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IELTS causes and solutions essay - band 9 guide
In this lesson you will learn how to write a high-scoring causes & solutions essay in IELTS Writing. As an example, the model essay will be about loss of bio-diversity. Basically, causes & solutions essay is one of the most common question types in IELTS writing task 2. This question asks you to describe causes and propose solutions for a given problem.
In this lesson you will see:
- question sample + model answer
- band 9 answer structure for causes & solutions essay
- effective strategies to produce ideas for your answer
IELTS problems & solutions question sample
For example, this is the question you’ve got for IELTS writing task 2:
Of course, the topics for causes & solutions essay may vary, but the answering strategy is pretty much the same for all essays of causes/solutions type.
As you know, it’s recommended to spend about 40 minutes on IELTS Writing task 2. But before starting to write your essay, it’s a good idea to dedicate 2-4 minutes to producing some ideas for your essay. This way you’ll know what to write about and your essay will be more structured.
To produce ideas for causes and solutions essay, you have to determine 3 things:
- Causes of this problem
- Solutions to this problem
The problem is already given: loss of bio-diversity (in other words, some animals and plants are dying out).
Now let’s think about its causes and solutions. Don’t be afraid of simple ideas! Remember: getting a high score means writing simple things well. Here are some ideas that may come to your mind:
- change of the natural habitats
When humans artificially transform the environment (build roads, houses etc.), they destroy animals’ natural habitat.
Pollution negatively changes the flow of energy, the chemical constitution of the environment and the climate in general, so a lot of species cannot live under such conditions and die out.
- overexploitation of resources
When the activities connected with capturing and harvesting a natural resource are too intense in a particular area, the resource becomes exhausted. Example: too intense farming exhausts the soil; too frequent fishing, which doesn’t leave enough time for fish to reproduce, makes fish disappear.
After you’ve though of the possible causes, you can use them in your writing. You can invent more reasons of this problem, but usually, it’s enough to give 1-2 causes in your writing.
- protect areas
- promote awareness
Informing the general population about the disadvantages of loss of biodiversity will encourage people to be more conscious of the environment.
Protecting areas where human activity is limited and avoiding overexploitation of resources are the best ways to save the environment and prevent species from dying out.
1-2 solutions are enough for a good essay. Now, after we’ve collected some ideas, it’s time to structure our thoughts into an essay.
Band 9 answer structure for causes & solutions essay
There may be many possible answering strategies, but we’ll use this good and time-tested essay structure:
- Body paragraph 1 – causes
- Body paragraph 2 – solutions
Write the introduction in 2 sentences:
- Sentence 1 - paraphrase the question (restate the problem):
- Sentence 2 - tell the examiner what you’re going to describe in your essay:
Body paragraph 1 - causes
- Sentence 1 - state 2 main causes:
- Sentences 2-4 - explain the first cause + give an example:
- Sentences 5-7 - explain the second cause + give an example:
- The last sentence - give a short summary (if needed)
Body paragraph 2 - solutions
- Sentence 1 - give 1-2 possible solutions
- Sentences 2-4 - explain how each of the solutions solves the problem (you may give an example if you wish)
- Sentence 1 - restate the causes of the problem
- Sentence 2 - remind the reader of possible solutions
Model essay for IELTS Writing causes/solutions question
The model band-9 essay for this question will look as follows:
Despite knowing about biodiversity’s importance for a long time, human activity has been causing massive extinctions of different species. This essay will examine the main causes of loss of biodiversity and possible solutions of this problem.
The two main causes of species extinction are change of their habitats and overexploitation of natural resources. When humans artificially transform the environment, they destroy vegetation and animals’ natural habitat. For instance, to build new roads people are cutting down the trees and cementing the soil, altering the environment. Because of that, a lot of species are dying out. Also, when the activities connected with capturing and harvesting a natural resource are too intense in a particular area, the resource becomes exhausted. For example, too frequent fishing doesn’t leave enough time for fish to reproduce and makes them disappear. In other words, human activities often deplete local flora and fauna and cause loss of bio-diversity.
Some possible solutions to this problem are protecting natural areas and promoting awareness among people. By protecting areas where human activity is limited and avoiding overexploitation of its resources, we can save the untouched environment and prevent species from dying out. Moreover, the next step in fighting bio-diversity loss is informing the general population about the dangers of this problem. This way, people will be more conscious of the environment and won’t overuse or destroy its resources.
To conclude, people’s activities that change the environment have negative impact on the world's ecosystem. However, we can significantly lessen the extinction of species by protecting natural areas and enlightening people as to this problem.
What is a Cause and Effect Essay?
A cause and effect essay is the type of paper that author is using to analyze the causes and effects of a particular action or event. A curriculum usually includes this type of exercise to test your ability to understand the logic of certain events or actions.
If you can see the logic behind cause and effect in the world around you, you will encounter fewer problems when writing. If not, writing this kind of paper will give you the chance to improve your skillset and your brain’s ability to reason.
“Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
In this article, we’ll find out how to create an outline for your cause and effect essay – the key to successful essay writing.
Types of the Cause and Effect Essay
Before writing this kind of essay, you need to draft the structure. A good structure will result in a good paper, so it’s important to have a plan before you start. But remember, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel: just about every type of structure has already been formulated by someone.
If you are still unsure about the definition of the essay, find that out with our guide: What is an Essay?
Generally speaking, there are three types of cause and effect essays. We usually differentiate them by the number of and relationships between the causes and the effects. Let’s take a quick look at the various kinds:
Many causes, one effect
This kind of essay illustrates how different causes can lead to one effect. The idea here is to try and examine a variety of causes, preferably ones that come from different fields, and prove how they contributed to a particular effect. If you are writing about World War I, for example, mention the political, cultural, and historic factors that led to the great war.
By examining a range of fundamental causes, you will be able to demonstrate your mastery of the topic.
Here is how to structure this type of essay:
- Cause #1
- Cause #2
- Cause #3 (and so on…)
- The effect of the causes
One cause, many effects
This type of cause and effect essay is constructed to show the various effects of a particular event, problem, or decision. Once again, you will have to demonstrate your comprehensive knowledge and analytical mastery of the field. There is no need to persuade the reader or present your argument. When writing this kind of essay, an in-depth knowledge of the problem or event’s roots will be of great benefit. If you know why it happened, it will be much easier to write about the effects.
Here is the structure for this kind of essay:
- The Cause
- Effect #1
- Effect #2
- Effect #3 (and so on…)
Chain of causes and effects
This is the most challenging type. You need to maintain a chain of logic that demonstrates a sequence of actions and consequences, leading to the end of the chain. Although this is usually the most interesting kind of cause and effect essay, it can also be the most difficult to write.
Here is the outline structure:
- Cause #1
- Effect #1 = Cause #2
- Effect #2 = Cause #3
- Effect #3 = Cause #4 (and so on…)
Cause and Effect Essay Outline Example
Let’s take a look at an example. Below, you will find an outline for the topic “The causes of obesity” (Type 1):
- Introduction: Nowadays, people are overweight because of their increasing consumption of unhealthy food, a lack of physical activity, and their refusal to work with fitness trainers.
- People are eating a lot of unhealthy food that is cheap, easy-to-consume and contains a lot of calories. (Include statistics: how many people regularly consume unhealthy food.)
- People don’t move enough. Causes: inactive jobs, laziness, and not enough information about the consequences.
- People don’t want to visit a specialist. If they did, they would be informed about the causes of obesity and offered a plan to solve the problem.
- Effect: Until those problems are solved, people will become more and more obese. (Include a prognosis about obesity rates over the next decade.)
- Conclusion: Junk food, a lack of physical activity, and a refusal to visit a doctor are the three leading causes of obesity. We hope that the situation will change. (Include some examples of what each person can do about the problem)
As you can see, we used a blended strategy here. When writing about the ever-increasing consumption of unhealthy food, it is logical to talk about the marketing strategies that encourage people to buy fast foods. If you are discussing fitness trainers, it is important to mention that people need to be checked by a doctor more often, etc.
How do I start writing once I have drafted the structure?
If you start by structuring each paragraph and collecting suitable examples, the writing process will be much simpler. The final essay might not come up as a classic five paragraph essay – it all depends on the cause-effect chain and the number of statements of your essay.
In the Introduction, try to give the reader a general idea of what the cause and effect essay will contain. For an experienced reader, a thesis statement will be an indication that you know what you are writing about. It is also important to emphasize how and why this problem is relevant to modern life. If you ever need to write about the Caribbean crisis, for instance, state that the effects of the Cold War are still apparent in contemporary global politics.
In the Body, provide plenty of details about what causes led to the effects. Once again, if you have already assembled all the causes and effects with their relevant examples when writing your plan, you shouldn’t have any problems. But, there are some things to which you must pay particular attention. To begin with, try to make each paragraph the same length: it looks better visually. Then, try to avoid weak or unconvincing causes. This is a common mistake, and the reader will quickly realize that you are just trying to write enough characters to reach the required word count.
Moreover, you need to make sure that your causes are actually linked to their effects. This is particularly important when you write a “chained” cause and effect essay (type 3). You need to be able to demonstrate that each cause was actually relevant to the final result. As I mentioned before, writing the Body without preparing a thorough and logical outline is often an omission.
The Conclusion must be a summary of the thesis statement that you proposed in the Introduction. An effective Conclusion means that you have a well-developed understanding of the subject. Writing the Conclusion can be one of the most challenging parts of this kind of project. You typically write the Conclusion once you have finished the Body, but in practice, you will sometimes find that a well-written conclusion will reveal a few mistakes of logic in the Body!
Cause and Effect Essay Sample
Be sure to check the sample essay, completed by our writers. Use it as an example to write your own cause and effect essay. Link: cause and effect essay sample: advertising ethic issues.
Tips and Common Mistakes from Our Expert Writers