learning

Want to learn German? Get ready for brain-overload …

german articles

(Note how the feminine article turns into the masculine article for absolutely no reason)

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Need more? Here’s how to conjugate the verb “to work” = “arbeiten” in English and German:

I work ich arbeite
you work du arbeitest
he/she/it works er/sie/es arbeitet
we work wir arbeiten
you work ihr arbeitet
they work sie/Sie arbeiten

(Just FYI: You say “du” when talking to one person and “ihr” when talking to a group. In English you use “you” in both cases)

But on the bright side, the tenses are a lot easier … no continuous forms and the perfect form is identical in meaning to the simple form … so there’s that

Probability and Multiple Choice Tests

Imagine taking a multiple choice test that has three possible answers to each question. This means that even if you don’t know any answer, your chance of getting a question right is still 1/3. How likely is it to get all questions right by guessing if the test contains ten questions?

Here we are looking at the event “correct answer” which occurs with a probability of p(correct answer) = 1/3. We want to know the odds of this event happening ten times in a row. For that we simply apply the multiplication rule:

  • p(all correct) = (1/3)10 = 0.000017

Doing the inverse, we can see that this corresponds to about 1 in 60000. So if we gave this test to 60000 students who only guessed the answers, we could expect only one to be that lucky. What about the other extreme? How likely is it to get none of the ten questions right when guessing?

Now we must focus on the event “incorrect answer” which has the probability p(incorrect answer) = 2/3. The odds for this to occur ten times in a row is:

  • p(all incorrect) = (2/3)10 = 0.017

In other words: 1 in 60. Among the 60000 guessing students, this outcome can be expected to appear 1000 times. How would these numbers change if we only had eight instead of ten questions? Or if we had four options per question instead of three? I leave this calculation up to you.