GEP Screening Test Question Sample: The Tap Question

The Tap Question is another one of those questions that only involve fractions and whole numbers, and hence technically within the grasp of a 9 year old kid sitting for the GEP Screening Test.

However, looks are highly deceiving, and whoever tries the Tap Question for the very first time is highly likely to get stuck. (I was one of them years ago!) The Tap Question is highly popular as a challenging question, due to its psychological nature it is a hard question to grasp. This is a question you wouldn’t want to meet for the first time in the GEP Screening Test. However, if you know how to solve it, it is easy as a piece of cake, and you will be able to solve it during the GEP Screening Test no matter how they twist the question.

GEP Screening Test Sample Math Question (The Tap Question):

A fish tank is connected to three taps.
Tap A can fill the tank in 2 hours.
Tap B can fill the tank in 3 hours.
Tap C can drain the tank in 6 hours.
If all three taps are turned on at the same time, how long would it take to fill the empty fish tank?

Do try out the question before looking at the answer below!

There is a huge difference solving a question for the first time, and solving a question that one has seen before. To familiarize yourself with GEP Screening Test questions that can come out, do check out our Recommended GEP Books. Reading one of those books would increase your child’s repertoire of questions, and hence boost your child’s IQ indirectly. Also, do check out Math Olympiad books, as it is well known that GEP Screening Test Math questions do incorporate some Math Olympiad questions.

A book like The Original Collection of Math Contest Problems: Elementary and Middle School Math Contest problems would be suitable for children training for GEP Screening Test and Math Olympiad simultaneously at the same time.


The key insight is to find out what each tap can do in one hour.

Tap A can fill 1/2 of the tank in 1 hour.
Tap B can fill 1/3 of the tank in 1 hour.
Tap C can drain 1/6 of the tank in 1 hour.

Hence, if all of them are turned on simultaneously,
\displaystyle\frac{1}{2}+\frac{1}{3}-\frac{1}{6}=\frac{2}{3} of the tank can be filled in 1 hour.

2/3 of the tank takes 1 hour to fill.
Multiplying this statement by 3,
2 tanks takes 3 hours to fill.
1 tank takes 3/2=1.5 hours to fill.

Ans: 1.5 hours

Hope you had fun solving this!

Also check out the following GEP Screening/Round 2 questions:

By the way, for my foreign readers who are curious what is GEP Screening Test, it is a test conducted in Singapore for entry to the GEP (Gifted Education Programme). The screening and selection tests are conducted at the end of Primary 3, equivalent to Grade 3 or age 9. The official website on GEP Screening Test is available at:

The GEP Screening Math questions can be viewed as the epitome of the Singapore Math system, as it features highly challenging Math questions that are technically in syllabus but few students know how to solve!


About mathtuition88
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3 Responses to GEP Screening Test Question Sample: The Tap Question

  1. ivasallay says:

    It was fun. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. abyssbrain says:

    When I first saw this type of question in one of Martin Gardner’s book back then, I also struggled with it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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