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An Ultimate Guide to Writing IELTS Problem Solution Essays

Janice Thompson

Updated On Nov 08, 2023

problem and solution essay topics ielts

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An Ultimate Guide to Writing IELTS Problem Solution Essays

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Introduction

The IELTS problem solution essays are a type of IELTS writing task 2 essay that asks you to discuss a problem and propose possible solutions. These problem solution essays are designed to assess your ability to identify, analyze, and evaluate problems, as well as your ability to develop and articulate effective solutions.

The IELTS problem solution essay topics can be drawn from a variety of sources and are based on real-world situations and issues. Therefore, to do well in writing task 2, it is important to be familiar with the range of IELTS problem solution essay topics.

Identifying IELTS Problem Solution Essays

Each essay type has a unique structure, so it’s important to identify the type of essay you’re writing before you start. Problem solution essays in IELTS are often worded as follows:

It is important to be able to identify the common synonyms, words, and phrases used in problem solution questions. Here are the key words and their synonyms used in the examples above:

  • Problem : issues, resulting, situation
  • Cause : reasons, why
  • Solution : deal with, addressed, tackled, remedied, improved, measures taken, solved, prevent

However, you will mostly be asked to write about both the problem and its solution. The first part of the question will state the problem or cause, and the second part will ask you to identify solutions.

How to Write a Problem Solution Essay IELTS?

To plan and write a problem solution essay IELTS, you can follow these steps:

  • Understand the question

The first step is to carefully read the question and understand what is being asked. You should identify the problem, the cause(s) of the problem, and the required solution(s).

  • Brainstorm your ideas

Once you understand the question, take some time to brainstorm your ideas. What are the different aspects of the problem? What are the possible causes? What are the different solutions that could be implemented?

  • Organize your ideas

Once you have a good understanding of the problem and its possible solutions, it is time to organize your ideas into a logical structure.

  • Write your essay

When writing your essay, be sure to use clear and concise language. Avoid using complex sentences and jargon. You should also support your claims with evidence from credible sources.

  • Proofread your essay

Once you have finished writing your essay, be sure to proofread it carefully for any errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

Now that we have understood how to write a problem solution essay, let’s have a look at the structure of a problem solution essay.

Enroll in our free  IELTS online coaching  today and learn how to identify and write problem solution essays like a champ!

Structure of Problem Solution Essay

Let’s do an example problem solution essay to understand the above mentioned structure.

Problem Solution Essay Example with Structure

Introduction:.

  • Before you begin writing your problem solution essay,  read  the question and  identify  the problem/ solution.
  • Note down the ideas that come to your mind naturally. For example, look at the table below.
  • Choose one of the  problems  and discuss it in detail. Here’s an example:
  • Problem : Dumping of industrial wastes into the nearby water bodies.
  • Solution : They must be treated, purified and recycled.
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Biodegradable products
  • Water bodies such as lakes, rivers etc

You should paraphrase the question and outline the problem and solution in your introduction as mentioned below:

Body Paragraph 1:

The body paragraph 1 must be organised as follows:

  • Main body paragraph 1:  Letting out of industrial wastes in nearby water bodies
  • Central idea:  Industries are increasing in number.
  • Explanation : There are no strict rules in place regarding the environment. So industries let out their wastes into the nearby water bodies such as lakes, rivers, etc which affects the respective eco-system and thereby leading to more serious issues.
  • Example : As installing a wastewater treatment plant is an additional burden and is costly, it is easier to let the waste water into the nearby water bodies as nobody questions this.

The completed main body paragraph 1 will look like this :

Body Paragraph 2:

The body paragraph 2 must be organised as follows:

  • Main body paragraph 2:  Industrial wastewater treatment
  • Central idea:  Installing Industrial waste water treatment plants could be beneficial to the environment.
  • Explanation : Industrial wastewater treatment illustrates the processes used for treating wastewater that is produced by industries into a by-product. The treated industrial wastewater may be reused or released to a sanitary sewer.
  • Examples:  There are proven records for reducing water pollution after wastewater treatment.

The completed main body paragraph 2 will look like this :

Conclusion:

  • Make sure to sum up all that has been in the previous paragraphs.
  • Use words like in summary, to summarise, to conclude, or as a conclusion, etc.

The final conclusion will look like this:

Therefore, the finished essay will have the following structure:

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Common Mistakes to Avoid in IELTS Problem Solution Essays

Following are some of the Common mistakes that should be avoided in IELTS problem solution essays

  • Not understanding the difference between a problem and its causes.
  • Trying to include too many ideas in the essay, without developing them fully.
  • Not considering both sides of the argument equally.
  • Not linking the problems to the solutions.
  • Not being specific enough in the discussion of the problems and solutions.

Read:  All Useful IELTS Writing Lessons & Websites

Tips for IELTS Problem Solution Essays

Here are some of the tips to follow while practicing or writing an IELTS Problem Solution Essays:

  • Read and understand the instructions given in the question (sometimes the question might ask to write about the cause of the issue as well).
  • Follow the word count (no less than 250 words)
  • Plan the problems and solutions you wish to write about, before starting to write.
  • Start the essay with an introduction paragraph and conclude it with a conclusion paragraph, with the body paragraph between the two.
  • If you’re asked to write about both, cause and the solution, then you can write the cause in one body paragraph and the solution in the next body paragraph.

Pro tip:  To avoid a low score in IELTS problem solution essays, focus on one or two problems and identify specific solutions. Explain the problems and solutions in detail, with examples.

Check out some of the  Recent Writing Task 2 Essay Topics for IELTS 2023

Problem Solution Essay IELTS Topics:

Here are some sample IELTS problem solution essay topics:

Get the inside scoop on how to write a high-scoring IELTS problem solution essay from our IELTS expert in our free webinar.  Book your Seat Now !

Also check :

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I write cause and solution in the same paragraph?

How to write a solution paragraph?

What is the difference between a Problem solution essay and a cause solution essay?

How do you analyze a problem solution essay?

How to identify a problem solution essay?

Practice IELTS Writing Task 2 based on Essay types

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Janice Thompson

Janice Thompson

Soon after graduating with a Master’s in Literature from Southern Arkansas University, she joined an institute as an English language trainer. She has had innumerous student interactions and has produced a couple of research papers on English language teaching. She soon found that non-native speakers struggled to meet the English language requirements set by foreign universities. It was when she decided to jump ship into IELTS training. From then on, she has been mentoring IELTS aspirants. She joined IELTSMaterial about a year ago, and her contributions have been exceptional. Her essay ideas and vocabulary have taken many students to a band 9.

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problem and solution essay topics ielts

Posted on Jan 5, 2024

indeed you are excellent\ every one must use them

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Thank you for appreciating us, you can get more help for IELTS Preparation, Unlock a FREE IELTS Expert-Led Session here and Get our e-books FREE

problem and solution essay topics ielts

Posted on Jul 8, 2021

I hope the sample questions will help me ace the exam!!! Thank you for the resources.

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Problem Solution Essay IELTS: Topics & Sample Questions

  • Updated On December 12, 2023
  • Published In IELTS Preparation 💻

Problem and solution essay IELTS or cause and solution essay IELTS is a common type of essay question asked in IELTS Writing Task 2 Exam. Herein, a problem is presented to the candidate and you are asked to suggest relevant, specific, and possible solutions regarding the same.

Table of Contents

You can either write about 2 problems with both their solutions or discuss one major problem and one solution. As long as you extend and explain your ideas, you will be able to communicate your thoughts to the examiner. Maintain a formal tone throughout your essay. In a problem and solution essay IELTS might ask the candidate to discuss any of the following:

  • Cause of the problem
  • Effect of a problem
  • Methods to prevent the problem
  • Possible and effective solutions to the problem

Problem Solution Essay IELTS

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Problem Solution Essay Question: Evaluation Factors

IELTS writing tests are evaluated across 4 main factors or areas when your IELTS band scores are calculated. These areas are:

  • Achievement of the task – The examiner notices here to what extent you have addressed all the parts of the task with explained and well-developed ideas.
  • Cohesion and Coherence – The logical flow and organization of your ideas and information, are examined here. The examiner notices whether the essay has a logical progression of thoughts.
  • Lexical Resource – The vocabulary used in the essay and its accuracy is examined here. You should use lexical items with sophistication.
  • Grammatical accuracy and range – Lastly, the examiner evaluates whether the candidate has used the grammatical structures accurately. Sentences with sophisticated clauses and a clear flow should be used.

Tips to Create an IELTS Problem Solution Essay Structure

While structuring the essay in your head, make sure to use a proper approach for these questions. The steps to structure the essays are:

Analyze the question thoroughly

Analyzing the question is a crucial part of answering any IELTS writing essay questions. You can analyze the question in the best way through three main things:

  • Keywords : These are the specific words that inform you about the general topic.
  • Micro Keywords : These keywords identify the parts of the general topic that the examiner wants you to focus on. They generally give an opinion by emphasizing a sub-category of the topic.
  • Action Words : Instruction words or action words make it clear for the candidates what the examiner wants them to do.

Think of Ideas

Now that the purpose of the question is clear to you, form a specific idea for the essay in your head. For each problem you think of, identify a direct solution for the same.

Follow the structure & write down the essay

Write down the essay by ensuring to follow a proper structure, including an introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The essay should include examples and discuss possible solutions.

Also Read: Latest 50+ IELTS Essay Topics in 2022

Problem Solution IELTS Essay Pattern

A basic four-paragraph structure should be used to structure the problem solution IELTS essays. The structure is as follows:

Paragraph 1 – Introduction

In the introduction paragraph, you can first paraphrase the statement part of the question and outline the ideas to be discussed in the essay further. Paraphrasing the questions means rephrasing the sentence without changing its meaning using synonyms. The outline sentence helps the examiner to understand what they can expect from the essay and thus ensure clarity. Cohesion and clarity play an important role in the scoring of the essay.

Paragraph 2 – Problems

In the second paragraph, state the problems you thought of and then explain the first problem and the second problem in the second half of the essay thoroughly.

Paragraph 3 – Solutions

In the third paragraph, list down the solutions to the problems listed above, the first solution with its examples, and then the second solution along with relevant examples that support the solution.

Paragraph 4 – Conclusion

In the conclusion paragraph, cover all the important points discussed in the above 3 paragraphs and end your essay.

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Problem Solution Essay IELTS: Topics & Sample Questions

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Problem Solution Essay IELTS: Topics & Sample Questions

Problem Solution Essay IELTS: Key Points to Remember

Some of the main points to remember while attempting the problem solution essay questions in IELTS are:

  • You have only 40 minutes to complete the essay writing task, and you have to write a minimum of 250 words.
  • Use linking words, collocations, and phrases to ensure a flow in the essay.
  • If you are using any facts or statistical data, make sure it is accurate and reliable.
  • Make sure that the introduction is clear and engaging. It helps the examiner to get a sense of what will be discussed in the essay further.
  • Use refined and accurate grammar and vocabulary, which will help the examiner understand your proficiency in the language.
  • Provide relevant examples to explain your content. An explanation of your opinions is the best way to ensure a higher IELTS score.
  • Identify the keywords and secondary keywords. Relate them with the problems and the solutions, and make sure to include the keywords in the content. 
  • Plan the problems you are going to discuss in your head and the possible solutions before writing them down.
  • The paragraphs should be ideally balanced by discussing the problems in one body paragraph and solutions in the second body paragraph.

Also Read: Updated List Vocabulary for IELTS 2022

Common Mistakes

Though problem solution essay IELTS is highly asked in the exam, there are some common mistakes that are made by the candidates. Some of these mistakes that a candidate can avoid while attempting these types of questions are:

  • Candidates often do not expand on their ideas and often list down a lot of problems and solutions. The examiners mark the essays on the basis of the explanation of the problems and solutions listed. It is usually advised to pick a problem or two along with their solutions and then explain them with relevant examples.
  • Another common mistake by the candidates is writing indirectly about solutions that are not directly related to the questions. You should opt for concrete ideas rather than writing a generalized answer. Identify the keywords and the micro-keywords from the question and try to include those in the topic.
  • Many people often list down good problems but fail to link them with the solutions. Each problem should have a directly linked solution that actually solves the problem.
  • Learn to identify the problem and solution and causes and solution questions as both of them might look similar but have a certain difference in how they are to be structured.
  • Avoid writing in absolute terms by using qualifiers which ensure that your sentences look like claims rather than proven facts.

Problem Solution Essay IELTS Sample Questions

There are many themes for the problem solution essay topics IELTS related to various problems. Some of the problem solution essay IELTS topics questions for your practice are as given below:

Theme 1 – Cities

  • Nowadays, it is getting difficult for people to enjoy their lives in cities. Why do you think this is? What can the government do to make life in cities more enjoyable?
  • In large cities, the issue of overpopulation has been a significant cause of concern which leads to a lack of jobs and traffic congestion. What is the cause of this? How can government help in solving this problem?
  • In many cities and urban areas around the world, crime is increasing. What is the cause of this? How can governments help to prevent the crimes?

Theme 2 – Technology & the internet

  • People from older generations face difficulty in using new technology. What is the cause behind this? What are some possible solutions to this problem?
  • A lot of children spend time on social media surfing the internet and playing video games which hurts their studies and grades and makes them experience loneliness and health problems such as obesity. What is the reason behind this? What can the parents do to prevent it?
  • The internet has changed the way information is consumed and shared among people. What are some serious issues a person can face associated with the internet, and what solutions can be implemented?

Theme 3 – Environment or Climate Change

  • Sea levels are steadily rising in recent years. What do you think is the reason behind this? How can it be fixed?
  • Many countries around the world are suffering from poor water and air quality, which is harmful to all of us, especially older people. What is the cause of this? How can it be solved?
  • Climate change and global warming is a serious threat the world is facing, which is reducing the average life expectancy. What are some causes of this? How can governments and healthcare sectors solve this problem?

IELTS Advantages & Disadvantage Essay Topics   

Foreign Language IELTS Sample Essay

A sample of the Problem Solution Essay Example Question IELTS for Writing Test 2 is given below for your reference:

As social media continue to develop, more and more youngsters have unsupervised access to all the contents available over the internet in order to meet and chat with friends and even strangers, which can lead to some potentially dangerous situations. What solutions can you suggest to deal with this problem?

IELTS Problem Solution Essay

In the modern era, a large number of young people use the internet to meet and talk with friends via social media. Due to social media and the growth of the internet in the 21st century, many children are facing issues related to their health and the expression of their feelings as a result of the lack of face-to-face interaction. This issue can be solved by opting for some measures.

To begin with, there are many people all over the world who use the internet for their work or education purposes. As a result, everyone uses it until late at night, which can lead to a variety of health issues, such as vision problems from constantly staring at computers or mobile phones and spinal curvatures from excessive sitting in front of computers and laptops. Secondly, due to the nature of online meetings and conversations, there is a lack of face-to-face interaction among people due to which youngsters are unable to express their feelings due to the loss of peer interaction.

Parents can help in resolving these issues by blocking the access of children to websites that are not children-friendly. In addition to that, parents can encourage children to go out and play instead of being on the internet all day in exchange for a surprise or more quality time. Social media companies can also contribute to the solution by restricting the access of children to the platforms on the basis of their age, which can protect them from content that is not suitable for them. For example, the social media platform Facebook recently updated its privacy policies to restrict access to children under the age of ten.

To summarize, young people use the internet to interact with various types of people online without any supervision, which gives them a sense of freedom and confidence in sending unethical messages to others. To stay out of it, parents should monitor their communication and provide suitable guidance and advice to their children.

