Reading Tips Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

Cause and effect relationships are an essential element of many academic texts. Understanding these relationships will help you to answer reading questions and also help you to write academic essays in which you have to give causes and effects.

Cause and effect are often presented in the same sentence. Either the cause or the effect can be at the beginning of the sentence so you have to look for clues in the vocabulary which the writer uses. These clues help you to understand the text effectively.

​Exercise 1

​The following sentences have both cause and effect in the same sentence. Match the cause and effect to the sentence parts a) and b).
Example | Which part of the sentence is cause and which is effect?

  1. a) Countless lives have been saved b) through UN funded vaccination programs worldwide.

View the Answer

  1. Countless lives have been saved through UN funded vaccination programs worldwide.

The effect is a) ‘Countless lives have been saved…’ 
​The cause is b) 
‘…through UN funded vaccination programs worldwide’ 

Which is cause and Which is Effect?

1. a) Countless lives have been saved b) through UN funded vaccination programs worldwide.
a) b)
2. a) The university’s policy toward disabled students b) produced benefits for the population both at university and in the wider community.
a) b)
3. a) The relationship between government and small business owners has improved markedly, b) owing to the twice annual small business owners and government forum in which business owners can voice their concerns and ideas.
a) b)
4. a) As a consequence of the reintroduction program, b) golden eagles can now be found in northern parts of the country.
a) b)
5. a) A significant impact has been made on our understanding of sub-atomic particles b) by the work done at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland.
a) b)

6. a) The farming of cereal crops such as wheat and barley is undergoing constant change b) as a result of improved herbicides and pesticides and the increasing use of GMO types of crops.
a) b)
7. a) Unfortunately, many houses have lost electricity b) because of the storm that effected the area overnight.
a) b)
8. a)Recent changes in the price of construction materials b) has had an important impact on the price of new houses.
a) b)
9. a) Increases in airport tax in Europe in recent years b) has led to some airline companies canceling flights into Europe.
a) b)
10. a) The problems in the business sector b) were triggered by a lack of trust between investors and the government.
a) b)

Exercise 2

Read the following text and complete the flow chart with the appropriate word or words from the text.

Ancient Egyptian Contributions to Science


Click or touch a word above
1. The Importance of land surveying led to advances in .
2. Advances in mathematics resulted in better building techniques for buildings.
3. It also allowed for the pharaoh’s scribes to calculate how much was held in his granaries.
4. This allowed for an assessment of how many people could be in times of need.
5. An impressive result of these advances was the construction of the which required the use of many skills.

Now you have the skills to notice cause and effect in text, the next step is to accurately write about cause and effect.

Have a look at our other free Reading Lessons.