Lucky Guesses: Simulating a Multiple-Choice Exam

Python Puzzles

Back to the Python! homepage

Simulate a multiple-choice exam where you divide the questions into three probabilities of attaining a correct answer.

  • Questions that have a 100% confidence of being correct
  • Questions that have a 1/3 confidence of being correct
  • Questions that have a 1/4 confidence of being correct

After running 10,000 simulations of the exam, determine the following:

  • Average number of correct answers
  • Minimum and maximum number of correct answers
  • Percentage of the exams where the number of correct answers is over some desired value
  • Standard Deviation

Here is the code I developed in Python. In my simulation I choose a 50 question exam where my desired score of 35 was attained 74% of the time.

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import pandas as pd

desired_score = 35
known_guess = 1
educated_guess = 1/3
random_guess = 1/4
simulations = 1_000_000

np_result = np.random.binomial(30,known_guess,simulations)
np_result = np.add(np_result,np.random.binomial(10,educated_guess,simulations))
np_result = np.add(np_result,np.random.binomial(10,random_guess,simulations))

filter_arr = np_result >= 35
newarr = np_result[filter_arr]

probability_desired_score = len(newarr)/len(np_result)

print('Probability of obtaining a score of ' + str(desired_score) + ' or greater is ' + '{0:.2%}'.format(probability_desired_score))
print('The average score is' + '{0:.2%}'.format(np.average(np_result)))
print('The minimum score is' + '{0:.2%}'.format(np.min(np_result)))
print('The maximum score is' + '{0:.2%}'.format(np.max(np_result)))
print('The standard deviation is' + '{0:.2%}'.format(np.std(np_result)))

df = pd.Series(np_result)
df = df.value_counts()
print(df.sort_index()), df.values)
plt.title('Distribution of Correct Answers')
plt.xlabel('Correct Answers')
plt.xticks(np.arange(min(df.index), 51, 2))

Here are the results of the print statements.

Probability of obtaining a score of 35 or greater is 74%
The average score is 36
The minimum score is 30
The maximum score is 46
The standard deviation is 2

This Pandas Series shows the number of questions correct on the left and the occurrences on the right.

1,917 exam simulations had 36 correct answers.

Reviewing the bar chart we can see the data fits a normal distribution.