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Continuous Distribution Topics Covered in the P1

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  • Continuous Distribution Topics Covered in the P1

    I was just wondering about which continuous distributions are most often tested in the P1 exam. I see that they list the Pareto, lognormal, and Weibull distributions, but I have not been able to find any questions on the Weibull (have not looked at the others yet). Will just studying up on the Gamma, normal, exponential, and beta be sufficient, or do I need to figure out the more obscure distributions as well?

    Much thanks for any advice.

  • #2
    If your luck is like mine, not becoming familiar with any distribution is a guarantee* that it will turn up on the exam, and then an entire 1/30 of the test is given up.

    I have two (very popular) study guides that have exam questions with those "obscure" distributions. Once I reached practice exam six in a certain manual, it was like slamming into a brick wall, so I buckled down and committed the recognition of the form of the distributions along with means, variances, and MGFs to memory. It took about two days with some flashcards, and occasionally grabbing a piece of scratch paper and trying to write them all from memory.

    If I fail P1, it won't be because I didn't try to learn these distributions. Instead it will be because I'm this guy: :Smart: who apparently has problems adding 1 to 2 or multiplying 4 by 7, thereby causing an exclamation point to appear over his head.

    * This guarantee is what I've called the "pull cord" phenomenon. There are two pull cords on our window blinds throughout my house that adjust the angle of the blinds, which I have a problem with. There should be an exam question that reads:

    You are Piranha and you're drawing the blinds before going to bed. Your wife insists that the blinds be closed "inwards" (whatever that means). To close the blinds "inwards", a particular one of the two pull cords must be pulled. The cords are identical and the knobs at the end hang at an even height, and cannot be distinguished in any way. What is the probability that you pull the correct cord on the first try?

    A. 1/2
    B. 0
    C. "DOH!"
    D. e^-(1/2)
    E. B and C


    Despite the appearance of a Bernoulli trial with p = q = 1/2, the probability p is in fact zero. Scholars are divided into two camps regarding this counter-intuitive solution. The first camp, or "God Hates Me" camp, introduces theological issues and detailed accounts of Piranha's iniquity which are beyond the scope of exam P, and are left as an exercise to the reader. The second camp, "The Cranks" regard the phenomenon as evidence of a broken universe and do lots of complaining about everything, as though we actually didn't know the drive-thru at McDonald's routinely messed up orders. They do not get invited to many parties.

    Answer: E
    Last edited by Piranha; June 11 2009, 11:09 PM. Reason: spellling


    • #3
      Yeah from what I can gather you need to be very familiar with Normal, Exponential, and Uniform. You don't absolutely need to know the other ones but it can help. I'd say Beta and Gamma where the alpha value is an integer would be most likely among the other ones. Even if they are tested, in some cases ive seen you dont need to have the variance, for example, memorized, but it saves a lot of algebraic headaches. In short, it's not necessary, you probably won't need them, but you never know.