HSPT Reading : Authorial Purpose in Contemporary Life Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HSPT Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #51 : 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 specifically mentions the Los Angeles Zoo in order to __________.

Possible Answers:

give a concrete example of how zoos have changed

dismiss its educational programs as unnecessary

condemn the way it transformed itself in the twentieth century

contrast it with other zoos in the country

show it as an outlier amongst zoos

Correct answer:

give a concrete example of how zoos have changed


The story of the Los Angeles Zoo takes up about half of the passage, indicating its importance to the author's point. Additionally, the Los Angeles Zoo provides specific examples of the kinds of changes zoos underwent.

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