Problem Solution Essay IELTS is a type of question that includes problems for which you have to find the solutions through a logical flow of thought. 40 minutes are given to complete the 250 words essay writing task. The structure of the essay for a problem-solving question includes an introduction, discussion of problems, possible solutions with examples, and a conclusion. 

The introduction has an overview of the essay. The main body paragraphs discuss the problems along with their direct solutions and examples. The conclusion paragraph summarizes your opinion on the task. You need to discuss the problems caused by the issues and the measures to reduce or eliminate the problem altogether.

You do not just need to state problems and solutions but also need to explain the thought process to reach that solution. Make sure the essay is readable and has a logical flow and cohesion.

You can practice for the Problem Solution Essay IELTS by writing on various topics or themes available on the internet ranging from the internet, cities, poverty, problems of rural areas or developing countries, lifestyle in developed countries, success, news, etc.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can i write the problem and solution both in one paragraph.

Ans. No, you can not write the problem and solution both in the same paragraph as this will affect the flow and understanding of the essay. The cause and the solution or the problems and the solution will both be discussed in two different paragraphs of the main body.

How can I identify a problem solution essay type?

Ans. In the problem solution essay questions, a topic is given, and you will have to discuss the issues or problems faced in regards to that particular topic. Often, these questions can also ask for your opinion on a particular issue.

What is the difference between a cause solution essay and a problem solution essay?  

Ans. Problem solution essay and cause solution essay are highly similar. However, there is a subtle difference between the two. A problem solution essay question asks about the problem with regards to a particular topic, whereas the cause solution essay asks about the causes behind an issue. The problem is to be mentioned in both the essays. However, in the cause solution essay, you should focus more on the cause of that particular statement.

How can I write a solution paragraph? 

Ans. First of all, for a solution paragraph, you need to develop ideas related to the given problem in your mind to check whether or not your ideas are directly relevant to the problem. After then, you have to decide how you will explain the solution to all the problems in a precise manner. After then, develop your solution with the help of a detailed explanation.

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IELTS Problem Solution Essays

Problem solution essays are a type of essay question sometimes given to you in the test. 

In this type of essay you need to discuss the problems with regards to a particular topic and then suggest possible solutions to these problems.

You can also watch a video of this lesson:

problem and solution essay topics ielts

One of the first things you want to make sure that you are able to do is identfy one of these questions when it arises. 

Here are some examples of this type of question.

Examples of Problem Solution Essay Questions:

Overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems.

Identify one or two serious ones and suggest ways that governments and individuals can tackle these problems.

Nowadays many people have access to computers on a wide basis and a large number of children play computer games.

What are the negative impacts of playing computer games and what can be done to minimize the bad effects?

The internet has transformed the way information is shared and consumed, but it has also created problems that did not exist before.

What are the most serious problems associated with the internet and what solutions can you suggest?

In the developed world, average life expectancy is increasing.

What problems will this cause for individuals and society?

Suggest some measures that could be taken to reduce the impact of ageing populations.

An important note. Some essays ask for  reasons  and solutions, not problems and solutions. Writing about a reason (or cause) is not the same as writing about a problem.

Check these  model essays  to see the difference.

IELTS Problem Solution Essay Example 

In order to understand these types of problem solution essays further and how to organize your writing, we'll look at a problem solution example essay:

Model Answer

The enormous growth in the use of the internet over the last decade has led to radical changes to the way that people consume and share information. Although serious problems have arisen as a result of this, there are solutions.

One of the first problems of the internet is the ease with which children can access potentially dangerous sites. For example, pornography sites are easily accessible to them because they can register with a site and claim to be an adult. There is no doubt that this affects their thoughts and development, which is a negative impact for the children and for society. Another major problem is the growth of online fraud and hacking. These days, there are constant news stories about government and company websites that have been hacked, resulting in sensitive information falling into the hands of criminals.

It is important that action is taken to combat these problems. Governments should ensure that adequate legislation and controls are in place that will prevent young people from accessing dangerous sites, such as requiring more than simply confirming that you are an adult to view a site. Parents also have a part to play. They need to closely monitor the activities of their children and restrict their access to certain sites, which can now be done through various computer programs. Companies must also improve their onsite IT security systems to make fraud and hacking much more difficult by undertaking thorough reviews of their current systems for weaknesses.

To conclude, the internet is an amazing technological innovation that has transformed people’s lives, but not without negative impacts. However, with the right action by individuals, governments and businesses, it can be made a safe place for everyone.

(285 words)

Writing about Problems

From the problem solution essay, look at the problems paragraph, and answer the following questions (then click on the link below to see the answers):

  • How many problems are discussed?
  • What are they?
  • What expressions are used to introduce the problems?
  • How are the problems illustrated further?
  • What results are discussed for each problem?

Show / hide answers

1) How many problems are discussed?

2) What are they?

children can access potentially dangerous sites growth of online fraud and hacking

3) What expressions are used to introduce the problems?

One of the first problems of the internet is... Another major problem is...

4) How are the problems illustrated further?

For example, pornography sites are easily accessible to them because they can register with a site and claim to be an adult. These days, there are constant news stories about government and company websites that have been hacked.

5) What results are discussed for each problem?

There is no doubt that this affects their thoughts and development, which is a negative impact for the children and for society.
...resulting in sensitive information falling into the hands of criminals.

Your answers to these questions should tell you a lot about how to plan and organize a problem paragraph.

You only need two or three problems as remember you do not have much time and you need to explain the problems.

When you brainstorm your ideas for problem solution essays, think about  (a)   what the problem is   (b)   how you will explain it   (c)   and what the effect is . Your paragraph will then follow this pattern.

Here is an example of the brainstorming for this paragraph:

Problem 1:   children can access potentially dangerous sites

  • Explanation / Example:   Pornography sites
  • Result:  Affects thought & development - negative for children & society

Problem 2:  growth of online fraud and hacking

  • Explanation / Example:   Evident from the constant news stories
  • Result:  Criminals get sensitive information

Here they are illustrated in the paragraph, with the introductory expressions underlined:

One of the first problems of the internet is the ease with which children can access potentially dangerous sites . For example, pornography sites are easily accessible to them because they can register with a site and claim to be an adult . There is no doubt that this affects their thoughts and development, which is a negative impact for the children and for society . Another major problem is the growth of online fraud and hacking . These days, there are constant news stories about government and company websites that have been hacked , resulting in sensitive information falling into the hands of criminals.

Writing about Solutions

Answer the following questions about the solutions paragraph:

  • How many solutions are given?
  • What three different groups of people does the writer say are responsble for these solutions?
  • How would the solutions be implemented?
  • What three modal verb structures are used to make the suggestions?

1) How many solutions are given?

adequate legislation and controls monitor the activities of children / restrict access improve company IT security systems

3) What three different groups of people does the writer say are responsble for these solutions?

Governments Parents Companies
Stricter criteria for accessing sites Using computer programs Reviewing current IT systems for weaknesses

5) What three modal verb structures are used to make the suggestions?

should need to must

Your answers to these questions provide you with some key tips on writing a solutions paragraph. Some of these points are now explained further.

The people involved

When you come to brainstorm your solutions, think of the key 'actors' who are involved. It is usually governments and individuals in some way or another.

There may be another group specifically realted to the topic. For example, in this case it is companies and parents. If you are discussing crime it could be the police. If it is violence on TV it could be TV and film producers.

You can then brainstorm your ideas under each 'group' and organize them in the same way.

Developing your solutions

Also, try to make sure your solutions are not too simplistic. It's all too easy to make sweeping generalizations about what people can do. For example, look at this idea:

The government should introduce stricter laws.

It it common to see such statements in IELTS problem solution essays with no further explantion. Give more detail about how or why this would work. For example:

Governments should ensure that adequate legislation and controls are in place that will prevent young people from accessing dangerous sites, such as requiring more than simply confirming that you are an adult to view a site.

Some specific detail has now been given on how this solution could work.

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs can be used to make suggestions in problem solution essays. These are usually found in solutions paragraphs.

Check out this grammar lesson if you are unsure how to use modal verbs .

Here again is a plan for the problem solution essay for the solutions paragraph:

Solution 1:   Governments

  • Idea:   Adequate legislation and controls  for young people
  • How:  More complex website access criteria

Solution 2:  Parents

  • Idea:   Monitor children and restrict access
  • How:  Use a computer program

Solution 3:   Companies

  • Idea:   Improve IT security systems
  • How:  Review current systems in place

Here is the paragraph again. Note how it follows the plan and the clear topic sentence that tells the reader the essay is moving on to discuss solutions (modals verbs are underlined):

It is important that action is taken to combat these problems. Governments should ensure that adequate legislation and controls are in place that will prevent young people from accessing dangerous sites , such as requiring more than simply confirming that you are an adult to view a site . Parents also have a part to play. They need to closely monitor the activities of their children and restrict their access to certain sites , which can now be done through various computer programs. Companies must also improve their onsite IT security systems to make fraud and hacking much more difficult by undertaking thorough reviews of their current systems for weaknesses.

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How to Plan & Write IELTS Problem Solution Essays

IELTS problem solution essays are the most challenging essay type for many people. The way they are worded can vary hugely which can make it difficult to understand how you should answer the question.

Generally, you’ll be asked to write about both the problem, or cause, and the solution to a specific issue. Sometimes, however, you will only be required to write about possible solutions.

The 3 essay types:

  • Problem and solution
  • Cause and solution
  • Just the solution

Hence, it’s essential that you analyse the question carefully, which I’ll show you how to do in this lesson. I’m also going to demonstrate step-by-step how to plan and write IELTS problem solution essays.

Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  • Identifying IELTS problem solution essays 
  • 6 Common mistakes
  • Essay structure
  • How to plan
  • How to write an introduction
  • How to write main body paragraphs
  • How to write a conclusion

Want  to watch and listen to this lesson?

Click on this video.

Click the links to see lessons on each of these Task 2 essay writing topics. 

Once you understand the process, practice on past questions. Take your time at first and gradually speed up until you can plan and write an essay of at least 250 words in the 40 minutes allowed in the exam.

The Question

Here are two typical IELTS problem solution essay questions. They consist of a statement followed by the question or instruction.

1. One problem faced by almost every large city is traffic congestion.

What do you think the causes are? What solutions can you suggest?

2. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the number of endangered species has increased significantly and we have witnessed more mass extinctions in this period than in any other period of time.

State some reasons for this and provide possible solutions.

These are some examples of different ways in which questions can be phrased. The first half of the questions relate to the problem or cause, the second half to the solution.

What issues does this cause and how can they be addressed?

What are some resulting social problems and how can we deal with them?

What problems arise from this and how can they be tackled?

Why is this? How might it be remedied?

What are the reasons for this, and how can the situation be improved?

Why is this happening, and what measures can be taken to tackle this problem?

And here are a few questions where you only have to write about the solution.

How can this situation be improved?

What solutions can you suggest to deal with this problem?

How can this problem be solved?

What measures could be taken to prevent this?

It’s important that you are able to recognise the common synonyms, words and phrases used in problem solution questions. Here are the key words and their synonyms used in the questions above.

  • Problem  – issues, resulting, situation
  • Cause  – reasons, why
  • Solution  – deal with, addressed, tackled, remedied, improved, measures taken, solved, prevent

Before we move on to some common mistakes, I want to quickly explain the difference between a problem and a cause. Read the following examples.

Problem – I've missed the last bus home after visiting my friend for the evening.

Cause – I misread the timetable and thought the bus left at 22.45 when it actually left at 22.35.

The ‘cause’ is the reason for the ‘problem’.  We’ll be looking at question analysis in more detail in a minute.

6 Common Mistakes

These six errors are common in IELTS problem solution essays.

  • Confusing problem and causes questions.
  • Having too many ideas.
  • Not developing your ideas.
  • Not developing both sides of the argument equally.
  • Not linking the problems and solutions.
  • Not being specific enough.

It is common for an essay to consist of a list of problems and solutions without any of them being expanded on or linked to each other. Sometimes, a student will focus on just the problem or only the solution which leads to an unbalanced essay. Both these issues will result in a low score for task achievement.

You must choose just one or two problems and pick solutions directly linked to them. Explain them and give examples.

Another serious error is to write generally about the topic. You need to be very specific with your ideas. Analysing the question properly is essential to avoiding this mistake. I’ll show you how to do this.

Essay Structure

Now let’s look at a simple structure you can use to write IELTS problem solution essays. It’s not the only possible structure but it’s the one I recommend because it’s easy to learn and will enable you to quickly plan and write a high-level essay.

1)  Introduction

  • Paraphrase the question
  • State 1 key problem/cause and related solution

2)  Main body paragraph 1 – Problem or Cause

  • Topic sentence – state the problem or cause
  • Explanation – give detail explaining the problem or cause
  • Example – give an example

3)  Main body paragraph 2 – Solution

  • Topic sentence – state the solution
  • Explanation – give detail explaining the solution

4)  Conclusion

  • Summarise the key points 

This structure will give us a well-balanced essay with 4 paragraphs.

One Problem/Cause & Solution or Two?

Most questions will state problems, causes and solutions in the plural, that is, more than one. However, it is acceptable to write about just one.

This will give you an essay of just over the minimum 250 words. To write about two problems/causes and solutions will require you to write between 350 and 400 words which are a lot to plan and write in the 40 minutes allowed.

It is better to fully develop one problem/cause and solution than ending up with one idea missing an explanation or an example because you run out of time.

The step-by-step essay structure I’m going to show you includes one problem and solution but you can write about two if you feel able to or more comfortable doing so.

How To Plan IELTS Problem Solution Essays

Here’s the question we’re going to be answering in our model essay followed by the 3 steps of the planning process.

One problem faced by almost every large city is traffic congestion.

What do you think the causes are? What solutions can you sugge st?

  • Analyse the question
  • Generate ideas
  • Identify vocabulary

# 1  Analyse the question

This is an essential step in the planning process and will ensure that you answer the question fully. It’s quick and easy to do. You just need to identify 3 different types of words:

1. Topic words

2.  Other keywords

3.  Instruction words

Topics words are the ones that identify the general subject of the question and will be found in the statement part of the question.

One problem faced by almost every large city is traffic congestion .

So, this question is about ‘ traffic congestion’ .

Many people will do this first step of the process and then write about the topic in general. This is a serious mistake and leads to low marks for task achievement.

What we need to do now that we know the general topic, is to understand exactly what aspect of traffic congestion we're being asked to write about.

The  other keywords  in the question tell you the specific topic you must write about. 

By highlighting these words, it’s easy to see that you are being asked to write about the problem of traffic congestion in large cities. Your essay must only include ideas relevant to these ideas.

The instruction words are the question itself. These tell you the type of IELTS problem solution essay you must write. This is a ‘causes and solutions’ question.

# 2  Generate ideas

The next task is to generate some ideas to write about.

There are several different ways to think up ideas. I cover them fully on the  IELTS Essay Planning  page.

We’re going to use the ‘friends technique’. This is the method I prefer as it allows you to take a step back from the stress of the exam situation and think more calmly.

Here’s how it works. Imagine that you are chatting with a friend over a cup of coffee and they ask you this question. What are the first thoughts to come into your head? Plan your essay around these ideas.

Doing this will help you to come up with simple answers in everyday language rather than straining your brain to think of amazing ideas using high-level language, which isn’t necessary.

You might want to try this yourself before reading on for my ideas.

Here are my ideas:

  • Too many cars on the roads – increasing numbers of people own cars, more convenient than buses & trains
  • Inadequate public transport – crowded, old & dirty
  • Poor road layout
  • Rush hour traffic – most people travel to & from work at the same times each day
  • Car sharing, park-and-ride scheme, congestion charge
  • Improve public transport – more frequent and better quality
  • Improve infrastructure – bus lanes, cycle lanes will make it safer for people to cycle
  • Flexible working hours

For each cause you think of, immediately write down a possible solution. This you will ensure that the problems and solutions you think of are linked.

