Sample IELTS Writing Task 2 Cause/Effect/Solution Essay
Written by John McGrath – IELTS Trainers Australia
“In some countries, young people have little leisure time and are under a lot of pressure to work hard on their studies.”
What do you think are the causes of this?
What solutions can you suggest?”
Particularly students in Asian countries are required to spend vast amounts of time either attending classes or in preparing for them. The causes can be attributed to the Education system, the expectations of parents and to the attitudes of students themselves. Solutions range from decreasing the number of subjects in the curriculum, focusing less on exams and more on group learning, to having parents and students develop a greater awareness of the need to spend time away from studying.
The Education System is often seen as a major contributor to the problem. The emphasis on schools achieving ever better exam results restricts creativity and initiative, as well as preventing change. Too often school administrators and teachers are judged by their students’ performance in exams, rather than on such less-easily assessed measures as student satisfaction, happiness or even their ability to ultimately find paid employment. If the System were to adopt different values in defining success, then schools might behave very differently.
Parents play a significant role in this problem. As families move to try to escape from the modern rural poverty, parents often place great emphasis and make a considerable financial sacrifice on educating their children in the hope that they will take them out of the poverty trap. In many parts of Asia parents still overly-influence their children in their choice of university course and in potential careers. This has resulted in considerable ‘over-supply’ in those courses perceived as leading to good incomes, particularly in banking and financial services. Parents do need to be much more aware of the interests and talents of their children in planning study paths.
Too often students themselves contribute to the problem by being overly-competitive and unduly scared of being seen as a failure. This self-induced pressure is perhaps the most difficult to change as students are unwilling to disappoint their families and are often convinced that failure to reach the top academically means a life of poverty and worthlessness. If students could be shown that there are many other ways to judge the worth of people, such as creativity, leadership, inspiration, honesty and integrity, then the over-emphasis on success in examinations might diminish.
To conclude, many people in Asia particularly are concerned that the lives of their children are being consumed by the perceived need for constant work and study. Educational administrators, parents and students all contribute to the problem, though few see ways to change it. Possible solutions involve changing the system itself to a less exam-centred curriculum, convincing parents that the work force is over-crowded with unemployed graduates, and helping students to take the pressure off themselves by identifying other criteria of success. With these measures, the lives of children might change dramatically over time.