HSPT Reading : How to find the implied characteristics of a passage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HSPT Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : How To Find The Implied Characteristics Of A Passage

After sixteen years of immature decisions, Jeremiah finally decided to make decisions that would actually set him on a positive path for his future.  

Which of the following is implied by this sentence?

Possible Answers:

Jeremiah had many difficulties to face before improving his lot.

Jeremiah nearly destroyed his life.

Jeremiah's future was likely to be very successful.

Jeremiah was in utter despair after sixteen years of bad decisions. 

Jeremiah began to make mature decisions.

Correct answer:

Jeremiah began to make mature decisions.

Explanation:

This sentence implies that although for some years Jeremiah made immature decisions, he changed his life's course and decided to make mature decisions. (This is almost directly implied by the notion of being "set on a positive path");  however, do not imply anything additional to that, as many of the other options do.

Example Question #2 : How To Find The Implied Characteristics Of A Passage

Three years ago, the lake was in far worse condition. This year, its water is finally potable, much to the surprise of the locals, who even until last year thought it would never improve. 

Which of the following statements is implied by the sentences above?

Possible Answers:

Three years ago, the lake was filled with trash.

Three years ago, the lake the lake was filled with flesh-eating bacteria.

Three years ago, the lake could not support any life at all.

Three years ago, the lake could not support any animal life, though perhaps some plants could live there.

Three years ago, the lake's water was not drinkable.

Correct answer:

Three years ago, the lake's water was not drinkable.

Explanation:

First of all, note that the word "potable" means "safe to drink." Thus, this year the water was safe to drink—much to the surpise of the locals. The implication is that even last year, the lake's water was not safe to drink; however, we cannot say anything else. Even if it was not safe to drink, it might have been host to a number of animals and plants. Likewise, we know nothing about whether or not it was filled with garbage or not.

Example Question #3 : How To Find The Implied Characteristics Of A Passage

When she was young, Suzanna watched her grandparents live in dire poverty and decided that she would take every step to avoid such living conditions. Only when she was near death and was reviewing her life, she realized how much she overlooked in her desire to better her station in life.

Which of the following is implied by the sentences?

Possible Answers:

Suzanna was very greedy and selfish in her outlook.

Suzanna was a terrible mother, given her obsession with avoiding poverty.

Suzanna subordinated many things in her life to her desire to avoid poverty.

Suzanna never retired out of fear of poverty.

Suzanna had no family life because of her devotion to work.

Correct answer:

Suzanna subordinated many things in her life to her desire to avoid poverty.

Explanation:

The passage implies that when Suzanna was able to look back over her whole life she could see that she had "missed out" on many aspects that were not directly related to making money and avoiding the poverty that she saw in her grandparents' lives. We cannot say exactly what she overlooked, as the passage does not indicate any specific details. Likewise, we cannot say that she was greedy or anything of the like. (Many people can be focussed on avoiding poverty without being greedy). Thus, the best answer is, "Suzanna subordinated many things in her life to her desire to avoid poverty."

Example Question #4 : How To Find The Implied Characteristics Of A Passage

There could never be much more of a study in contrasts than that between Matthew and Gina, two siblings who were like two opposed elements. My goodness, Gina was quite the free spirit, never settling down in one place but always following after this or that passing dream!

Which of the following is implied by the sentences?

Possible Answers:

Gina never attended college.

Matthew's personality likely is rather stolid.

Gina would likely never amount to anything.

Gina was impoverished because of her poor life choices.

Matthew had a happy family life.

Correct answer:

Matthew's personality likely is rather stolid.

Explanation:

Clearly, these sentences intend to convey the fact that Gina and Matthew have opposite personality types. In contrast to the free-spirited Gina, Matthew must have a very "down to earth" and stable personality. Here a little vocabulary helps. The word "stolid" means "dependable" but also "unemotional" or at least "showing little in the way of emotion." Among the options, "Matthew's personality likely is rather stolid," is the best answer. Regarding other details about their lives, we must be careful not to infer too much.

Example Question #5 : How To Find The Implied Characteristics Of A Passage

Things had been very difficult in Poland during Maria’s childhood. From the time she was a very young lady, she wanted more than anything else to attend university to study philosophy; however, her family’s poverty led her to many years of hard working. After years of slaving in the mines, Maria decided that she would follow her dreams.