You don’t need to spend long on this as you only need one or two ideas.

I’ve got more far more ideas here than I need as I spent more time thinking about it that I would in the real exam. I’m going to pick just one cause to develop in the essay and one or two solutions.

My advice on making your selection is to choose ideas you can quickly think of an example to illustrate.

Here are my choices:

Cause  – Too many cars on the roads.  Why? – increasing numbers of people own cars, more convenient than buses & trains

Solution  – Park-and-ride schemes

We’re almost ready to start writing our IELTS problem solution essay but first, we have one more task to do.

# 3  Vocabulary

During the planning stage, quickly jot down some vocabulary that comes to mind as you decide which cause and solution you are going to write about, especially synonyms of key words. This will save you having to stop and think of the right language while you’re writing. For example:

  • traffic jam
  • heavy traffic
  • private transport
  • infrastructure

With that done, we can focus on the first paragraph of the essay – the introduction.

How To Write an Introduction

Good  introductions to IELTS problem solution essays have a simple 2 part structure:

  • State 1 key problem/cause and related solution/s (outline sentence)
  • Have 2-3 sentences
  • Be 40-60 words long
  • Take 5 minutes to write

1)  Paraphrase the question

Start your introduction by paraphrasing the question.

Question: One problem faced by almost every large city is traffic congestion.

                  What do you think the causes are? What solutions can you suggest?

Paraphrased question:  

O ne of the most serious issues facing the majority of large urban areas is traffic jams.  

Note my use of synonyms to replace key words in the question statement. You don’t have to replace every key word but do so where possible whilst ensuring that your language sounds natural.

2)  Outline statement

Now we need to add an  outline statement  where we outline the two main points that we’ll cover in the rest of the essay, that is, the cause and the solution I chose earlier. Here they are again.

Cause  – Too many cars on the roads.  Why? – increasing numbers of people own cars, more convenient than buses & trains

And, this is one way to develop them into an outline sentence.

Outline statement:

The main reason for this is that there are too many private cars on the roads these days and a viable solution is to introduce more park-and-ride schemes.

So, let’s bring the two elements of our introduction together.

     Introduction

problem and solution essay topics ielts

This introduction achieves three important functions:

  • It shows the examiner that you understand the question.
  • It acts as a guide to the examiner as to what your essay is about.
  • It also helps to keep you focused and on track as you write.

The two ideas in your introduction will become your two main body paragraphs.

Main body paragraph 1  –  Too many cars on the roads  

Main body paragraph 2  –  Park-and-ride schemes

How To Write Main Body Paragraphs

Main body paragraphs in IELTS problem solution essays should contain 3 things:

  • Topic sentence – outline the main idea
  • Explanation – explain it and g ive more detail

Main Body Paragraph 1

The  topic sentence  summarises the main idea of the paragraph. That’s all it needs to do so it doesn’t have to be complicated.

It plays an important role in ensuring that your ideas flow logically from one to another. It does this by acting as a signpost for what is to come next, that is, what the paragraph will be about.

If you maintain a clear development of ideas throughout your essay, you will get high marks for task achievement and cohesion and coherence.

We’ll now take the idea for our first main body paragraph and create our topic sentence.

Obviously, we’re going to write about the cause of the problem first.

Main body paragraph 1  –  Too many cars on the roads 

Topic sentence:  

The number of people owning cars increases year on year, with most families now having more than one car. 

Next, we must write an  explanation sentence  that develops the idea.

Explanation sentence: 

Most people like the convenience of travelling at the time they want to rather than being restricted to public transport timetables, so they prefer to drive themselves around rather than taking the bus or train. This is despite the fact that they frequently have to sit in long traffic queues as they near the city centre.

Finally, we add an  example  to support our main point. If you can’t think of a real example, it’s fine to make one up, as long as it’s believable. The examiner isn’t going to check your facts. Alternative, you could add another piece of information to support your idea.

Example sentence:

Whenever I have to attend a meeting in the city, I always drive because it means that I can leave home when I want to rather than getting stressed about getting to the station in time to catch the train.

That’s the 3 parts of our first main body paragraph complete. Here’s the finished paragraph.

problem and solution essay topics ielts

We now follow the same process for our second main body paragraph.

Main Body Paragraph 2

Main idea 2  –   Park-and-ride schemes

First, we write the  topic sentence  to summarise the main idea. 

Topic sentence:

A solution that is proving successful in many areas is park-and-ride schemes.

Now for the  explanation sentence  where we expand on this idea.

Explanation sentence:

This is where you park your car for free in a large car park on the outskirts of the city and take a bus for the final part of your journey. The fee you have to pay for the bus trip is usually very small and this public transport system is generally very regular, running every ten minutes or so.

Finally, an  example  to support this point.

A survey carried out in the city of Exeter showed that the rush hour congestion decreased by 10% when the council set up a park-and-ride scheme to the north of the city. There was an additional drop of another 10% in traffic volume when a second scheme began operating to the south.

That’s the 3 parts of our second main body paragraph complete. Here’s the finished paragraph.

problem and solution essay topics ielts

Now we need a conclusion and our IELTS problem solution essay is done.

How To Write a Conclusion

The conclusion is a summary of the main points in your essay and can generally be done in a single sentence. It should never introduce new ideas.

If you're below the minimum 250 words after you’ve written your conclusion, you can add a prediction or recommendation statement.

Our essay is already over the minimum word limit so we don’t need this extra sentence  but you can learn more about how to write a prediction or recommendation statement for IELTS problem solution essays on the Task 2 Conclusions page.

The conclusion is the easiest sentence in the essay to write but one of the most important.

A good conclusion will:

  • Neatly end the essay
  • Link all your ideas together
  • Sum up your argument or opinion
  • Answer the question

If you achieve this, you’ll improve your score for both task achievement and cohesion and coherence which together make up 50% of the overall marks. Without a conclusion, you’ll score below band 6 for task achievement.

You can start almost any final paragraph of an IELTS problem solution essay with the words:

  • In conclusion

        or

  • To conclude

Now all you need to do is briefly summarise the main ideas into one sentence.

Here’s a top tip . Go back and read the introduction to the essay because this is also a summary of the essay. It outlines what you are going to write about.

To create a good conclusion, you simply have to paraphrase the introduction. 

Introduction:

Here is the same information formed into a conclusion.  I’ve also added a personal statement at the end to link back to one of my example sentences. You don’t have to do this but in this case, I think that it rounds the essay off better.

problem and solution essay topics ielts

That’s it. We’ve completed our essay. Here it is with the 4 paragraphs put together.

Finished IELTS problem solution essay.

problem and solution essay topics ielts

Go through this lesson as many times as you need to in order to fully understand it and put in lots of practice writing IELTS problem solution essays from past exam questions. Practice is the only way to improve your skills.

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More help with ielts problem solution essays & other task 2 essays.

IELTS Writing Task 2  – T he format, the 5 question types, the 5 step essay writing strategy & sample questions. All the key information you need to know.

The 5 Types of Task 2 Essay   – How to recognise the 5 different types of Task 2 essays. 15 sample questions to study and a simple planning structure for each essay type.

Understanding Task 2 Questions  – How to quickly and easily analyse and understand IELTS Writing Task 2 questions.

How To Plan a Task 2 Essay  – Discover why essay planning is essential & learn a simple 4 step strategy, the 4 part essay structure & 4 methods of generating ideas.

How To Write a Task 2 Introduction  – Find out why a good introduction is essential. Learn how to write one using a simple 3 part strategy & discover 4 common mistakes to avoid.

How To Write Task 2 Main Body Paragraphs  – Learn the simple 3 part structure for writing great main body paragraphs and also, 3 common mistakes to avoid. 

How To Write Task 2 Conclusions  – Learn the easy way to write the perfect conclusion for a Task 2 essay. Also discover 4 common mistakes to avoid.

Task 2 Marking Criteria  – Find out how to meet the marking criteria in Task 2. See examples of good and poor answers & learn some common mistakes to avoid.

The 5 Task 2 Essay Types:

Step-by-step instructions on how to plan & write high-level essays. Model answers & common mistakes to avoid.

   Opinion Essays

   Discussion Essays

  Problem Solution Essays

  Advantages & Disadvantages Essays

  Double Question Essays

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IELTS Charlie

Your Guide to IELTS Band 7

IELTS Problem Solution Essay: tips, common mistakes, questions & essays

In this lesson we are going to look at how to answer an IELTS Problem Solution essay.

You will learn about this  IELTS Writing Task 2  essay, using  authentic IELTS essay questions , plus the most common mistakes. And I will finish with an  IELTS model essay  written by me in response to a  sample IELTS essay question . So let’s get started!

What Is Your Task?

In this IELTS question type, you are usually presented with a statement about a common problem that many people or societies face. Usually you will be asked to discuss 2 things:

  • the causes of the problem, or the problem itself
  • and some solutions to the problem

Sometimes you may be asked to discuss the effects of the problem.

So it’s really important to read the question carefully, so you know  exactly  what you should discuss!

Read this task:

Plastic bags, plastic bottles and plastic packaging are bad for the  environment. 

What damage does plastic do to the environment? 

What can be done by governments and individuals to solve this problem? 

Cambridge IELTS 16 General Training Test 1

So in the task above, you are presented with a statement about a problem: “ Plastic bags, plastic bottles and plastic packaging are bad for the  environment. “

Next, you are asked a question related to the problem: “ What damage does plastic do to the environment?” . In this task the question is asking you about the effect of the problem.

Then, you are asked a question related to the solution: “ What can be done by governments and individuals to solve this problem?” In other words, you need to suggest some solutions.

These types of question can be worded in a variety of ways. Here are some common examples:

  • What problems are associated with this and what are some possible solutions?
  • What difficulties does this cause? What can we do to tackle this problem?

What do you think are the causes of these problems and what measures could be taken to solve them?

  • Why is this the case? What can be done about this problem?

As you can see, it’s really important to read the question carefully because the wording can vary a lot.

How To Plan An IELTS Problem Solution Essay

If you are aiming for a high band score (band 7 and above) it is absolutely vital that you plan your essay. A good plan will help you to see if you have answered the question, developed your ideas and organised them BEFORE you start writing.

We’re going to plan an essay using my  4 Step Planning Process .

4 Step Planning Process

Step 1: Understand The Task

First, you need to make sure you understand exactly what you need to write about. So you need to read the question carefully, not quickly!

Think about these three questions:

What is the topic about?

What is the topic NOT about?

How should you respond to the topic?

Let’s go back to this essay question, and answer those 3 questions:

The topic is presented in the first sentence in the task, “plastic bags, plastic bottles and plastic packaging are bad for the environment.”  So the topic is about the negative effects that plastic items (specifically bags, bottles and packaging) have on the natural world.

Note that the first sentence is a factual statement, not an opinion. It states that plastic IS bad for the environment, not “ some people think plastic is bad for the environment)

  • The topic is not about pollution in general, only plastic pollution. So don’t discuss carbon emissions or petrol fumes.
  • The topic also mentions only bags, bottles and packaging. So it’s probably best to avoid talking about objects made of plastic (e.g. toys…although I did this in one of my model essays! Hopefully I will get a kind examiner!)

The two questions tell you how to respond to the topic. So make sure you answer these questions. Don’t discuss the advantages of plastic, or why you think plastic is NOT bad for the environment!

Step 2: Decide Your Position

Next, you need to decide your position. In other words, you need to decide what you think.

In a problems solutions IELTS essay, your position is simply your answers to the two questions .

So in our example task, your position is your answers to these 2 questions:

  • What damage does plastic do to the environment?
  • What can be done by governments and individuals to solve this problem?

There aren’t questions with a factual answer, so they are really asking you for your opinion, ideally an opinion based on your own knowledge or experience.

Personally, I think that plastic damages the environment by harming wildlife, and because the plastic gets into the water supply system. What can governments and individuals do? I think governments need to tax plastic more heavily. And individuals can stop using plastic bags.

So what is YOUR position? What do YOU think? 

Step 3: Extend Your Ideas

When you decided your position, you may have started thinking about the reasons for your position, the reasons for your answer. In other words, WHY are you taking this view?

Giving reasons for your view is essential in an IELTS essay. In fact, all IELTS questions tell you to “give reasons for your answer”. So in Step 3, you need to think about your reasons a little more.

However, just presenting your  reasons is not enough. You need to develop them.

The two best ways of developing your ideas is by:

  • giving explanations of what you mean
  • giving specific examples which illustrate what you mean

Together, these add more detail to your answer.

You MUST do this to get Band 7. If you fail to develop your ideas in detail, your band score for Task Response may be limited to Band 6.

Read more about how to develop your ideas in an IELTS essay.

Step 4: Structure Your Essay

The final step in the planning process is to structure your essay. This simply means deciding which main ideas to put in which paragraphs.

Here’s a simple structure for a problem / solution essay:

  • Paragraph 1: introduction
  • Paragraph 2: discuss 2 problems
  • Paragraph 3: discuss 2 solutions
  • Paragraph 4: summarise your ideas.

Here is an alternative structure:

  • Paragraph 2: discuss one problem and a solution to this problem
  • Paragraph 3: discuss one problem and a solution to this problem

However, this structure is not always appropriate, so use it carefully! If your ideas are not closely related to the problem, it can cause problems with coherence. For example, one problem caused by global warming is melting icecaps; however, there is no direct solution to melting icecaps –  the solution often lies a long way from the polar ice caps .

ielts-problem-solution-essay

How To Write Your IELTS Problem Solution Essay

Let’s go through how to write the different parts of the essay.

How To Write The Introduction To An IELTS Problem Solution Essay

In the introduction to an IELTS Problems Solutions essay, you need to do two things:

  • briefly introduce the topic of the essay
  • briefly say what you are going to write about

Introduce The Topic

You should begin with a background sentence which introduces your reader to the topic of the essay. The best way to do this is to paraphrase the topic statement.

How To Paraphrase

Think about the meaning of the topic statement, and briefly rewrite it using your own words. Try not to use the same grammatical structures as in the essay question, and try to move language around. In other words, be flexible. This is important if you are aiming for a Band 7 or higher.

In the example essay question above, the topic statement said:

“Plastic bags, plastic bottles and plastic packaging are bad for the environment.”

Here is one way of paraphrasing this:

“People are becoming increasingly concerned about the damaging effects of plastic on the environment.”

This sentence has the same general meaning as the original sentence, but uses different vocabulary and different grammatical structures.

Say What You Are Going To Write About

In an IELTS Problems Solutions essay, it’s a good idea to briefly say what you are going to write about – in other words, say that you are going to answer the two questions.

In our example essay above, we need to answer two questions:

So I could write:

This essay will examine the damage done to the environment by plastic, along with some possible solutions.

How To Write The Body Paragraphs

In an IELTS Problems Solutions essay, you need to present the problem (or the causes of the problem) and possible solutions in the body paragraphs.

There a couple of possible structures:

  • Body Paragraph 1: discuss the problems
  • Body Paragraph 2: discuss the solutions
  • Body Paragraph 1: discuss one problem and its solution
  • Body Paragraph 2: discuss another problem and its solution

However, this second structure is not always appropriate. I would recommend only using the first structure.

Each body paragraph should contain:

  • A problem (or a solution) – your main idea
  • A more detailed explanation of the problem (or solution)
  • An example which illustrates this
  • You can also include a 2nd problem or (2nd solution) in the same paragraph.

This structure is what is meant by developing your ideas, and it is essential for a Band 7.

You can read more about  developing your ideas here .

