Accuracy vs. Precision

To be accurate means to be correct or free from error, as in an accurate diagnosis.
Another meaning of “accurate” is conforming to truth or a standard, as in an accurate gauge.

To be precise means to be minutely exact, down to a couple of decimal points, as in “just at that precise moment.”
Precision also refers to conformance to a strict standard, pattern or convention, which is why it is sometimes confused with accuracy. Think of it as a very narrow range of tolerance.

To illustrate the difference, let’s consider the length of a piece of pipe.
“This is a three-foot piece of pipe” may be an accurate statement. Think “correct.”
“This pipe is 3.05 ft long” is a precise statement. Think “exact.”

Now, do you think you have an accurate understanding of the difference between “accuracy” and “precision”?



One Response to “Accuracy vs. Precision”

  1. Bryan Says:

    Wow! Love this article! It clearly stated the difference between the two words. Thanks! Now I can impress my teacher with this! xD

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