Which of the following can be inferred from this paragraph?

Possible Answers:

Maria began to make plans to go to the university to study philosophy.

Maria decided to go back to school to further her education.

Maria had made enough money to leave the mines.

Maria is now studying philosophy with great joy.

Maria's health had become too poor to work in the mines any longer.

Correct answer:

Maria began to make plans to go to the university to study philosophy.

Explanation:

The passage implies that Maria had "made up her mind" to leave the mines to follow her dreams. Note that we cannot yet state if she had started her studies. Likewise, although it might be tempting to say that she merely "went back to school," this really is not all that implied by the passage. Clearly, the paragraph intends to express that she has decided to go back to school to study philosophy. This is a safe assumption, given the details. Likewise, we cannot say anything about how much money she had made in the mines. She might have left the hard work because she was now well-placed financially; however, she might have decided to leave because she was tired of the hard labor.

Example Question #6 : How To Find The Implied Characteristics Of A Passage

Throughout the course of history, trends often occur in pairs, one cancelling out the excesses of the one that preceded it. For instance, after many years of dictatorship, a nation can find itself only worried about securing the maximum amount of freedom for its citizens. Things had been going very well for Paul for a number of years, and he had become quite wealthy and satisfied that he would forever rest in his wealth; however, he should have been aware that the winds of fate do change rapidly.

Which of the following can be inferred from the paragraph?

Possible Answers:

Paul should be aware that his wealth might suddenly be lost.

Paul will be wealthy in spite of hard circumstances.

Paul will soon forget about his wealth and focus on humanitarian pursuits.

Paul will realize his greed and repent.

Paul will realize that he acquired his wealth by oppression and will decide to distribute it all to the poor.

Correct answer:

Paul should be aware that his wealth might suddenly be lost.

Explanation:

The opening sentence of this paragraph sets up the general motif that is being explained—about the "back and forth" of history that leads one change to happen in an opposite manner to the state of affairs before that change. The example of the dictatorship vs. quasi-libertarian state is supposed to provide an image of such change. Then, describing Paul's life, the paragraph remarks that he was wealthy. The paragraph closes by clearly (and ominously) relating Paul's life to the general "back and forth" of history; therefore, the implication is that Paul should be concerned that he will lose his wealth.

(Note that we cannot say anything about Paul's character, so any of the answers related there to go beyond what can be implied from the passage).

Example Question #7 : How To Find The Implied Characteristics Of A Passage

There are a number of psychological “tools” that we often use to hide our depression from ourselves. For instance, some people take up exercise routines that are very harsh and others eat a lot more than normal. Recently Amber noticed that Wendy was obsessively practicing the piano, far more than she ever had in the past. This fact worried Amber.

Which of the following can be inferred from the paragraph?

Possible Answers:

Wendy has a recital next week and is not making adequate progress.

Amber is concerned that Wendy is depressed.

Wendy's whole family suffers from depression.

Wendy has never been depressed before.

Amber is concerned that Wendy is not spending enough time outdoors.

Correct answer:

Amber is concerned that Wendy is depressed.

Explanation:

The paragraph opens by giving us some information regarding the ways that we can hide the fact that we are depressed. Overactivity and overeating are cited as examples of the means by which we can distract ourselves from sadness. Amber is said to be worried about Wendy because of the latter's new habit of practicing the piano far more than is normal. Based on what this paragraph states, we can imply that Amber is concerned that Wendy is depressed, using piano practice as a "psychological relief valve" for her depression. We cannot say anything else, however.

Example Question #8 : How To Find The Implied Characteristics Of A Passage

People who grow up in rural and semi-rural areas often have trouble understanding the travel habits of people who live in cities. In these less densely populated areas, most people must own vehicles in order to travel, and almost any trip requires transportation to travel to a desired location. In the city, however, it is quite a different matter.

Which of the following is the best conclusion to this paragraph?

Possible Answers:

The city streets are often filled with pedestrians who almost always make driving much less efficient.

City dwellers are often unable to drive because of the great poverty that is created by the high costs of living in cities.

Many city dwellers are able to travel by foot with great ease and often do not even own a car.

The roads in the cities are far more complex than those in the countryside, having many more one way streets, lights, and crosswalks than one would ever find in the rolling hills.