How To Write The Conclusion

In the conclusion to an IELTS Problem Solution essay, you need to do one thing:

  • summarise your main points

Do NOT write any new ideas in your conclusion. If you think of new ideas while writing your conclusion, forget them! It’s too late.

Common Mistakes in an IELTS Problem Solution Essay

These are the most common mistakes made by Test Takers when writing an IELTS Problem Solution essay:

  • presenting too many problems and solutions: you MUST develop ALL of your ideas to get a high band score, so it’s best to present 3 or 4 problems / solutions in total and explain them all
  • not answering the exact question. If the question asks you to discuss the CAUSES of the problem, make sure you discuss the causes, not the problem.  If the question asks you to discuss the EFFECTS of the problem, make sure you discuss the effects, not the problem. So read the question carefully!
  • Writing an overly general statement about the topic in the introduction (e.g. “The Environment is a topic of hot debate.” )
  • Your main ideas are not explained and illustrated enough. You need to develop all of your ideas to get a band 7 and higher.
  • Writing an opinion in the conclusion: you usually only need to summarise your main points in the conclusion.
  • Using memorised phrases (e.g. “a hot topic”, “in a nutshell”, “quick fix”)
  • Using “research studies” as examples: examples should illustrate your ideas, not prove them. Read about  how to use examples in IELTS essays .
  • Trying to use rare or “novel” language: examiners are looking for groups of words used naturally, not rare words.quick fix

Sample IELTS Problem Solution Essay Questions

Plastic bags, plastic bottles and plastic packaging are bad for the environment. What damage does plastic do to the environment? What can be done by governments and individuals to solve this problem?

(Cambridge IELTS 16 General Training Test 1)

Nowadays many people complain that they have difficulties getting enough sleep. What problems can lack of sleep cause? What can be done about lack of sleep?

(Cambridge IELTS 15 General Training Test 2)

In spite of the advances made in agriculture, many people around the world still go hungry. Why is this the case? What can be done about this problem?

( Cambridge IELTS 13 Academic Test 4 )

Many working people get little or no exercise either during the working day or in their free time, and have health problems as a result. Why do many working people not get enough exercise? What can be done about this problem?

(Cambridge IELTS 13 General Training Test 2)

Model IELTS Problem Solution Essays

Here is an IELTS Problem Solution Essay that I wrote in response to this task:

In some countries the average weight of people is increasing and their levels of health and fitness are decreasing.

Cambridge IELTS 8 Test 4 (Academic)

Over the last few decades, rising obesity and a drop in people’s overall health and fitness have become a major concern in many countries, especially those in the developed world.

One of the main causes of increasing weight amongst the population is because so much food and drink contains large amounts of carbohydrates. Junk food, for example, tends to contain high quantities of cheap pasta and rice, while soft drinks often contain large amounts of sugar. If these carbohydrates are not burned up through exercise, they will simply be converted by the body into fat, leading to weight gain.

However, people are getting less exercise, which means that not only will they gain weight, they will also experience lower levels of health and fitness. One of the main reasons for this lack of exercise is our increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Whereas in the past, many people used to be engaged in manual labour such as factory work or farming, today they are more likely to be sat in an office hunched over a computer. Add to that the fact that people are more likely to commute to work by car, rather than walk or cycle, and we can see why people are getting fatter and less healthy.

There are some solutions to this problem that governments could provide, such as a sugar tax. In countries where this has been introduced, such as the U.K., this has led to drinks’ manufacturers reducing the amount of sugar in their products. I also feel that higher levels of tax on petrol might make car drivers think twice about whether they should really take the car out on the road. Ultimately, however, it is up to individuals to take more responsibility for their own health and fitness. They could make the effort to walk more and take the car less, and make better choices regarding their diet using information that is widely available on the Internet.

(321 words)

Read my full plan and comments for this essay.

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Discover the 7 STEPS to BAND 7 in IELTS Writing Task 2

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Problem Solution Essay IELTS: Topics & Sample Questions

Searching for Problem Solution Essay IELTS Check out these problem solution essay tips sample questions to increase your IELTS score

8/18/2023 2 min read

problem and solution essay topics ielts

Introduction

In the realm of IELTS writing tasks, the problem-solution essay stands out as a distinctive format that requires a strategic approach. This essay type necessitates students to identify a problem and propose effective solutions. It is an opportunity to showcase not only language skills but also critical thinking abilities. This article delves into the intricacies of problem-solution essays for IELTS, providing valuable insights, topics, and sample questions.

Understanding the Problem-Solution Essay

What is a problem-solution essay.

A problem-solution essay is an academic composition that addresses a specific issue by presenting well-structured solutions. This format is designed to assess a candidate's capacity to analyze complex problems, offer plausible remedies, and communicate ideas effectively.

The Structure of a Problem-Solution Essay

Introduction : Setting the stage by introducing the problem and its significance.

Problem Description : Clearly defining the issue and its implications.

Challenges Analysis : Examining the underlying causes and hurdles.

Solutions Proposal : Presenting feasible solutions with detailed explanations.

Evaluation of Solutions : Weighing the pros and cons of each proposed solution.

Conclusion : Summarizing the discussed problem and solutions.

Selecting the Right Problem

Identifying a suitable problem.

Before delving into crafting solutions, it's essential to choose a relevant problem. Opt for a topic that resonates with contemporary issues, ensuring there is ample information available to support your arguments.

Balancing Complexity and Feasibility

While selecting a problem, strike a balance between complexity and feasibility. An excessively intricate issue might lead to convoluted solutions, whereas an overly simple problem could limit your analysis.

Crafting Effective Solutions

Brainstorming for solutions.

Dedicate time to brainstorming potential solutions. Consider both conventional and innovative ideas to address the problem comprehensively.

Incorporating Realism

When proposing solutions, ensure they are realistic and practical. Far-fetched ideas might undermine the credibility of your essay.

Providing Detailed Explanations

Each solution presented should be accompanied by a thorough explanation of its implementation and expected outcomes. This showcases your ability to reason and articulate ideas effectively.

Sample Questions and Topics

Sample questions.

Question : In many countries, plastic waste is causing environmental harm. What are the solutions to this issue?

Question : With the rise of obesity, what measures can be taken to promote healthier lifestyles?

Environmental Pollution : Addressing air, water, and soil pollution through policy changes and public awareness.

Youth Unemployment : Strategies to create more job opportunities for the younger generation.

Access to Education : Ensuring quality education for underprivileged communities through innovative approaches.

The problem-solution essay in IELTS writing assesses your ability to dissect complex issues and offer practical solutions. Mastering this format requires a combination of critical thinking, language proficiency, and creativity. By selecting pertinent problems, formulating realistic solutions, and providing comprehensive explanations, you can excel in crafting impressive problem-solution essays.

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  • Essay Task 2

How to Write Problem Solution Essay in IELTS

  • Essay Types
  • Double Question
  • Advantage Disadvantage
  • Problem Solution
  • Essay Length

problem solution ielts essay

IELTS problem-solution tasks are the easiest of the IELTS essay types as you are required to explain the given problem(s) and provide some relevant suggestions/solutions. In this IELTS Task 2 Writing guide, we will take a look at how to produce a well-written essay for an IELTS writing task 2 problem and solution task.

Table of Contents

1.1 understanding the question, 1.2 example problem/solution questions.

  • Essay Structure for Problem/Solution Essays
  • 3.1 Identify key words and phrases

3.2 Organise your ideas

3.3 identify vocabulary, 4.1 introduction, 4.2 main body paragraphs, 4.3 conclusion.

  • 5.1 Complete the sample problem/solution essay

5.2 Problem Solution Sample Essay

1. problem/solution overview.

A problem and solution essay is a common type of IELTS writing task 2 essay question .

Remember, there are five main types of writing task 2 questions:

  • Advantage/disadvantage
  • Double question
  • Problem/solution

You will have 40 minutes to write at least 250 words which you use to explain one or more of the following

  • A common problem/ problems in the world
  • A cause/causes of a problem
  • A possible solution/solutions

There are a few different ways that a problem/solution question may be worded and it is important to understand exactly what you are being asked to do.

Here are the three main types of problem/solution question aims:

  • Write about a problem and possible solutions to that problem
  • Write about a cause of a problem and possible solutions
  • Only write about the solutions

And here are some ways the question may be worded for each aim:

  • What problems arise from this and how can they be tackled?
  • What do you think the causes are? What are the solutions?
  • What solution can you suggest to deal with this problem?

Identifying common synonyms in the instruction words will also help you to identify the aim:

Problem : Situation; resulting in…; issue

Cause : Reason; why

The only solution : address; present; solve; improve; tackle; remedy; deal with

Take the time to read the question carefully! It is a common mistake to answer the wrong question.

Here are some example problem/solution questions. Try to work out what the aim is for each question:

The internet has transformed the way information is shared and consumed, but it has also created problems that did not exist before. What are the most serious problems associated with the internet and what solutions can you suggest?

Also, read the following IELTS Essay Writing Guides

  • IELTS Discussion Type Questions
  • Double Question IELTS Essay Topics
  • Opinion-based Task 2 IELTS Guide
  • IELTS Advantage Disadvantage Essay Type

Overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems. Identify two serious ones and suggest ways that governments and individuals can tackle these problems.

One problem faced by almost every large city is traffic congestion What do you think the causes are? What solutions can you suggest?

More and more wild animals are on the verge of extinction and others are on the endangered list. What are the reasons for this? What can be done to solve the problem?

In many developing countries, there is a problem with declining quality of air and water from both industry and construction. What measures could be taken to prevent this?

IELTS writing correction

2. Essay Structure for Problem/Solution Essays

You will see more than one way to structure a problem/solution IELTS essay. We’ve given you two options to choose from that are nice and easy to follow and enable you to produce a clear and cohesive essay everytime:

Essay structure 1

Essay structure 2

Note that essay structure 2 suggests that it is an option to write about more than one problem and solution . In fact, the essay question will usually ask for problems and solutions in the plural.

However, it is acceptable to write about one problem and solution so that you fully develop your ideas rather than rushing through your essay and missing any important examples or explanations.

Why not time yourself writing an essay in test conditions and see what option works for you!

3. Planning your Problem/Solution Essay

Taking the time to plan your essay will really make a big difference. Read on for some useful tips to help your planning.

3.1 Identify keywords and phrases

It’s a good idea to start your planning by  confirming the topic of your essay by locating the topic words .

Here’s the question for our model 9 band writing task 2 answer at the end of this guide:

Some people think that children nowadays are spending an excessive amount of time watching TV or using a computer or mobile phone.

Describe some of the problems that too much screen time can have for children , and what can be done to tackle them .

The topic of this essay is about the amount of time children spend using screens (TV, computer, mobile phones).

By looking at the instruction words , we can see this question also asks for problems and solutions in the plural form (although remember it is ok to focus on a single problem and solution in the exam).

A list is a great way to organise your ideas before you start writing your IELTS essay about problem and solution. Your ideas do not have to be elaborate or in-depth, just put pen to paper and start to jot down some ideas for an IELTS essay. You could choose to only write down ideas you will use in your essay, or you might end up with more than you need (we suggest ticking off the ideas you use to avoid repetition)

We have used a simple bullet point list to note down ideas for our model essay:

  • Childhood obesity
  • Mental health issues
  • Targeted junk food adverts

Solutions :

  • Government incentives for active children
  • Limited screen time imposed by parents
  • Lessons to educate children on the dangers of too much screen time
  • Restrictions on adverts at certain times

Writing down any useful vocabulary for IELTS that comes to mind during the planning process could improve your score in Lexical resources . Ask yourself if you know any idioms, collocations or other unusual IELTS essay vocabulary linked to your essay topic.

4. Writing your Problem/Solution Essay

There are three key things to include in your problem/solution introduction:

  • Paraphrase the given IELTS statement and question
  • State the problem/cause/solution
  • State what your essay will do

To successfully paraphrase the statement, you can use synonyms, change the word order or change the word class (e.g from a noun to an adjective). The tricky part is making sure you keep the meaning of the statement the same. Look what we’ve done for our model answer:

You can also briefly state what your essay will do using an outline statement . Here’s an example sentence:

This essay will look at these problems in more detail and propose some solutions.

For each problem or cause you write about, you should create a topic sentence which introduces each main idea.

Here are some possible ways you could structure your topic sentences:

  • One major problem connected to _____ is…
  • Another issue is that…
  • A final problem is the…
  • One cause of ____ is …
  • One reason for ____ is …
  • A further way to explain ____ is …
  • One contributing factor to ____ is…

You could also use the structure that + a clause. Here are some examples:

One major problem connected to childrens’ health is lack of exercise .

Another issue is that there are a large amount of junk food advertisements on television aimed at children .

As well as language for problems, you will also need to introduce solutions to these problems. Even though the topic of your essay will be different, you can learn language chunks/sentence starters to do this. Take a look at these examples:

  • To deal with this problem, _____ could …
  • The way forward might be for _____ to …
  • The solution is for people to …
  • In order to solve this issue, _____ should …

When you provide a solution, it is a good idea to keep the actor of the sentence more general, for example:

  • The government

You can also learn lexical chunks related to solutions to common problems. Here are just a few suggestions for our model answer:

  • The government could bring in a law to ban junk food advertising.
  • The government could allocate more money to healthy eating campaigns.
  • Parents could set aside time in the day to do activities as a family away from screens.
  • Schools could employ more physical education teachers to improve students’ fitness levels.

We’ve used the tips above to create the following body paragraphs:

Your conclusion for any IELTS writing task 2 essay is very important as without it, you will not score above a band score 6.0 in Task achievement .

Always make your conclusion easy to identify for the examiner by starting with:

  • In conclusion,…
  • To conclude,…
  • To sum up,…
  • In summary,…

Now you will need to paraphrase (again) what you have written for your introduction in your own words. Compare out model answer introduction and conclusion:

You can also include the following points in your conclusion (it is not necessary to include all the points):

  • State the seriousness of the problem (we’ve used the phrase ‘ increasingly serious ’)
  • Suggest who you think should solve the problem (we’ve gone with a balance between the government and parents )
  • Make suggestions about what to do in the future (we’ve kept this general: ‘ reducing the amount of screen time ’)
  • State what might happen if nothing is done to solve the problem (again, we’ve kept this general to reduce the word count: ‘ these problems will only intensify ’)

5. Example Problem/Solution Essay and Exercise

Below you will find the complete problem/ solution essay that we have been using throughout this guide, except we have removed some of the keywords.

Your task is to select the missing words and complete the sample answer. Good luck!

5.1 Complete the Sample Problem/Solution Essay

Describe some of the problems that too much screen time can have for children, and what can be done to tackle them.

Nowadays, governments and health experts around the world have become increasingly concerned about the general health of children. They are particularly worried about problems caused by too much time spent in front of a TV, computer or mobile. This essay will look at these problems in more detail and propose some solutions.

One major problem connected to childrens’ health is lack of exercise: in recent years , the amount of time children spend being sedentary in front of a screen has increased drastically, and as a result, childrens’ fitness levels have plummeted. This is a significant problem in the USA, for example , where children spend an increasing amount of time watching a TV screen. To try and solve this problem, governments should implement incentives for children that spend more time being active, such as giving vouchers for sport equipment or free tickets to sporting events.

Another issue is that there are a large amount of junk food advertisements on television aimed at children. This means that children are being targeted to buy unhealthy junk food and processed meals which can lead to weight and other health problems due to the high amounts of fat and sugar in the food. The answer could be for the government to ban these adverts at certain times of the day. If they did this, children would not be subjected to these unhealthy marketing tactics.

