HSPT Reading : Cause and Effect in Contemporary Life Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HSPT Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #12 : Main Idea, Details, Opinions, And Arguments In Narrative Humanities Passages

Adapted from Scientific American Supplement No. 1082 Vol. XLII (September 26th, 1896)

The rowboat Fox, of the port of New York, manned by George Harbo, thirty-one years of age, captain of a merchantman, and Frank Samuelson, twenty-six years of age, left New York for Havre on the sixth of June. Ten days later the boat was met by the German transatlantic steamer Fürst Bismarck proceeding from Cherbourg to New York. On the eighth, ninth and tenth of July, the Fox was cast by a tempest upon the reefs of Newfoundland. The two men jumped into the sea, and thanks to the watertight compartments provided with air chambers fore and aft, it was possible for them to right the boat; but the unfortunates lost their provisions and their supply of drinking water. On the fifteenth they met the Norwegian three-masted vessel Cito, which supplied them with food and water. The captains of the vessels met with signed the log book and testified that the boat had neither sail nor rudder. The Fox reached the Scilly Islands on the first of August, having at this date been on the ocean fifty-five days. It arrived at Havre on the seventh of August.

Cost what it might, the men were bent upon reaching this port in order to gain the reward promised by Mr. Fox, of the Police Gazette. Thanks to the wind and a favorable current, they made one hundred and twenty-five miles in twenty-four hours. One slept three hours while the other rowed. Their skins and faces were tumefied by the wind, salt water, and sun; the skin of their hands was renewed three times; their legs were weakened; and they were worn out.

Why did the two men want to row across the Atlantic?

Possible Answers:

To impress their wives

To claim the promised reward

To prove that it could be done

To atone for breaking the law

To achieve fame

Correct answer:

To claim the promised reward

Explanation:

Answering this question requires you to read carefully. The author says, "the men were bent upon reaching this port in order to gain the reward promised by Mr. Fox, of the Police Gazette.”

Example Question #24 : Reading Comprehension

"A Short History of Recent Zoos" by Will Floyd

Throughout the twentieth century, zoos underwent large-scale transformations. Before World War I, zoos were small parts of larger municipal parks, and featured sparse cages with little room for their inhabitants. This model held sway until mid-century, with many zoos struggling to remain open during the Great Depression and World War II. The successful zoos survived through making themselves cheap family entertainment. In the 1960s, zoos began to change in drastic ways. With the growing strength of environmental and animal rights movements, the public clamored for more naturalistic and spacious environments in which the animals could live.

The most emblematic of these transformations was the development of the Los Angeles Zoo. In 1966, the cramped and antiquated zoo used grants from the city government to move to a brand-new facility. Although the zoo moved just two miles away, the new location was exponentially bigger, and it featured fresh landscapes that resembled the animals’ natural habitats, instead of dilapidated cages. As the Los Angeles Zoo developed, it was able to work on preservation and conservation efforts for endangered species. New educational programs also became key elements of the Zoo’s mission. Now the old Zoo’s cages stand as ruins and reminders of what past generations saw when they visited years ago.

The author would suggest a new zoo should __________.

Possible Answers:

focus on conservation, preservation, and educational programs

look like pre-World War II zoos

ignore the desires of the public

build only sparse cages with few extra environments for the animals

not consult environmentalists or animal rights activists

Correct answer:

focus on conservation, preservation, and educational programs

Explanation:

The author's main point throughout the passage is that zoos have changed for the better by becoming bigger, with more naturalistic environments, and through a focus on various kinds of programs. In particular, the author highlights the Los Angeles Zoo's conservation, preservation, and educational programs. It is safe to presume that the author views these as key elements of a modern zoo.

Example Question #1 : Cause And Effect In Contemporary Life Passages

Adapted from "Wild Animals in Captivity" by W. A. Atkinson in Chatterbox Periodical (1906, ed. J. Erskine Clark)

Notwithstanding all the care which is now bestowed upon wild animals in our zoological gardens and menageries, nearly all of them suffer a little in some way or other by confinement. When we think of the great difference which exists between the surroundings natural to a free wild animal, and those of even the best zoological gardens, we cannot but be surprised that so many animals from all parts of the world can be kept alive and in good condition in a climate so changeable as ours. Every effort is made by the keepers to copy as far as possible the natural conditions to which each animal is accustomed.

It was usual, for instance, to deprive all the flesh-eating animals of one of the greatest traveling menageries of food during one day in each week. It was found by experience that the animals were healthier when they suffered periods of fasting like this, than they were when they were fed regularly every day without a break. The explanation of this was very simple. These animals, when they were living wild in the jungles, forests, deserts, or ice-fields, obtained all their food by hunting. When game was scarce or difficult to catch, they were compelled to go hungry; and this occurred so often as to be a natural condition to which they were well accustomed. When, therefore, they were placed in cages, and were fed as regularly, though not as frequently as human beings, their health was more or less impaired.

Animals in confinement often undergo slight changes even when no alteration in their appearance or falling-off in health is noticeable. Many of them, for instance, rarely have young ones, and even when they have, the young are seldom as healthy and robust as if born in a wild state. The keepers have frequently the utmost difficulty in rearing animals which are born in menageries and zoological gardens. Yet if these animals were born in their own countries and under natural conditions, they would grow up healthy and strong, without receiving any more care than a kitten receives from its mother.

An incident which occurred in the Zoo not long ago affords a striking illustration of these facts. A wolf had an ordinary family of eight young ones. The keepers, probably thinking that these were too many for the captive wolf to bring up alone, divided the family. Four of them were left with their mother, and four of them were placed in charge of a collie. The dog took kindly to her foster-children, and reared them successfully with her own. This was only what the keepers expected. But when they placed the young ones together again, and compared the collie's family with the wolf's family, they were surprised to find that the four which had been nurtured by the collie were stronger and better animals than their four brothers and sisters. The best explanation of this result is that the collie was living a healthy natural life, while the wolf, though to all appearance quite well, was not enjoying the full vigor which results from a free and active life.

Why did the dog have greater success raising the wolf pups than the wolf pups' mother?

Possible Answers:

Because the wolf was too aggressive and food was too scarce to provide a healthy childhood for eight pups.

Because the dog was happy and in her natural environment, whereas the captive wolf was hindered by her captivity.

Because the dog had experience raising puppies before, whereas the wolf had never had pups before was totally inexperienced.

Because the dog was helped by the zookeepers and the wolf was left to fend for herself as if she were in the wild.

Because the wolf was sickly and dying and the dog was full of the vigor of life.

Correct answer:

Because the dog was happy and in her natural environment, whereas the captive wolf was hindered by her captivity.

Explanation:

This is another question that relates to the overall argument of the passage. Here, the author is providing anecdotal evidence to support the passage's overall point that animals suffer in perhaps unexpected ways in captivity. In context, the author says, “[the zookeepers] were surprised to find that the four [wolf pups] which had been nurtured by the collie were stronger and better animals than their four brothers and sisters. The best explanation of this result is that the collie was living a healthy natural life, while the wolf, though to all appearance quite well, was not enjoying the full vigor which results from a free and active life.” So, the collie raised healthier puppies because she was living her natural life (being a dog, and genetically accustomed to captivity) whereas the wolf mother raised less healthy puppies because she herself was suffering from the effects of captivity.

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