It is very difficult to drive in a city because of the smog and traffic, which just are not found in the clean air of the rural countryside.

Correct answer:

Many city dwellers are able to travel by foot with great ease and often do not even own a car.

Explanation:

The key sentence in the selection is: "In these less densely populated areas, most people must own vehicles in order to travel, and almost any trip requires transportation to travel to a desired location."  After this, the "However . . ." is meant to set up a contrast. The best contrast is the one that focuses on vehicle ownership and the need to use a vehicle to travel almost anywhere. In contrast to this, the best option is, "Many city dwellers are able to travel by foot with great ease and often do not even own a car."

Example Question #9 : How To Find The Implied Characteristics Of A Passage

Music is an extremely interesting subject. It involves a number of interesting cultural questions and shows a great variety in many different regions and historical settings. It is also a very abstract form of art—in many ways far more abstract than painting. Even the most abstract of painting requires physical paint on a canvas. Without that, there is no painting. An empty frame is just that—an empty frame, not a painting.

Which of the following is the best conclusion to this paragraph.

Possible Answers:

Like all forms of art, music has its own particular worth, which is not the same as the strokes of a brush on canvas or the motions of the dancer. This does not mean that it is without meaning but only that it is different and unique.

Music, however, looks quite strange on paper, not at all looking like a picture or painting.

In contrast, music does not necessarily require paint but can be represented with many kinds of ink and graphite.

Music, on the other hand, is not even "in" the piece of music that is written down. It only exists when it is actually played. It never can be completely "grasped" and "held in place."

In contrast, music is audible, using a completely different kind of sensation than that which is used in painting.

Correct answer:

Music, on the other hand, is not even "in" the piece of music that is written down. It only exists when it is actually played. It never can be completely "grasped" and "held in place."

Explanation:

The best conclusion to this paragraph is one that expresses how abstract music is in comparison with painting. The paragraph clearly wants to say that painting is concrete and physical. We have to "see" it on a canvas for it to be a real painting. In contrast, we can't really "grasp onto" music in any way that is quite as immediate as the case of the painting. The correct answer expresses this—it isn't really written down; it only exists in being played and really cannot be grasped "all together" like a painting.

Example Question #10 : How To Find The Implied Characteristics Of A Passage

Cyprian, the brilliant cathedral organist, decided that it was time to add several extra-low-pitched pipe sets to the organ. After discussing the matter with the bishop and the finance council, he began the arduous process of fundraising, which he greatly disliked. Not having many options, he decided to call on a number of the regular patrons from the city symphony's donor list. To his frustration, these donors, who had given much money to support the symphony's performances and physical needs, found little justification for the update.

The organ already had a set of sixty-four-foot pipes, which were so low in pitch that they could be felt more than heard. The idea of purchasing several ranks of pipes that were double this length seemed ludicrous not only from the perspective of size but likewise from the perspective of considering potential damage that could be caused by the rumbling that they would produce. The donors could not justify this kind of large fundraising effort only to purchase something that would likely damage the cathedral and add little to no value to the experience of organ concerts offered at the cathedral. After such a disappointing response, Cyprian was not certain that he would be able to expend the additional efforts necessary to convince any other potential donors of the importance of purchasing the new pipes.

What can be inferred that Cyprian will likely do after getting this response from the donors?

Possible Answers:

He will likely not attempt to raise the money any longer.

He will continue attempting to raise money until every pipe is installed.

He will throw a tirade to the bishop, refusing to play the organ any longer because of his frustration.

In revenge, he will no longer attend the local symphony.

He will continue to devote his life to music, though he will be embittered and nasty towards the donors because of their defection.

Correct answer:

He will likely not attempt to raise the money any longer.

Explanation:

There are two key setences to bear in mind:

(1) "Not having many options, he decided to call on a number of the regular patrons from the city symphony's donor list."

This sentence tells us that Cyprian had few options regarding donors. Therefore, we can infer that calling on the regular patrons might indeed be his only option.

(2) "After such a disappointing response, Cyprian was not certain that he would be able to expend the additional efforts necessary to convince any other potential donors of the importance of purchasing the new pipes."

This sentence implies that he might not expend the effort to look for any more donors. While we cannot be certain whether or not he will give up, this is the only acceptable option among those provided. It is less likely that he will keep fundraising "to the last pipe," and the other options are not implied at all.

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