To sum up, there is no doubt that the problem of too much screen time is becoming increasingly serious for the youth of today. Unless action is taken urgently, these problems will only intensify. My opinion is that responsibility for reducing the amount of time in front of a screen lies mainly with the government, but also with the parents.

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IELTS Problem Solution Essay Model Answer

Below is an IELTS model answer for the IELTS problem solution essay in writing task 2. There are five types of essays in IELTS writing task 2 and the “solution” type essay is a common one. However, make sure you follow the instructions. You need to know the difference between “what are the causes?” and “what problems does this cause?”.  The first requires causes and the second requires problems.

Problem Solution Essay Instructions

The instructions for problem solution questions are often paraphrased in different ways. Below you can see a few examples:

  • What are the problems to this and how can it be solved?
  • What problems are caused by this? What solutions would you recommend?
  • What problems arise from this situation? What measures can be taken to deal with it?
  • What problems does this cause? What can be done to deal with this situation?

You can find some essay questions for solution essays and problem solution essays on this page: Solution Essay Questions  and you can find over 100 essay questions to practice: 100 Essay Questions for IELTS

IELTS Problem Solution Essay Question

An increasing number of professionals, such as doctors and teachers, are leaving their own poorer countries to work in developed countries. What problems does this cause? What can be done to deal with this situation?

Model IELTS Essay: Problems and Solutions

More and more professionals from developing or underdeveloped countries are choosing to live and work in richer countries. As a result, poorer countries will struggle to develop but this can be tackled by offering more incentives to stay and better living conditions.

The main problem faced by poorer countries due to the brain-drain, in fields such as medicine and education, is that they will struggle to develop and find it difficult to improve their economy as well as living conditions. One of the main ways that a developing country can better themselves is through the skills and dedication of their professionals which is negated when they choose to take their skills to benefit another country. Consequently, less developed countries will not be able to offer their citizens high levels of education or health care, and this in turn will hinder their ability to compete on a global scale, to entice investors and ultimately to stop the poverty cycle.

One effective solution to deal with professionals leaving their country is for their government to encourage them to stay by offering better work conditions. This can be done by increasing wages and investing in state-of-the-art equipment and training to tempt doctors and teachers to continue working there. Another possible answer is for  poorer countries to offer better standards of living, more tolerance and a positive future as a way to entice their professionals back to their own country after they have completed their training abroad. However, these solutions are financially demanding which means poorer governments may have to look to developed countries for aid in order to implement these changes.

In conclusion, poorer countries are unable to develop due to the brain-drain which can only be tackled by enticing professionals to remain in their country of origin through better conditions.

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Question Prompt: A rise in the standard of living in a country often only seems to benefit cities rather than rural areas. What problems can this cause? How might these problems be reduced?

One-sided rise of living standards in cities as opposed to poor and underdeveloped rural areas can create conflicts and conflagrations between communities, but equal distribution of funds for developing both urban and rustic landscapes and infrastructures can solve these issues.

Better education, income or living conditions, which can only be seen in city areas create inequality between the urban dwellers and those residing in pastoral grounds. Consequently, it leads to resentment and hatred against each other, creating ground to bear infighting between people. Therefore, civil war and rebellions will arise if social equality is not achieved between residents of different regions. For example, the French revolution in the Renaissance era occurred because of the growing divide between the rich aristocrats in the urban areas and the poor common people in the outskirts of France.

One of the effective solutions to tackle this problem is to implement equal wealth distribution policies amongst different jurisdictional areas in a nation. In other words, the resources and wealth of a country should be equally divided, regardless of whether it is urban or rural. Only then, the quality of life in both of the regions will be improved together at the same time, without an evident disparity. For instance, the Malaysian government equally divides the capital for investments in the construction of buildings amongst 13 states of the republic, modernising them equally at the same time.

In conclusion, war and political divide between cities and the countryside can result as a consequence of unequal living standards, while establishment of policies advocating fair distribution of resources will shorten the gap of disparaging living standards.

As the professionals, such as doctors and teachers leave their own poor nations with lower incomes to seek jobs in the first world countries with better living standards, the essential institutions in their home countries cease to function. However, with better incentives, these skilled workers may be enticed to return to their countries of origin.

The first and foremost problem arises from the professionals moving to richer countries is the resultant shortage of labour and lack of skilled employees. As a result, the departments and establishments run by these professionals are no longer able to operate, and are closed down. Consequently, the residents of these underdeveloped nations struggle to find services and providers for their day-to-day activities. For example, many third world nations in SouthEast Asia have inefficient health care services with a shortage of competent medical professionals, compared to their counterparts in Europe despite producing millions of doctors, nurses every year.

One possible solution to this issue is to offer enticements to persuade the much needed skilled service providers to stay in the country. In other words, if employee benefits are enhanced by giving a higher pay, free living, better pension schemes or cheaper health care, they will be willing to settle down in the areas they were trained. In addition, these countries will also attract foreign workers to come and replace those who are still willing to leave due to other reasons, such as personal preferences or weather. For instance, many poor African countries pay these highly sought after professionals attractive wages and salaries, which are three-times higher than that of the minimum pay in the country.

In conclusion, many poor countries have been significantly experiencing an emigration of professionals, creating a shortage of the services provided by them, whereas raising the standard of living of these professionals can convince them to work for their own countries.

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It has been universally accepted that problem of professionals are migrating from own poorer countries is escalating at an alarming rate. The problem is bringing a state of depression among the masses and in economy too. There are plethora of reasons of the same and its possible solutions can be suggested too which are discussed as follows.

In regards to the problem, the major reason which can be stated is inflation. dozens of professionals when they pass from institutions they start to find a good job, but due to inflation if they get a reasonable job then they cannot fulfill even basic needs for their family members. that is the point where they start thinking of migrating to developed countries. Another problematic cause is those professionals who fail to achieve a better job and then they select a crime path. Government should take a stand on this point and focus on the employment sector and how to create ease in the job market for the professionals who really can be a valuable asset for our country’s growth and economy. Seeing the problem with a brighter mind, many solutions can be helpful to this menace. One of the solutions is whenever they are passing out from university Government should offer paid internship program via an aptitude test. To conclude, solving a global issue is not easy but with the efforts of the Government, control can be taken over the problem with the aforementioned suggested measures. I believe that government should come forward to mitigate this problem.

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For a IELTS solution essay if the instructions ask to write solutions but does not mention to write about problems/causes then I assume I only write about solutions only?

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That is correct. You follow the instructions precisely and don’t change them. An essay question about solutions only will be an essay based on solutions only.

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Thank you ma’am this was really helpful

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Hi miss Liz. what are the differences between “what are the reasons” and “what are the problems” in problem-solution essay. I mean that in which way should I answer these questions?

“Reasons” are similar to causes. It’s an explanation for why something is happening. “Problems” are negative effects.

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I kindly hope evaluating my essay answer, even merely a score prediction. =============================================== Undoubtedly, the prosperity of the developed countries increasingly attracts highly qualified individuals to immigrate and forsake their struggling people regardless of the severe issues they may cause such as the decreased quality of health and education; besides, economic recession. Those issues will be illustrated and addressed separately.

Firstly, to efficiently handle the migration issue, we have to be aware of two of its fundamental impacts. Brain drain has been a direct immigration impact. Consequently, an absence of physicians leading to a high number of patients; furthermore, a reduced number of educators causing unqualified post-graduates. However, the predicted and indirect result from immigration is a heavy burden affecting the economy of the third world because they have been forced to hire foreigners from the developed countries to establish some hospitals and universities to fill the gap caused by the vocational immigrants. Therefore, the shortage of doctors and teachers and the economic problems are the essential issues aroused from immigration. That should be quickly treated by governments.

Secondly, after understanding the results of immigration toward economically developed countries, I am convinced that the best solution to tackle this situation is that the authorities of the suffered states should closely observe any ambitious and clever pupil and foster him. In other words, they have to establish specialized schools that receive every high IQ scored student and seriously teach him all types of contemporary sciences. In addition, continuous communications should be done to any high qualified immigrant to make him believe that he is immensely demanded and respected among his hometown and has a responsibility to be involved and serve his people, who fostered and taught him before his success, whenever he is wanted. Based on that, high-quality education and tightly connection with immigrants will markedly mitigate the impact of the brain drain phenomena.

In conclusion, the challenges the developing countries have been recently facing for decades could be addressed within few years if those countries considered the risk of low health care and poor education aroused from migration. I believe that a pivotal role could be achieved by the administrators of those poor countries by education and conducting with the qualified immigrants.

Sorry I don’t offer marking or feedback.

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Hey miss, I’ve been trying to improve my writing but unfortunately, due to not getting feedback I’m not sure whether am i writing correct or not. I just wrote a problem solution essay can you pls give me feedback it will helped me alot. Q : Nowadays, more and more younger people needs to compete with older people for the same jobs. What problems does this cause? What would you suggest as a solution.

Currently, many youngsters are facing competition with elderly people for similar kind of jobs. This essay will suggests, the major problem that causes is Higher unemployment amongst young employees, and proposing a retirement age on old employees as a viable solution.

Due to rising competition, youngsters struggles alot in finding jobs. Due to not having enough experience, they fail in getting jobs and this leads to poverty. Inspite of, due to lack of jobs, they are deprived of paying their living expenses. For instance, majority of the people who are of aged 40-60, are working more rather than young people.

Therefore, authorities should implement a law on those employees who are of aged ( 40-70 respectively). Those of them who just crossed the age of 40, must gets retired as well as government should take care of their living expenses. Moreover, giving them social benefits and ensuring that no worker will gets employed after the age of 40, will automatically eliminate the escalating competition among both young workers and old workers. For example, if older people stopped working than young people can get more chances in showing their skills and boosting the economy.

In conclusion, by preventing elderly people from working will gives a positive impact and the rivalry among them wil be finished

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Hi Liz, Is this a problem solution essay or direct question essay? “Nowadays the increasing number of garbage is a real concern .why is this happening? what can be done to resolve it?”

Be careful with labelling what type of essay something is. Each teacher labels essays differently and IELTS labels them differently again. There are clearly two direct questions. However, I teach them under causes/solution essays.

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Hi Liz, can I bring some information not related to the question to make the lengthen my essay

You will be marked down for padding out your essay with information that is not 100% relevant to the question. This is why you need to prepare lots of ideas for topics so that your essays can contain relevant, highly focused points.

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I love your tips and it is quite easy to understand. But I have a question in the below question it does not ask for causes. In such situations do we need to write the causes as well?

In many developing countries, there is a problem with declining quality of air and water from both industry and construction. What measures could be taken to prevent this?

You should only ever follow instructions. If you are asked for only solutions, you will give only solutions. For marking criteria of Task Response is not just about the ideas you use, it is also about how you fulfil the instructions – always write a focused, relevant essay 🙂

Thank you! Liz. Appreciate your answer.

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Hey Liz, can you tell.me is this a proper way to paraphrase (intro) this question in task 2 Some cities create housing areas by providing taller buildings.others create housing by building houses one a wider area of land what solution is better? My ans: as a result of rapidly increasing population the demand for housing has increased . I believe that creating housing through high rise buildings is better than constructing houses on a wider area of land.

It’s fine.

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Thank you so much dear LIZ, you are a blessing After watching your videos I can do my writing in a very efficient way, I can control over time so easily, hope I can make it it in my test. I highly appreciated all the tips you advise us in your videos.

I’m so glad my lessons are helping you. Good luck in your test !! 🙂

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Hi Liz It is a wonderful site !! What if I label an essay differently from my examiner. 🙃 How many points do tend to loose?

There are no labels that the examiner follows. Only teacher give labels in order to help explain and teach.

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Hi Liz, One question contains this at the end, ‘… why do you think that is? What could be done to encourage more people to take interest in the arts?’ Is this also a course+ solution essay?? Looking forward a response

Yes, it asks for causes and solutions. It is common for IELTS to paraphrase instructions.

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Dear Li, I will be taking the IELTS General Training test next week. I’d like to know if the problem/solution or cause/solution essays are only for Academic Test takers or GT candidates should also expect them in the test.

The question types are the same for both tests. This applies to both writing task 2 and the reading test.

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Thank You dear Liz

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Thank You for your helps

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The question prompt usually says “What are the problems due to this phenomenon?” and “What are the solutions to this problems?”. In this case, are we supposed to write two problems and two solutions or one problem and one solution? I ask this because question says problems and solutions, which is plural but if we write two problems and solutions than we will have to write about 350 to 400 words to fully develop those ideas to get higher task achievement scores. This will mean that completing task in 40 minutes will be tough. What do you suggest in this case? Is writing one problem and a solution answering all parts of the task? Looking forward to your response. Thanks

The page above gives you a model essay for exactly that type of essay. Read through it and learn how to write it using a reasonable word count.

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Hello Liz. Can you share with me the link to your video lessons where you explain “cause and solution essay”? Looking forward your response. Thanks.

I don’t have a video for that essay question yet. Sorry.

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Hi Liz, Firstly wanted to thank for the info you’re providing!

I just have one question about the solution essay. When they just ask to provide the solution in the essay (not mentioning cause or problems) how do we structure the two BP’s? One solution each body BP?

I can’t see any examples about this on your website!

Thanks in advance,

Who said you could only have two body paragraphs? It is fine to have three. The number of body paragraphs will depend on the number of solutions you have.

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Thanks a lot for you effort

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Dear Liz, For a problem solution essay, can I follow the following structure to get higher bands? 1- Intro 2- Body paragraph 1 (problem + solution) 3- Body paragraph 2 (problem + solution) 4- Conclusion

It is a standard, correct structure to use. There are many reasons to get a higher score based on the 4 marking criteria – that only will not help you.

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Thank you so much.

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Can you please tell where could I find your problem solution essay video lesson … shall be thankful

I haven’t made that lesson yet.

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Thank you for the essay. I observed that this essay does not consist of any examples in both the body paragraphs. Does that mean we have to only include examples in opinion essays? or we can afford to not mention examples in writing task 2 and still get a good band score?

Thank you for your help in advance.

You give examples when you want. Some teachers teach students always to give examples because it is an easy way to explain ideas. But it isn’t a requirement. Ideas can be developed in many ways.

Understood. Thank you.

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Thank you for this model answer. But, I have a feeling that the solution could be more fully developed. Please clear my doubt dear teacher.

You don’t get marks for a longer essay and this essay is long enough. Developing solutions further would not increase your score.

The official criteria is very confusing which states that not developing ideas could lower your writing score. What should I do teacher? Ielts is so confusing.

I think you need to consider what the requirements are. An essay is under 300 words (about 290). This means the intro is about 40 or 50, the conclusion about 30. So, you are left with about 105 or 110 words per body paragraph (for two body paragraphs). This means to get band 9, those words are enough. Just be logical. An underdeveloped body paragraph contains one or two sentences – no more. Try to work within the requirements. See my advanced lessons for training: https://elizabethferguson.podia.com/

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Hi Liz!i want to pay 24$.can i do through bank.i face face problem in my visa card.

The payments are processed by paypal using either a debit or credit card. All lessons are bought individually.

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Thank you Liz Your free training is doing a good work in me, I actually need to extend time for my IELTS test.

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Thank you Liz for your brilliant ideas and tips!!

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Dear liz Pls let me know GT task 2 questions are similar to academic task 2 questions? As I need GT task 2 questions to practice please give me some details about it?

Yes, they are similar. GT questions are sometimes easier.

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Hello mam please I’d like to ask who marks ielts exam papers? Are they sent to british council uk or marked in country where its taken? Just to clear a doubt please. Thanks mam.

This has recently changed. Before the writing was marked by examiners in the city where you did your test. Now the papers are sent to a central location abroad where examiners will mark them.

