Hypothesis questions occur on different parts of the ACT Science Test. You are going to see some ACT Science questions that ask about hypotheses on the Research Summaries passages, but hypothesis questions can also appear in Data Interpretation passages. You may be asked to compare hypotheses as well.
When confronted with a hypothesis question, make sure to always examine the point of view of the scientist or author. Ask yourself whether the data supports their conclusions, or not. You may be asked to weaken or strengthen hypotheses individually, or you may be asked to compare more than one hypothesis.
To compare them, understand the premise behind the experiments in order to know whether the results will weaken a conclusion. Try to identify the purpose, method, and results for each experiment first to get better scores on hypotheses questions.
Unless you know the purpose, method, and results and can step into the scientists’ perspectives you will have a difficult time understanding the hypotheses. Once you have figured out the scientist’s perspective, write down some notes so you won’t forget as you move on to the next scientist’s point of view. This can save valuable time and help prevent you from re-reading the same information over and over again.
Astronomers observing a nearby galaxy have measured the position of the “turnoff” in a 25 globular clusters. If the turnoff occurs at the same spectral class in different globular clusters, those clusters must be of approximately the same age. Furthermore, if most of the clusters in a galaxy are of similar ages, the galaxy itself may be of that age. The figure shows the number of clusters with turnoffs in each spectral class.
Do the figure supports the hypothesis that most of the globular clusters in the galaxy in figure are of similar ages?
This is a question asking to understand and compare hypotheses because of the phrase "support the hypothesis". The data you have to focus on is the ages of the globular clusters in the figure. The figure shows that most of the clusters, 20 out of 25, have turnoffs in the same spectral class (G). The passage states that if the turnoffs in different clusters are in similar locations, the clusters are of similar ages. Thus, these 20 clusters are similar in age. The answer is C.