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This section describes how accuracy and precision are different things, and how that relates to graphs.

There is a subtle but incredibly important distinction between precision and accuracy. Science (and especially mathematics) is all about knowing your level of precision. In it’s essence, precision is how exact the answer is, whereas accuracy is how close to correct your answer is.

It may seem like these are the same things but they are quite different. Consider the following illuminating example of the difference.

Here is a quick video explaining the basic differences (in the context of this course) between precision and accuracy:

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1 : Which one of the following is true?
Precision is more important since it gives you a high degree of certainty in your calculation. Accuracy is more important since, if you aren’t accurate, precision doesn’t matter. Getting large precision but low accuracy in a calculation means you made a computational mistake. Precision and Accuracy are both important, but separate things. Which is more important, or what it means when you get one and not the other, is specific to the context of the problem.