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Hi Liz, Since when did they start sending the writing papers to be assessed at central location. Does this mean we can’t apply for remark anymore?

Of course, you can apply for a remark. All remarks are checked by a senior examiner. The change in system has NO influence on candidates, on your score or on your remarking.

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Liz can you please explain use of articles in particular ‘the’? I feel like I miss them before abstract nouns. Is there any lesson/video I could watch? I’m desperate for your help!

My website is based on IELTS exam technique. You will need to find an English language website. See this page for some links: https://ieltsliz.com/useful-websites-and-resources-for-ielts/ or use google.

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Thank you very much, Liz. You have been very helpful.

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Thank you very much madam

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Hello Liz, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, “poor mortals”. If you were an examiner, would you give which band for this problem solution essay you made as a model? Would it be band 9, indeed? If so, I’m very confident I got the right structure to build it. Thanks a lot!

Yes, it would be a band 9. It addresses the task fully with relevant, well developed ideas. Signposts and linking are used flexibly. Paragraphing is logical. Vocab and grammar are flexible and also error free. The real aim for a high score is keeping your English language error free – don’t take risks.

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Thank you liz. It was long awaited. I also purchased your other writing videos. They are great. Your way of explaining is very good and easy to understand.

I’m really glad my advanced writing task 2 lessons were useful. I tried to pack them with as many flexible techniques as I could 🙂

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For Writing Task 1 and 2, can extra sheet be given?

If you have filled the answer sheet, you can raise your hand and ask for another. However, the answer sheets are the right length for the writing required.

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I knew that I need two sheets because I practised on them before therefore I ask for them at the beginning of writing part. I’ve obtained them without any problem.

You will not be given them at the start of the writing part. You must first full the answer sheets provided. Always remember that your aim is to write under 300 words for task 2 and under 200 for task 1.

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Thank you Liz for your prompt response .

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Thanx alot mam liz. This is very helpful eassy of solution and problem. Can we use this eassy words for every eassy of solution and problem.

I don’t understand your question. Are you talking about memorising the essay? You definitely can’t memorise it but you can learn vocabulary from it.

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What is the paraphrase of financially demanding?

Thanks for whole essay . It is really nice answer for problem and solution type of essay. My problem is I could not copy your sample essay and paste it into word doc. Could you please tell me how it can be done? I know it is a silly question. I prefer read them rather on the paper than on computer. . Thank you

Unfortunately, you’ll have to type the essay into your laptop to copy it. It will do you good to test your English accuracy 🙂

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Splendid😊😊 Thanks liz Is lure equal tempt??

It has a similar meaning but I wouldn’t use it in this context. You need to be very careful with synonyms. Although they have similar meaning, they might not all be suitable for the same topics or contexts.

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thanks for the answer to this essay. But one thing I want to clarify is that “brain-drain” is an informal word. So can we use it in writing ? thanks & regards,

It is not an informal word – it’s fine to use.

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Thanks alot Liz.. I have LWR on Dec. 2nd and this has help alot.

Good luck!! See my last minute tips: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-exam-tips-on-the-day/

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Is conclusion word not used in introduction and conclusion of task 2.

Sorry I don’t understand this comment at all. The linking words “In conclusion” are used to start the conclusion of the essay above.

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Thanks liz .. Your ielts tips are really helpful.

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Hi Liz Thank you very much for your efforts writing the wonderful essay, Can I ask you there is a repeatation of (entice) is there any exact synynom for entice or it is ok to repeat it?? Thanks

It’s fine and natural for some words to be repeated. As long as you show paraphrasing skills that’s all that is needed. Your aim isn’t change all words, all the time.

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Good morning Liz, thanks. ☺

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I watched your videos on all modules and I would like to sincerely thank you for your guidance and support. Your videos and tips are very much helpful, after watching your videos my preparation style and concepts on each modules are changed completely.

Thank you so much for your support.

You’re welcome 🙂

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Thank You Liz for your update Currently, I’m preparing my IELTS test and all tips in your website really helps me

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IELTS Podcast

Pass IELTS with expert help.

Problem Solution Essays in IELTS Writing Task 2

Problem Solution Essays in IELTS Writing Task 2

January 30, 2023 By Ben Worthington

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This tutorial discusses how to write problem-solution essays in IELTS Writing Task 2.

A “problem and solution” essay, as its name suggests, proposes a problem to you and asks you to suggest a solution or solutions to it. It may also ask about the causes of the problem or the effects which the problem has.

Listen and you will learn:

  • How to write a problem solution essay
  • How to understand the question and structure your answer
  • How to make logical arguments in your answer
  • Three things all problem and solution questions have in common
  • Ideas to develop answers to sample IELTS problem/solutions questions

Read the Sample Problem Solution Essay Questions below

  • ‘Loneliness’ is an increasing problem in many societies, especially among the elderly. Why is this? How might it be remedied?
  • The world’s oceans are filling up with plastic waste. What are the reasons for this, and how can the situation be improved?
  • Many of the world’s rarest plants and animals are on the verge of becoming extinct. Why is this? What, if anything can be done to slow this process or arrest it all together?

Join many other students who have achieved IELTS success with our online IELTS course or get instant feedback with our online essay checker .

You can download or listen to the full tutorial here:

| Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify

Ben Worthington

About Ben Worthington

As the founder of IELTSPodcast, Ben started his journey as an English educator in 2006. Ben and his team of teachers provide students with expert advice, twice a week to cover the writing, reading, listening and speaking sections of the IELTS exam.

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Tips for Problem Solution Essay in IELTS: Guide to Achieve IELTS Band 9 in Essays

IELTS writing explores a variety of essay topics. Ranging from topics that deal with your personal opinions to ones where you analyse various social issues. It is the only section where you get to write down your ideas and opinions in an organised manner. Needless to say this section is very minutely judged and you need to be absolutely focused in order to do well.

One topic that is quite recurrent in writing section is the problem-solution type essay in IELTS. Here you are given a troubling scenario and are asked to suggest suitable solutions to that particular problem.

Types of IELTS Essay Writing

Years of observation revealed that there are 5 main types of essay questions in IELTS writing task 2; opinion, discussion, advantage/ disadvantage, problem-solution essays and direct question.

Each of these has its own demands and therefore needs to be structured accordingly. This article deals with problem solution essays IELTS in particular. Let us find out more!

All About Problem- Solution Essays in IELTS

One of the first things you have to make sure you are able to do is, figure out which type of IELTS essay topics is given. To do that skilfully, you need to know what a problem-solution type question looks like.

Here are some examples of problem-solution type of questions:

Problem Solution Essay IELTS Sample

  • Overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems. Identify one or two serious ones and suggest ways that governments and individuals can tackle these problems.
  • Nowadays many people have access to computers on a wide basis and a large number of children play computer games. What are the negative impacts of playing computer games and what can be done to minimize the bad effects? The internet has transformed the way information is shared and consumed, but it has also created problems that did not exist before. What are the most serious problems associated with the internet and what solutions can you suggest?
  • In the developed world, average life expectancy is increasing. What problems will this cause for individuals and society? Suggest some measures that could be taken to reduce the impact of ageing populations.

Also Read: Describe a Person Who is Very Open: IELTS Speaking Cue Card Sample Answers

Tips to Approach Problem Solution Essay IELTS

While you work on such types of essays you must remember that some essays ask for reasons and solutions, not problems and solutions. Writing about a reason (or cause) is not the same as writing about a problem.

When you writing about Problems, here are some things you must keep in mind:

Tips to Remember

  • Ask yourself the following questions. Their answers should tell you a lot regarding how you can plan and organise a paragraph that deals with the given “problem”.
  • How many problems are discussed?
  • What are they?
  • What expressions are used to introduce the problems?
  • How are the problems illustrated further?
  • What results are discussed for each problem?
  • You only need two or three problems because you do not have too much time and you need to explain the problems in a stipulated time.
  • When you brainstorm your ideas for problem solution essays, think about (a) what the problem is (b) how you will explain it (c) and what the effect is. Your paragraph should follow this pattern.

Here’s How to Brainstorm

Problem 1: children can access potentially dangerous sites

  • Explanation/ example: Pornography sites
  • Result: Affects thought & development – negative for children & society.

Problem 2: the growth of online fraud and hacking

  • Explanation/ example: Evident from the constant news stories
  • Result: Criminals get sensitive information

Ask These Questions

Let us now look at what writing about solutions should look like:

You must ask the following questions and use their answers to form your response to get IELTS band 9 in essays.

  • How many solutions are given?
  • What three different groups of people does the writer say are responsible for these solutions?
  • How would the solutions be implemented?
  • What three modal verb structures are used to make the suggestions?

Also Read :  10 Must Follow IELTS Reading Tips and Tricks to Boost Your Band Score

When You Brainstorm Focus on the Following Three Units of the IELTS Essay topic:

Think of the key ‘people’ who are involved.

It is usually governments and individuals in some way or another. Sometimes it is also companies and parents. If you are to discuss crime it could be the police. If it is violence on TV it could be TV and film producers.

Develop Your Solutions

Your solutions should not too simplistic. It’s all too easy to generalise about what people can do.

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs can be used to make suggestions in problem-solution essays in IELTS. These are usually found in solutions paragraphs.

Plan for the Problem Solution Essay for the Solutions Paragraph

Solution 1: Governments

  • Idea: Adequate legislation and controls for young people
  • How: More complex website access criteria

Solution 2: Parents

  • Idea: Monitor children and restrict access
  • How: Use a computer program

Format of a Problem-Solution Essay in IELTS Writing

The format of this kind of essay is quite straightforward. Here is a rough sketch that you can follow for a good response:

Introduction

  • Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question
  • Sentence 2- Outline Sentence

Main Body Paragraph 1

  • Sentence 1- State Problem
  • Sentence 2- Explain the problem
  • Sentence 3- Result
  • Sentence 4- Example

Main Body Paragraph 2

  • Sentence 1- State Solution
  • Sentence 2- Explain Solution
  • Sentence 3- Example
  • Sentence 1- Summary
  • Sentence 2- Recommendation or prediction

IELTS Sample Essay on Problem Solution Type

IELTS band 9 essay-Solution essay has a good plan, a clear execution of the plan with relevant vocabulary and zero grammatical or spelling errors.

Take a look at your model essay for better understanding:

Sample IELTS Essay Topics

Global warming is one of the biggest threats humans face in the 21st Century and sea levels are continuing to rise at alarming rates. What problems are associated with this and what are some possible solutions.

Climate change is among the principal dangers facing people this century and ocean levels are increasing dramatically. This essay will first suggest that the biggest problem caused by this phenomenon is the flooding of homes and then submit building flood protection as the most viable solution.

The foremost problem caused by sea levels creeping up is the flooding of peoples’ residences. Millions of people all over the world live in coastal areas and if the sea rises by even a few feet, they will be inundated with water and lose their property. The shelter is one of the most basic of human needs and widespread flooding would cause millions of people to become homeless, not to mention losing all of their possessions. The devastation brought about by this was clear for all to see during the 2011 Tsunami in Japan, in which millions of people were displaced.

Break the Paragraph

A possible solution to this problem would be to build flood barriers. Flood defences, such as dikes, dams and floodgates,  could be built along coasts and waterways, thereby stopping the water reaching populated areas. The Netherlands is one of the most populated areas in the world and also one of the most vulnerable to flooding and they have successfully employed various flood defence systems.

To conclude, stemming the rising tides caused by increasing global temperatures is one of the foremost challenges we face and it will ultimately lead to many of the worlds’ cities being left underwater, but a possible solution could be to utilise the flood prevention techniques already used by countries like Holland. It is predicted that more and more countries will be forced to take such measures to avoid a watery catastrophe.

Writing a full essay for the IELTS Writing Task 2 can seem daunting to. However, if you are armed with the right kind of ideas and stylistic elements, your essay can easily fetch a band 8 or 9.

Also Read :  IELTS Writing Task Evaluation with Sample Answer: A Guide To Better Band Score

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Problem Solutio...

Problem Solution Essay IELTS: Sample Topic Questions

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Introduction

Mastering the issue solution essay is critical for doing well on the International English Language Testing System ( IELTS ). This essay evaluates the linguistic skills and the ability to analyze complex problems and provide effective solutions. To succeed in the exam, one must grasp its structure and arrangement. This article will look at a range of problem solution essays from the IELTS examination, including environmental concerns, societal difficulties, and technical obstacles. By deconstructing these issues and proposing alternative answers, we hope to give readers the abilities and knowledge they need to approach problem-solving essays successfully. Let us dig into the domain of Problem Solution Essay IELTS and linguistic clarity required by the IELTS exam.

Understanding Problem Solution Essay IELTS

The Problem Solution Essay IELTS is essential, as it tests language competency and analytical and problem-solving ability. This essay style encourages applicants to identify essential concerns, provide possible remedies, and assess their efficacy. Mastering this essay style is critical for earning a good grade since it indicates a candidate's ability to handle real-world issues with clarity and coherence. Understanding the framework and subtleties of issue solution essays gives test takers the tools to excel in this exam section. Join  Yocket today to engage in a vibrant exchange of ideas and experiences, empowering your IELTS preparation journey.

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Sample Topic Questions for Problem Solution Essays IELTS

Here are a few sample of Problem Solution Essay Topics:

Environmental Issues

  • What are the primary sources of air pollution in metropolitan areas?
  • How do vehicle emissions contribute to metropolis air pollution?
  • How can industrial operations exacerbate air quality issues?
  • How do building and infrastructure development affect air quality in metropolitan areas?
  • What are the health effects of extended exposure to air pollutants?
  • How do air pollutants impact ecosystems and biodiversity?
  • What are the economic fees of air pollution-associated illnesses and environmental degradation?
  • What steps may be made to promote sustainable travel while lowering vehicle emissions?
  • How can society move to renewable energy to reduce air pollution?
  • What laws and regulations are needed to enforce emission restrictions and monitor pollution levels properly?

Social Problems

  • What constitutes several brand new maximum tremendous societal problems?
  • How does homelessness affect people and communities?
  • Which variables contribute to the continuation of urban poverty?
  • How does unemployment impact social well-being and financial stability?
  • What are the implications of uneven access to schooling and healthcare?
  • How does prejudice against race, gender, or religion emerge in society?
  • What barriers do marginalized groups experience while seeking jobs and social services?
  • How does substance addiction impact people, families, and communities?
  • How does psychological stigma impede people from getting help?
  • How can societies foster social inclusion while addressing systemic inequalities?

Health and Lifestyle

  • What are the number one reasons for lifestyle-related health troubles in contemporary society?
  • How do eating regimens and vitamins affect your trendy health and well-being?
  • How can physical exercise contribute to the prevention of chronic diseases?
  • How can stress damage mental health and lead to lifestyle-related illnesses?
  • What sociocultural influences impact smoking and alcohol drinking habits?
  • What effect does healthcare service accessibility have on a person's health outcomes?
  • What are the hurdles to addressing mental health concerns and raising awareness?
  • What role does socioeconomic status play in influencing health inequalities and lifestyle choices?
  • What measures may be used to encourage healthy habits and avoid disease?
  • How can communities help individuals make beneficial lifestyle changes?

Technological Challenges

  • What are the rising technological issues confronting society today?
  • How does the fast growth of artificial intelligence affect career opportunities?
  • What are the moral consequences of using biometrics and surveillance technologies?
  • What consequences does cyberbullying have on human beings's intellectual health and well-being?
  • What are the dangers of disinformation and deceptive records online?
  • In what ways does the digital divide increase disparities in information and technological access?
  • What steps may be taken to preserve data privacy and personal information online?
  • How can climate change and environmental damage stem from technology?
  • What obstacles do governments confront when regulating emergent technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency?
  • How can civilizations adapt to technological breakthroughs while minimizing their negative consequences for individuals and communities?

