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LearnEnglish Professionals - IELTS
IELTS academic writing
Lesson 1a
Lesson 1b
Lesson 2a
Lesson 2b
Lesson 3a
Lesson 3b
Lesson 4a
Lesson 4b
Lesson 5a
Lesson 5b
Download Lesson 1 as a pdf file
IELTS WRITING TASK 2: PROBLEM AND SOLUTION
LESSON 1 continued

Activity 8 > Brainstorming ideas (1) > 5 minutes

In Part 2 of the IELTS test you may be asked to write a composition discussing the causes of a problem and suggesting possible solutions. Here’s an example:

Present a written argument or case to an educated reader with no special knowledge of the following topic.

Overfishing of the world’s oceans threatens many species with extinction and is putting the livelihood of millions of people around the world at risk. What are the causes of this problem and what can be done to prevent it from happening?

You should use your own ideas, knowledge and experience and support your arguments with examples and relevant evidence.

Before you begin writing, spend a few minutes to think of ideas related to the topic. At this stage, don’t worry too much about how you’re going to express or organise these ideas - just ‘brainstorm’ the topic and jot down notes.

Spend 3 minutes brainstorming ideas for the example question above. Use these headings:

Causes of overfishing           Ways to prevent overfishing

Activity 9 > brainstorming ideas (2) > 5 minutes

Click here to see some ideas we’ve ‘brainstormed’ for the composition. Put each idea under the appropriate heading.

Activity 10 > Expressing cause and effect (1) > 10 minutes

If you are asked to discuss a problem and possible solutions in Task 2, you will need to be able to outline the causes of the problem and show what effects these have.  Here are some useful expressions for doing this.

....................
RESULT
      (IS)         
due to
owing to
because of
caused by
brought about by
on account of
as a result of
                   
CAUSE

CAUSE
results in
causes
gives rise to
leads to
brings about
accounts for
RESULT

Click to choose the best expression to complete the gap in these sentences.  Each describes a cause and effect relationship.

Activity 11 > Expressing cause and effect (2) > 5 minutes

Now let’s see how these expressions can be used in our composition about the overfishing of the world’s oceans. Click to complete the paragraph by using appropriate phrases from activity 9.

Activity 12 > Suggesting solutions > 10 minutes

Once you have discussed the causes of the problem, you are ready to put forward your suggestions for possible solutions. For every suggestion you make, you need to back up your argument by explaining how this idea will help.  Again, there are useful words and phrases for you to do this.

Click to match each of these phrases with the verb form which follows it.  The phrases are used to show the purpose or reason for doing something.

Now click to complete this paragraph by typing in the words and phrases from the previous exercise.

Activity 13 > Example Task 2

Here’s another example of a task 2 question requiring a ‘problem and solution’ approach.  Spend five minutes brainstorming the question, and then write your composition, using language we have looked at during this lesson.

Present a written argument or case to an educated reader with no special knowledge of the following topic.

The numbers of indigenous peoples living traditional lives in the world’s rainforests are becoming fewer and fewer. Within a few decades the last of these indigenous tribes may have disappeared forever. What are the causes of this problem and what can be done to prevent it from happening?

You should use your own ideas, knowledge and experience and support your arguments with examples and relevant evidence.

Lesson Review

In this lesson you have:

learnt about the different kinds of writing you may be asked to do in the test
practised reading and understanding tables
looked at different ways of expressing numbers
practised ‘brainstorming ideas’ for compositions
revised language for expressing purpose, cause and effect
looked at ways of writing ‘problem and solution’ type compositions

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