How to answer cause and effect questions

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Cause-and-effect questions are different because they are easier to miss-read.

What is actually a cause-and-effect question can be answered incorrectly as a problems-and-effects or a problem-and-solution.

However, this can be easily solved by carefully reviewing the question.

What kinds of questions are cause-and-effect?

Firstly, the wording actually varies quite a bit even within this question type.

There is a variety of language that can be used, and this can cause confusion.

Spend some time to ask yourself:

  • Have I truly understood this question?
  • Do I understand what they are asking me for?

You have to make sure that you carry that question with you throughout the essay.

Sample question 1:

More and more children are becoming obese. What are the causes of this and what are the effects?

This could easily be interpreted as problem - solution, but that is absolutely not what the question has asked.

It's asking what are the causes for childhood obesity?

(Why are children in the world getting heavier and heavier?).

And then what are the effects of this?

What are the effects of childhood obesity?

This is even more specific than discuss this problem and then suggest solutions.

It is incredibly important to answer the question being asked.

Example question 2

Nowadays we have become a throwaway society with where it is common to throw away devices and gadgets instead of repairing them. Why is this happening and what are the effects of this?

Again the wording is a little different.

The examiner is asking you WHY is this happening?

Make sure to NOT writing this is a problem, we must say why it is happening.

And for the second paragraph:

What results from this (throw away society)?

Example question 3

People spend less time at home than they used to. What are the reasons for this change and what are the effects on society and individuals?

Here we are looking for reasons.

The wording has changed a little bit, but in essence, the information they want is the same.

Why is this happening?

What are the causes of this?

And then, of course, they asked for the effects.

You are lucky if you have this type of question in the exam

These types of questions are helpful because they are essentially telling you how to frame your answer.

They're making it specific, which is all your planning taken care of.

Click here to find out how to plan your essay for these types of questions.

Audio tutorial

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Tutorials and Tips to Prepare for Task 2