Tips for Writing Problem Solution Essays IELTS

Here are some helpful suggestions for writing Problem Solution Essay Topics:

Tip 1: Understand the Question

Carefully examine the essay prompt to determine the problem and the precise answers requested. Before you begin writing the essay, understand what is being requested.

Tip 2: Brainstorm Ideas

Spend some time brainstorming potential solutions to the challenge described in the assignment. Consider a variety of viewpoints and techniques to solve the issue successfully.

Tip 3: Structure Your Writing

Separate your writing into clean, cohesive paragraphs. Problem-answer essays often start with creation, then body paragraphs that discover the problem and possible solutions, and conclude with a precis of the principle factors.

Tip 4: Introduction

Start your article with a short advent that describes the subject and gives the historical past. Clearly explain the problem and briefly describe the remedies, an excellent way to be presented for the duration of the essay.

Tip 5: Body Paragraphs

Write one paragraph for each recommended solution. Present each solution clearly, with supporting information or examples to demonstrate its usefulness. Use transition words to provide a seamless flow between paragraphs.

Tip 6: Evaluate Solutions

Provide a critical examination of each offered solution. Discuss its viability, possible effect, and any disadvantages or restrictions. Wherever possible, compare and contrast various options.

Tip 7: Provide Evidence

Use pertinent data, such as case studies, statistics, or professional judgment, to support your claims. It enriches your writing and shows a deep comprehension of the subject.

Tip 8: Employ Formal Language

Throughout your article, have a formal tone using proper syntax and terminology. Avoid slang and too informal phrasing.

Tip 9: Conclude Effectively

Summarize the fundamental ideas of your essay in the conclusion. Restate the issue and stress the significance of executing the recommended remedies. Avoid including fresh information in the end.

Tip 10: Proofread

Proofread and revise your essay to ensure there are no grammatical or spelling problems and that your writing is clear. Make any required changes to ensure your essay is well-written and cohesive.

By mastering these principles, you may show off your analytical abilities and valuable solutions in your IELTS problem-solution essay. Are you looking for more help? Check out Yocket for professional advice and study tools to help you prepare!

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IELTS Sample Problem Solution Essay Topics

With an improved reliance on automobiles, many cities suffer widespread visitor congestion and environmental troubles. What steps can be taken to remedy this problem?

IELTS Problem Solution Essay

The growing reliance on vehicles has had a negative effect on cities, resulting in debilitating site visitor congestion and expanded pollution tiers. To deal with these crucial challenges, a multifaceted technique must be used.

To start, enhancing public transit infrastructure is a critical approach. Cities can also inspire commuters to use general delivery instead of personal motors by investing in extending and upgrading bus and subway networks. Further techniques to improve visitor flow and discourage automobile usage include implementing special bus lanes and visitor pricing plans.

In addition to enhancing public transit, encouraging exchange types of mobility is critical. Congestion is lessened, and a more fit, extra sustainable urban environment is promoted by encouraging foot and bicycling by constructing motorcycle lanes and pedestrian-pleasant infrastructure. Furthermore, boosting carpooling and ridesharing programs can considerably reduce the number of cars on the street, easing the congestion of site visitors.

Adopting strict environmental legislation is crucial in fighting pollutants and fixing transportation infrastructure. Implementing emission regulations for automobiles and industry and investing in renewable electricity alternatives can help lessen air pollution and the lousy fitness effects caused by vehicle emissions.

Furthermore, promoting a societal exchange closer to sustainable transportation behaviors is essential. Educating the public about the detrimental outcomes of excessive driving on the environment and human health can foster a feeling of duty in human beings and encourage them to regulate their conduct.

In precis, improving public transportation infrastructure, encouraging opportunity transportation, implementing environmental laws, and fostering a sustainable mindset among many of the population are all essential additives of a comprehensive method to reduce site visitor congestion and pollution in urban regions. By implementing those steps, cities can create cleaner, greener, and more liveable metropolitan surroundings.

With the growth of fast fashion, the style enterprise is under fire for its environmental and ethical implications. What efforts can be applied to mitigate the harmful effects of quick fashion?

The growth of fast style has fueled unheard-of consumerism, resulting in detrimental environmental and ethical consequences for the fashion enterprise. Concentrated attempts must be made to regulate the existing fashion paradigm to address these critically demanding situations.

One viable solution is to promote sustainable style methods. Encouraging clients to select ethically synthetic, ecologically friendly clothing labels can lessen the fashion industry's environmental effects. Furthermore, enacting laws that praise environmentally friendly materials, ethical labor requirements, and different sustainable production methods can promote a more excellent conscientious method to introduce garb.

Aside from selling sustainable fashion, increasing customer attention is essential. Educating customers about rapid style's environmental and social outcomes through educational tasks and evident labeling may help them make extra knowledgeable purchasing decisions. Furthermore, organizing a tradition of aware consumerism and assisting thoughtful dressers in restoring clothes, upcycling, and swapping can help lessen the demand for immediate fashion and create a sustainable style enterprise.

Furthermore, regulatory measures can play an essential role in mitigating the damaging consequences of rapid fashion. The environmental harm produced using the style industry can be lessened by implementing stronger laws governing pollutant control and waste control in fashion manufacturing facilities. Furthermore, shielding garment people's rights and enhancing their fashionable dwelling may be finished by imposing legal labor guidelines and advocating for fair pay and working conditions.

In the end, addressing the environmental and ethical issues created with a speedy style necessitates a multidimensional method consisting of sustainable manufacturing strategies, customer schooling, and legal guidelines and guidelines. The style of commercial enterprise may additionally flow toward a greater ethical and sustainable destiny by imposing those fixes, shielding the welfare of humans and the surroundings.

In conclusion, understanding the problem solution essay topics for the IELTS exam is critical for success and a good score. Understanding the framework, brainstorming alternatives, and successfully arranging your essay allow you to approach complicated challenges and give realistic answers. Remember to support your points with proof, critically assess solutions, and write your essay formally. With careful practice and preparation, you can successfully tackle any issue and essay subject that may arise on the IELTS exam. Consider using sites such as Yocket  to help you prepare more. Yocket's professional assistance and extensive study tools may help you flourish in your IELTS endeavors and reach your target score.

FAQ's on Problem Solution Essay IELTS

What is the IELTS examination?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardized exam used to decide the language competency of a non-local English audio system. It is widely diagnosed using universities, businesses, and immigration officers internationally.

What are the numerous modules of the IELTS exam?

The IELTS exam has four sections: listening, studying, writing, and talking. Different language skills, including writing capability, spoken English competence, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension, are assessed in every module.

How are IELTS exams graded?

The IELTS exam is evaluated on a scale of 0 to 9. Each module is assessed separately, and the total band score is derived by averaging the results from all four modules. Band scores are rounded to the closest half-band (6.5, 7.0, or 7.5).

What is the best way to be ready for the IELTS?

Preparing for the IELTS exam includes being familiar with the take-a-look-at-layout, practicing sample questions, and strengthening your English language abilities. You may join IELTS coaching instructions, get an entry to review materials from reputable IELTS websites, and take sample assessments to record your progress.

Where can I take the IELTS examination?

The IELTS examination gives an authorized look at facilities in cities globally. The official IELTS or authorized take-a-look-at-center websites offer a listing of take-a-look-at facilities and permit you to sign up for the examination online.

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IELTS Writing Task 2 Problem and Solution Essay Lesson

problem and solution essay topics ielts

Problem Solution Essay

This lesson on how to write a problem solution essay will:

  • discuss common mistakes;
  • show you how to analyse the question;
  • show you how to think of ideas;
  • give you a structure that can be used again and again on all problem solution IELTS essays;
  • describe how to write an introduction , main body paragraphs and conclusion; and
  • give you a full band 9 sample answer.

Problem/solution questions are one of the most common IELTS Writing Task 2 questions on the academic paper. Despite being very common, many students fail to do well in these questions. This post will look at some of the most common mistakes and then take you through how to answer these questions step-by-step.

problem and solution essay topics ielts

Common Mistakes

  • The most common mistake for problem solution essays is not expanding on your ideas and instead simply listing lots of problems and solutions. The examiner does not want a list of all the problems and solutions you can think of, and please don’t do this in the exam. Instead, if you look at how the exam is marked , the examiner wants you to pick one or two problems and solutions and then expand on them with explanations and examples. More on how to do this below.
  • Another common mistake is writing about problems and solutions that are not directly linked to the question. You should be like a sniper when answering the question and only give very specific ideas rather than ideas that generally talk about the overall issue. This has a lot to do with how you identify keywords and micro-keywords in the questions which we will look at below.
  • Lots of people think of good ideas for problems and then fail to link their solutions to these problems. Each problem should have a solution directly linked to it, or in other words, it should solve the actual problem.
  • Finally, some candidates think of really good problems and solutions that answer the question properly and then expand their answers with explanations and examples, but they talk too generally. Instead, you should be thinking of specific examples and explanations. We will look at how to avoid this below.

Analysing the Question 

This is one of the most crucial parts of answering any IELTS writing question. If you don’t take the time to think properly about what the examiner is asking you to do, then it is very difficult to answer the question correctly.

We analyse the question by thinking about three things:

  • micro-keywords
  • action words

Keywords are the words that tell us what the general topic is.

Micro-keywords identify which part of the general topic the examiner wants you to discuss. They often give an opinion, qualify the statement or talk about a sub-category of the bigger general topic.

Action words tell us what the examiner wants us to do.

Problem Solution Sample Essay

Global warming is one of the biggest threats humans face in the 21st Century, and sea levels continue to rise at alarming rates. 

What problems are associated with this, and what are some possible solutions? 

If we look at this question, we can see that the keywords are ‘ global warming ‘. This is our general topic. We will write about this, but we cannot write about any problems associated with global warming. If we do this, we have not answered the question properly. We, therefore, need to look at the micro-keywords.

The micro-keywords are ‘ humans ‘ and ‘ sea level rise ‘. So instead of writing just about the huge topic of global warming and any problems associated with that (such as increased storms, extinction of certain animals, erosion of soil), we have to talk about how particularly sea level rises will affect humans . If we talked about the problems affecting the ‘planet’ or ‘animals’ or the ‘atmosphere’, we would not be answering the question.

The action words are problems and solutions .  Our task is, therefore, to write about that and only that. It does not ask our opinion about the disadvantages, advantages, or causes, just the problems and solutions. If we discussed the causes of sea level rise, we would not be answering the question.

For more information, go to effectively analyse an IELTS question .

How to Think of Ideas 

problem and solution essay topics ielts

Now that we know exactly what the question is asking us to do, we need to think of specific and relevant ideas. There are many strategies for thinking of ideas for IELTS task 2 questions  TO THINK OF IDEAS FOR IELTS WRITING TASK 2  but for problem-solving questions; I like to use something called the ‘coffee shop method’.

Instead of brainstorming or mind-mapping- which take too much time and lead to irrelevant ideas in my opinion- you should pretend you are in a coffee shop with a friend and they have just asked you a simple question. In this case, it would be “What are the problems and solutions associated with sea level rise on humans?”

If you were talking to a friend about this, I’m sure you would have no problem thinking of at least 2 or 3 problems and solutions. This method takes you out of an exam situation and puts your mind into a more relaxed environment. Try it and see. If you don’t like it, try one of my other methods.

There are several problems and solutions, including:

Problem : flooding of people’s homes and businesses

Solution : build flood barriers or move to higher areas

Problem : loss of agricultural land and starvation

Solution : switch to more suitable crops

Problem : displacement of millions of people

Solution : move people in a planned and orderly way before the floods

Problem : groundwater undrinkable

Solution : build desalination plants

As you can see, I didn’t think of lots of problems and then lots of solutions. For each problem, you should think of a solution that directly solves this problem.

You now have lots of ideas, but now you must decide which ones to use. I always tell my students to pick the ones they know most about, i.e. that they can explain and give relevant examples.

problem and solution essay topics ielts

I advise my students to use a basic four-paragraph structure with all problem solution IELTS essays. Your four paragraphs should look something like this:

Paragraph 1- Introduction

Paragraph 2- Problems

Paragraph 3- Solutions

Paragraph 4- Conclusion

At a sentence level, your structure should look like this:

Introduction 

1- Paraphrase question

2- Outline sentence

3- State problems

4- Explain first problem

5- Explain second problem

6- Example of second problem

7- State solutions

8- Explain solution to first problem

9- Explain solution to second problem

10- Example of solution to second problem

Conclusion 

Sentence 11- Summary of main points in paragraphs 2 and 3

For more structures, check out our IELTS task 2 structures guide .

Now let’s look at each paragraph in more detail.

problem and solution essay topics ielts

The introduction will have two sentences: a paraphrase of the question and an outline statement.

Paraphrasing is simply saying the sentence again with different words but with the same meaning. We can do this by using synonyms and/or changing the order of the words.

Question-  Global warming is one of the biggest threats humans face in the 21st Century, and sea levels continue to rise at alarming rates. 

Paraphrased- Climate change is among the principal dangers facing people this century, and ocean levels are increasing dramatically.

As you can see above, I have used synonyms to change the words of the questions, but it still has the same meaning. The examiner will look for your ability to do this in the exam, so practising this skill is a good idea.

Our outline sentence is next, which tells the examiner what they will read in the rest of the essay. This makes it very clear to the examiner and makes the rest of the essay much easier to understand. You will, therefore, gain marks for coherence and cohesion.

Our outline sentence should look something like this:

This essay will first suggest that the biggest problems caused by this phenomenon are the loss of land and the flooding of homes and then argue that pollution reduction and building flood protection are the most viable solutions.

Our introduction will, therefore, look like this:

Climate change is among the principal dangers facing people this century, and ocean levels are increasing dramatically. This essay will first suggest that the biggest problems caused by this phenomenon are the loss of land and the flooding of homes and then argue that pollution reduction and building flood protection are the most viable solutions.

It should be noted that this introduction does not contain a thesis statement. This is because this particular question does not ask us for our opinion. However, IELTS problem solution questions sometimes do ask you for your opinion, and you should then include a thesis statement.

Problems Paragraph 

Our problems paragraph will have this structure:

Sentence 1- State problems

Sentence 2- Explain first problem

Sentence 3- Explain second problem

Sentence 4- Example of second problem

State problems : The foremost problems caused by climbing sea levels are that land is being lost and peoples’ residences are often flooded.

Now that we have stated the problems, we must explain these. You should always consider your audience to be someone with no specialist knowledge in this area, and you, therefore, need to explain what everything means. Don’t assume that the IELTS examiner is educated and knows what you are talking about. These assumptions will stop you from writing what you need.

Explain first problem : As water levels rise, low-lying land is submerged, and many countries become smaller.

Explain second problem : Furthermore, millions of people worldwide live in coastal areas, and if the sea rises by even a few feet, they are inundated with water and lose their property.

Now we must give an example of what we are talking about. When we give an example, it should be as specific as possible.

An example of a very general example would be:

Lots of people in the world have experienced floods recently. 

This is far too general to be considered a good example.

Example : The devastation brought about by this was clear for all to see during the 2011 Tsunami in Japan, in which millions of people were displaced.

This example is much more specific. Stating a place and/or date can help you make your examples more specific.

Our second paragraph will look like this:

The foremost problems caused by climbing sea levels are that land is being lost and people’s residences are often flooded. As water levels rise, low-lying land is submerged, and many countries become smaller. Furthermore, millions of people worldwide live in coastal areas, and if the sea rises by even a few feet, they are inundated with water and lose their property. This devastation was clear for all to see during the 2011 Tsunami in Japan, in which millions of people were displaced.

