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Statistics 3: Normal Distribution

Pearson: Chapter 15.3 p541 – 555

Homework: Exercise 15.3 p553
Q1, 2, 6, 10, 12, 13 (15 – 17)
Haese & Harris: Chapter 24 p629 – 648
Homework: Ex 24B p637 Q3 - 6
Ex 24D.1 p645 Q7,9; Ex 24D.2 p646 Q1, 7
Normal Distribution
• A normal distribution is a “bell-shaped” symmetrical

• A normal distribution describes many naturally occurring

variables such as height of people, weights of animals, and
leaf surface area in plants.
• Normal distributions are symmetrical about the mean; and
the mean = mode = median.

• There are many different normal distributions – each

defined by its own mean and standard deviation.

The mean is the centre of the distribution and

the standard deviation describes the spread.

• ~ 68% of all values are within ∓ 1 standard deviation from the

• Almost all values are within ∓ 3 standard deviations of the
Normal Distribution Curves

• _____ = variance which is (standard deviation)2

• m and s are called the parameters of the distribution as they are the only values
needed to describe it fully.

• The green curve is X1~ N(5, 22), the red curve is

X2~ N(10, 22) and the blue curve is X1~ N(15, 22)

• The green curve is X1~ N(5, 12), the red curve is

X2~ N(5, 22) and the blue curve is X1~ N(5, 32)

• The area under the curve is always = 1.

• So normal distributions can be used to find the probability of a value of the random
variable X, by finding the area under the curve.
Standard Normal Distribution
• m = 0 and s = 1
• The random variable (x-axis) = Z
• z-values are how many standard deviations
away from the mean any value is.

• The shaded area represents the proportion of values for which

z < 1.2
= the probability that a randomly chosen value of z will
have a value of 1.2 or less. This is written as P(Z < 1.2)
1.2 z

Using the GDC: (see “Distributions & GDC” on Moodle for more help with Ti84 and TiNspire)
Finding Probability (area):
Press 2ND VARS (dist) and then 2:Normal cdf; Note:
Enter values: We never use Normal pdf
lower: -1E99 (-1 x1099) “E” = 2ND , (EE)
upper: 1.2 The GDC can calculate area BOTH to the left and right (+ ∞ = 9E99)
𝜇: 0
𝜎:1 and then click Paste & ENTER (twice) Always sketch a distribution as part of your answer
Standard Normal Distribution
Examples: 1. For the standard normal variable Z, find:
a) p(Z < 1) b) p(Z < 0.03)

2. For the standard normal variable Z, find:

a) p(Z > 1. 7) b) p(Z < - 0.88) c) p(Z > -1.53)

3. For the standard normal variable Z, find:

a) p(1.7 < Z < 2.5) b) p(-1.12 < Z < 0.67) c) p(-2.45 < Z < -0.08)
Inverse Normal Distribution
• If you are given the probability and need to find the cut-off value (z-value) you need to use
inverse normal. (Going in the opposite direction).

• Use the inverse normal feature on your calculator (found in the same menu as Normal Cdf)

*Key points to remember*

 Area must always be given as area “to the left of” the given boundary (as a decimal, not a %)
 If Area is given to the right of a boundary, this value must be subtracted from 1

 the Area left of the boundary is NOT the Z-Value – you use the Area and the “inverse normal”
feature of the calculator to find the corresponding Z-value for that amount of accumulated area.

1. Find the values of a in each of these statements that refer to the standard normal variable, z:
a) p(Z < a) = 0.5478 b) p(Z > a) = 0.6 c) p(Z < a) = 0.05
Non-Standard Normal Distribution
• Most real-life distributions have a mean ≠ 0 and a standard variation ≠ 1.
• The x-axis of these distributions have an x score (instead of a z score).
• Probability calculations are performed in the GDC in the same way, by entering the values for 𝜇 and 𝜎.

4. X is a normal random variable with mean = 80 and variance = 16.

Find: a) p(X ≤ 78) b) p(76 ≤ X ≤ 84) c) p(X ≥ 86)

5. The weight, W, of bags of rice follows a normal distribution with mean 1000g and standard deviation 4g.
a) Find the probability that a bag of rice chosen at random weighs between 990g and 1004g.

95% of the bags of rice weigh less than k grams.

b) Find the value of k.

For a bag of rice chosen at random, P(1000 – a < W < 1000 + a) = 0.9
c) Find the value of a.
Non-Standard Normal Distribution
2. A university professor determines that 80% of this year’s History candidates should pass the final examination.
The examination results are expected to be normally distributed with mean 62 and standard deviation 13.

Find the lowest score necessary to pass the examination.

3. The students of Class 2017 sat a physics test. From the results, the average score was 46 with a standard
deviation of 25. The teacher decided to award an A to the top 7% of the students in the class. Assuming the
scores were normally distributed, find the lowest score that a student must obtain in order to achieve an A.
Using Z-scores to find 𝜇 or 𝜎
• If either the standard deviation or the mean is not given, you can’t use the GDC directly to solve
a question.
• Use the area (probability) given to find the z-score (or “standardized value”) on a standard
normal curve.
• Then convert the z-score into a x-score and solve for the missing value using the formula given:

• If neither standard deviation or mean is given, you make 2 linear equations & solve in the GDC.
Using Z-scores to find 𝜇 or 𝜎
4. The lifetime of a particular make of mobile phone is normally distributed with a mean of 8 years and a standard
deviation of σ years. The chances that the phone will not last 5 years is 0.05. What is the value of the standard

5. The weight of a population of men is found to be normally distributed with mean 69.5 kg. 13% of the men
weigh at least 72.1 kg, find the standard deviation of their weight.
Using Z-scores to find 𝜇 or 𝜎
4. Find the mean and the standard deviation of a normally distributed random variable X, if P(x ≥ 50) = 0.2
and P(x ≤ 20) = 0.3
IB question
The weights of fish in a lake are normally distributed with a mean of 760 g and standard deviation 𝜎. It is known that
78.87% of the fish have weights between 705 g and 815 g.
a) (i) Write down the probability that a fish weighs more than 760 g.
(ii) Find the probability that a fish weighs less than 815 g.

b) (i) Write down the standardized value for 815 g.

(ii) Hence, or otherwise, find 𝜎.

A fishing contest takes place in the lake. Small fish, called tiddlers, are thrown back into the lake. The maximum
weight of a tiddler is 1.5 standard deviations below the mean.

c) Find the maximum weight of a tiddler.

d) A fish is caught at random. Find the probability that it is a tiddler.

e) 25% of the fish in the lake are salmon. 10% of the salmon are tiddlers. Given that a fish caught at
random is a tiddler, find the probability that is a salmon.