In 2016, first round TJ applicants were taken by surprise when they went to their assigned testing locations to complete the Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology admissions 2nd round Student Information Sheet (SIS) and Essay hurdle.

The students got the SIS questions, but instead of a final essay prompt, they received this challenging math problem.

It’s 5:30 AM, and you, a helicopter pilot, have just been told there’s an injured man on a boat you need to get to a hospital. The boat is going towards where you are at 10 mph, but is currently 400 miles away. You need to get him as soon as possible, but you only have 6600 lbs of fuel in your helicopter, which burns 1200 lbs per hour, and always travels at 150 mph. Also, you need to account for 30 min of fuel spent hovering over the boat to get the man into the helicopter, and 1 extra hour of fuel due to helicopter standards. Under these circumstances, when can you depart your station to get the man as soon as possible?

Give the question a try, and check the video below for the answer and Kate Dalby’s explanation. If you would like to prepare for the SIS, register for Inspiring Test Preparation’s

Private writing instruction.
Link to 2017 SIS Math Problem.
Link to 2018 SIS Math Problem.
Link to 2019 SIS Math Problem.
Link to 2020 SIS Math Problem.
Link to 2016 SIS Math Problem: