen in 2 ways.
Total number of ways = 2*2*2*2 = 16
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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Hi All,

There are a couple of ways to answer this question:

1) You could make a table of all the options (there are only 16 possible outcomes) and count up all the ways to get 2 boys and 2 girls

or

2) You can do the math

Here's the math approach:

Since each child has an equal chance of ending up as a boy or girl, there are 2^4 possibilities = 16 possibilities

It also doesn't matter which 2 of the 4 children are boys, so you can treat this part of the question as a combination formula question...

4c2 = 4!/[2!2!] = 6 ways to get 2 boys and 2 girls

6/16 = 3/8 = A

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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Bunuel wrote:
The Official Guide For GMAT® Quantitative Review, 2ND Edition

A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 children and each child is equally likely to be a boy or a girl, what is the probability that they will have exactly 2 girls and 2 boys?

(A) 3/8
(B) 1/4
(C) 3/16
(D) 1/8
(E) 1/16

We need to determine the probability of P(B-B-G-G).

P(B-B-G-G) = (1/2)^4 = 1/16

The number of ways to arrange B-B-G-G is 4C2 = 4!/(2! x 2!) = 3 x 2 = 6.

Thus, the total probability is 6/16 = 3/8.

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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
I thought that order does not matter for when child is born, therefore
Total number of events = 5 (explained below)

0 Boys 4 Girls
1 Boy 3 Girls
2 Boys 2 Girls
3 Boys 1 Girl
4 Boys 0 Girl

Probability (2 B and 2 G exactly) = 1/5

Not sure where I am assuming and making a mistake.
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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shavarna wrote:
I thought that order does not matter for when child is born, therefore
Total number of events = 5 (explained below)

0 Boys 4 Girls
1 Boy 3 Girls
2 Boys 2 Girls
3 Boys 1 Girl
4 Boys 0 Girl

Probability (2 B and 2 G exactly) = 1/5

Not sure where I am assuming and making a mistake.

Hi shavarna,

The 5 options you've listed are NOT all equally likely, so you would have to do a bit more work to get to the correct answer. There are a couple of ways to answer this question:

1) You could make a table of all the options (since each child could be a boy or a girl, there are only 2^4 = 16 possible outcomes) and determine all the ways to get 2 boys and 2 girls

or

2) You can do the math

Here's the math approach:

Since each child has an equal chance of ending up as a boy or girl, there are 2^4 possibilities = 16 possibilities. It also doesn't matter which 2 of the 4 children are boys, so you can treat this part of the question as a combination formula question...

4c2 = 4!/[2!2!] = 6 ways to get 2 boys and 2 girls out of 16 possibilities. 6/16 = 3/8

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
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EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
shavarna wrote:
I thought that order does not matter for when child is born, therefore
Total number of events = 5 (explained below)

0 Boys 4 Girls
1 Boy 3 Girls
2 Boys 2 Girls
3 Boys 1 Girl
4 Boys 0 Girl

Probability (2 B and 2 G exactly) = 1/5

Not sure where I am assuming and making a mistake.

Hi shavarna,

The 5 options you've listed are NOT all equally likely, so you would have to do a bit more work to get to the correct answer. There are a couple of ways to answer this question:

1) You could make a table of all the options (since each child could be a boy or a girl, there are only 2^4 = 16 possible outcomes) and determine all the ways to get 2 boys and 2 girls

or

2) You can do the math

Here's the math approach:

Since each child has an equal chance of ending up as a boy or girl, there are 2^4 possibilities = 16 possibilities. It also doesn't matter which 2 of the 4 children are boys, so you can treat this part of the question as a combination formula question...

4c2 = 4!/[2!2!] = 6 ways to get 2 boys and 2 girls out of 16 possibilities. 6/16 = 3/8

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

Hi EMPOWERgmatRichC, chetan2u,

But that's also valid method right as nowhere stated in question that in how many different way this is possible.
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Re: A couple decides to have 4 children. If they succeed in having 4 child [#permalink]
Hi Gmatprep550,

The question asks for the PROBABILITY that exactly 2 of the 4 children are boys, so the total number of possible outcomes IS a factor in this question.

If you describe the 5 possible outcomes as...
0 Boys 4 Girls
1 Boy 3 Girls
2 Boys 2 Girls
3 Boys 1 Girl
4 Boys 0 Girl

...then you might think that there is a 1/5 chance of having 2 boys and 2 girls, but that is NOT mathematically correct (since the 5 possible outcomes do NOT all have an equal likelihood of occurring).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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