Now we must move on to our solutions.

Solutions Paragraph

Our solutions paragraph will have this structure:

Sentence 1- State solutions

Sentence 2- Explain solution to first problem

Sentence 3- Explain solution to second problem

Sentence 4- Example of solution to second problem

State solutions : Possible solutions to these problems would be to reduce the amount of pollution created and build flood barriers.

We now need to explain how our solution will help solve the problem. Again, do not assume that the examiner has any specialist knowledge of this topic, so you need to explain what you mean.

Explain first solution: If each person reduces their carbon footprint, the negative effects on the environment will be reduced, which will mean that the water level will stop rising.

Explain second solution : Furthermore, flood defences, such as dikes, dams, and floodgates, could be built along coasts and waterways, thereby stopping the water from reaching populated areas.

Example : The Netherlands is one of the most populated areas in the world and one of the most vulnerable to flooding. They have successfully employed various flood defence systems.

Our whole solutions paragraph will look like this:

Possible solutions to these problems would be to reduce the amount of pollution being created and to build flood barriers. If each person reduces their carbon footprint, the negative effects on the environment will be reduced, which will mean that the water level will stop rising. Furthermore, flood defences, such as dikes, dams, and floodgates, could be built along coasts and waterways, thereby stopping the water from reaching populated areas. The Netherlands is one of the most populated areas in the world and also one of the most vulnerable to flooding, and they have successfully employed various flood defence systems.

We have now answered the question and need to sum up what we have said in the conclusion.

problem and solution essay topics ielts

The conclusion should have no new ideas but instead should list the main points from the previous two paragraphs. You can also use synonyms in this paragraph to avoid repetition.

Conclusion : To conclude, stemming the rising tides caused by increasing global temperatures is one of the foremost challenges we face, and it will ultimately lead to some countries losing landmass and many of the world’s cities being left underwater, but possible solutions could be to protect our environment and to utilise the flood prevention techniques already used by countries like Holland.

Our whole conclusion for this problem solution essay will look like this:

To conclude, stemming the rising tides caused by increasing global temperatures is one of the foremost challenges we face, and it will ultimately lead to some countries losing landmass and many of the world’s cities being left underwater, but possible solutions could be to protect our environment and to utilise the flood prevention techniques already used by countries like Holland.

Problem and Solution Sample Essay

Here is the whole essay:

Climate change is among the principal dangers facing people this century, and ocean levels are increasing dramatically. This essay will first suggest that the biggest problems caused by this phenomenon are the loss of land and the flooding of homes and then argue that pollution reduction and building flood protection are the most viable solutions. The foremost problems caused by climbing sea levels are that land is being lost and peoples’ residences are often flooded. As water levels rise, low-lying land is submerged and many countries become smaller. Furthermore, millions of people all over the world live in coastal areas, and if the sea rises by even a few feet, they are inundated with water and lose their property. The devastation brought about by this was clear for all to see during the 2011 Tsunami in Japan, in which millions of people were displaced. Possible solutions to these problems would be to reduce the amount of pollution being created and to build flood barriers. If each person reduces their carbon footprint, the negative effects on the environment will be reduced and this will mean that the water level will stop rising. Furthermore, flood defences, such as dikes, dams, and floodgates, could be built along coasts and waterways, thereby stopping the water reaching populated areas. The Netherlands is one of the most populated areas in the world and also one of the most vulnerable to flooding and they have successfully employed various flood defence systems. To conclude, stemming the rising tides caused by increasing global temperatures is one of the foremost challenges we face and it will ultimately lead to some countries losing landmass and many of the worlds’ cities being left underwater, but possible solutions could be to protect our environment and to utilise the flood prevention techniques already used by countries like Holland.

I hope this post helps you with IELTS problem solution essays, and if you have any questions, please comment below.

problem and solution essay topics ielts

Next Steps 

If you found this lesson useful and it has helped you write a problem solution essay, you should also check out our lessons on task 2 opinions essays , discussion essays and advantages and disadvantages essays .

Do you need me to correct your essays and give you feedback on them? Check out our essay correction service .

The best way to keep up to date with posts like this is to like us on Facebook. There are also lots of practice activities for you to do on the Facebook page.

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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:

Influence of human beings on the world's ecosystem is leading to the extinction of species and loss of bio-diversity.

What are the primary causes of loss of bio-diversity?

What solutions can you suggest?

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.

problem and solution essay topics ielts

Producing ideas

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:

problem and solution essay topics ielts

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.

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 .

Possible solutions :

problem and solution essay topics ielts

  • protect areas

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.

Informing the general population about the disadvantages of loss of biodiversity will encourage people to be more conscious of the environment.

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:

Introduction

  • Body paragraph 1 – causes
  • Body paragraph 2 – solutions

Write the introduction in 2 sentences:

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.

Body paragraph 1 - causes

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.

Body paragraph 2 - solutions

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.

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.

(263 words)

IELTS Problem and Solution Writing Samples Band 7

In spite of the advances made in agriculture, many people around the world still go hungry. why is this the case what can be done about this problem, nowadays the way many people interact with each other has changed because of technology. in what ways has technology affected the types of relationships people make is this a positive or negative development, in many countries, the gap between the rich and poor is widening. what problems can this cause, and what solutions can you suggest, some young people are leaving the country side to live in cities and towns leaving only young people in the countryside’s. what problems are caused by this issue what can be done to solve this situation, addiction to tv is becoming more and more common worldwide. what are some of problems associated with this and what solutions can you suggest, people living in large cities today face many problems in their everyday life. what are these problems should governments encourage people to move to smaller regional towns, you are taking an evening class at your local university, which is related to your job. on the last day of class, your professor announces that she is leaving the university because she was hired as a full-time professor at another university. write an email to your professor and your email should do the following things: express how you feel about her leaving and her new position. explain what you enjoyed about her class. request to stay in contact and suggest a few ways to do so., modern children are suffering from the diseases that were once considered to only be meant for adults. obesity is a major disease prevalent among children. what are its causes, and what solutions can be offered, 01.people nowadays do not get to take care of the elderly. what are some of the causes and solutions to this problem, many people buy unnecessary things and get into debt when they do not need them. why people who buy extra things are getting into debt and discuss possible solutions., in many countries, people are now living longer than ever before. some people say an aging population creates problems for governments. other people think there are benefits if society has more elderly people. to what extent do the advantages of having an aging population outweigh the disadvantages, in many countries, people are now living longer than ever before in the past. some say an aging population creates problems for governments. others believe there are benefits to society having more elderly people. to what extent do the advantages of possessing an aging population outweigh the disadvantages, today, many people aim to achieve a balance between work and other parts of their life, but few of them can achieve it. what are the problems in trying it what measures can be taken to solve this problem, more and more people are moving from rural areas to cities in search of a better life, but city life has its own problems. what are these problems suggest some solutions., water scarcity is a serious problem in many countries. what are the causes of this and what solutions can be done by individuals and the government, plastic bags, plastic bottles and plastic packaging are bad for the environment. what damage does plastic do to the environment what can be done by governments and individuals to solve this problem, topic 10: in the developed world, average life expectancy is increasing. what problems will this cause for individuals and society suggest some measures that could be taken to reduce the impact of ageing populations., many people today do not feel safe either at home or when they are out. what are the causes what are the solutions, students are becoming more and more reliant on technology. what are some of the problems associated with reliance on computers and what are some of the possible solutions, large business have big budgets for marketing and promotic and as a result people garvitate towards buying their products. what problems does this cause what could be done to encourage people to buy local products.

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How to Use Adverbs of Frequency in IELTS Essays?

Adverbs of frequency are a great way to add sophistication and nuance to your IELTS essays . They help you indicate how often something happens which can strengthen your arguments and make your writing more precise. It can be used throughout all sections of your IELTS essay but they are most effective in the body paragraphs.

The key is to use adverbs of frequency strategically to enhance your arguments and demonstrate clear and precise language in your IELTS essay.

In this article, You will get what is adverbs of frequency, their examples, a list of adverbs of frequency, and their Rules and Tips for using adverbs of Frequency in an IELTS essay.

Table of Content

What is the Adverb of Frequency?

Definition of adverb of frequency, examples of adverbs of frequency, list of commonly used adverb of frequency, rules of adverbs of frequency, adverb of frequency in ielts essay.

  • Tips to use Adverb of Frequency in IELTS essays

Tips to Write Good IELTS Essays

An adverb of frequency is a word that tells you how often something happens. These adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs by indicating the frequency of an action, occurrence, or state. It is the adverbs that are used to describe the frequency of the occurrence of an action.

The main thing is to know where to use these adverbs in the sentence since depending on whether we have a “to be verb ” or not the adverb can be used in different parts of a sentence.

Here are some of the most common adverbs of frequency:

  • Usually (or normally)

There are also many other adverbs and adverb phrases can express frequency , such as:

  • Occasionally
  • Now and then
  • Hardly ever
  • Once in a while

An adverb of frequency is a word that tells you how often something happens. They modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs to specify the frequency of an action, occurrence or state. Adverbs can be used to show manner (how something happens), degree (to what extent), place (where), and time (when).

Here’s a breakdown of adverbs of frequency:

  • Function: They provide details about how often something happens.
  • Examples: always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, seldom, never, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, occasionally, now and then, hardly ever, once in a while.
  • Social media frequently plays a significant role in shaping public opinion. (This emphasizes the constant and recurring influence of social media.)
  • Historically, governments rarely intervened in the free market. (This highlights the uncommon nature of government intervention.)
  • Children are naturally curious and often ask questions to explore the world around them. (This describes the usual behaviour of children.)
  • While technology has significantly improved communication, it can sometimes lead to social isolation. (This contrasts the positive impact with a potential occasional drawback.)
  • Renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly important as we strive for a sustainable future. (This indicates a growing frequency over time.)
  • A balanced diet is essential for good health, and people should strive to eat varied foods regularly . (This emphasizes the ongoing importance and recommended regularity of a balanced diet.)
  • Unfortunately, natural disasters often cause significant damage to infrastructure and communities. (This highlights the unfortunate recurring nature of natural disasters.)
  • Cultural exchange programs can be a valuable tool for promoting understanding between different societies and are becoming more common . (This describes the increasing frequency and value of cultural exchange programs.)
  • Despite its challenges, globalization has undoubtedly led to a more interconnected world, with countries often collaborating on economic and social issues. (This acknowledges the occasional challenges while emphasizing the ongoing nature of collaboration due to globalization.)
  • Scientific research plays a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of the world, and discoveries are being made constantly . (This highlights the continuous and crucial nature of scientific research and its ongoing discoveries.)

Below is the list of commonly used Abverb of Frequency for your reference are as follows:

Here are the key rules for using adverbs of frequency in your sentences:

  • One Verb: If the sentence has only one verb (not including helping verbs like “be,” “has,” or “do”), the adverb of frequency typically goes after the subject and before the main verb . For example: “She often exercises in the morning.”
  • Helping Verbs: When there’s more than one verb (including helping verbs), the adverb of frequency usually goes between the auxiliary verb and the main verb . For example: “We have never visited that country.” “He doesn’t usually eat sweets.”
  • “Be” Verb: With the verb “to be,” adverbs of frequency generally go after the verb . For example: “They are always on time.” “This is rarely necessary.”
  • Some adverbs of frequency can be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence for emphasis. This is most common with “sometimes,” “often,” “rarely,” and “never.” For example: “ Sometimes, I question my choices.” “We travel abroad often .” “He never forgets a birthday.”

Choosing the Right Adverb:

The best adverb depends on how often something happens.

  • Always and never express strong certainty and should be used cautiously, especially in essays where exceptions might exist.
  • Usually suggests something happens most of the time.
  • Often suggests something happens frequently.
  • Sometimes something happens occasionally.
  • Rarely and seldom suggest something happens infrequently.

The section of the IELTS exam where you’ll write an essay that utilizes adverbs of frequency is Task 2 in both the Academic and General Training modules.

Task 2 requires you to write a longer essay (at least 250 words) in response to a prompt. The prompt can be in various formats, such as:

  • Opinion: Agree or disagree with a statement and provide reasons. ( For example – Technology has made our lives easier. Do you agree or disagree?)
  • Discussion: Discuss both sides of an argument and give your opinion. ( For example – Some people believe that travel is an essential part of education. Others believe it’s a luxury. Discuss both views.)
  • Problem-Solution: Identify a problem and suggest solutions. (For example – The increasing cost of education is a major concern. What are some possible solutions?)

Why Task 2?

Here’s why Task 2 is the ideal section for using adverbs of frequency:

  • Supporting Arguments: Body paragraphs in Task 2 are where you develop your arguments and provide evidence to back up your thesis statement. Adverbs of frequency help you illustrate how often something happens, strengthening your points.
  • Nuance and Precision: They add nuance and precision by specifying the frequency of actions, events, or situations you discuss. This shows your understanding of the topic and strengthens your arguments.

Tips to Use Adverb of Frequency in IELTS essays

Here are some tips to leverage adverbs of frequency effectively in your IELTS essays :

Strategic Selection:

  • Match the adverb to the idea: Choose an adverb that accurately reflects how often something happens. Don’t jump to “always” or “never” unless the context demands absolute certainty. “Usually” or “often” might be more appropriate for most situations.
  • Highlight key points: Use adverbs of frequency to emphasize important ideas. For example, “ Rarely do governments invest enough in renewable energy.” This emphasizes the lack of investment.

Adverb of frequency Placement:

  • Standard placement: Follow the standard rules we discussed earlier. After the subject (before the main verb) for one-verb sentences and between auxiliary verbs and the main verb in sentences with helping verbs.
  • Emphasis placement: For emphasis strategically place adverbs like “sometimes,” “often,” “rarely,” or “never” at the beginning or end of the sentence.

Variety is Key:

  • Avoid monotony: Don’t rely on the same few adverbs throughout your essay. Use a range of adverbs to demonstrate your vocabulary and make your writing more engaging.
  • Consider alternatives: Explore synonyms for common adverbs. Instead of “often” you could use “frequently” or regularly. This injects variety and showcases a wider vocabulary.

Precision with Time Expressions:

  • Combine with timeframes: For even greater clarity, pair adverbs of frequency with time expressions. For example “Governments often review environmental regulations every two years.” This specifies the frequency and timeframe.

Format: Use the appropriate format for your essay type.

  • Academic (5 Paragraphs): Introduction, Body Paragraph 1, Body Paragraph 2, Body Paragraph 3 and Conclusion.
  • General Training (4 Paragraphs): Introduction, Body Paragraph 1, Body Paragraph 2 and Conclusion.
  • Logical Flow: Ensure your ideas flow smoothly from one paragraph to the next. Each body paragraph should focus on a specific point supporting your thesis.
  • Transitions: Use transition words and phrases (e.g. – however, furthermore, consequently) to connect your ideas and create a cohesive essay.

Language and Style:

  • Formal Language: Use formal language throughout the essay, avoiding slang or contractions. This demonstrates a more academic writing style.
  • Grammar and Mechanics: Ensure your grammar, spelling, and punctuation are flawless. Even minor errors can detract from your essay’s quality.
  • Vocabulary Range: Showcase your vocabulary by using a variety of words beyond basic ones. This demonstrates your language proficiency.
  • Sentence Variety: Vary your sentence structure to avoid monotony. Use a mix of simple, compound, and complex sentences to keep your writing engaging.
  • Time Management: Allocate time effectively for planning, writing, and proofreading. Don’t get stuck down in one section and leave yourself scrambling to finish.
  • Proofreading: Read through your essay thoroughly to identify and correct any errors. This is crucial for ensuring clarity and professionalism.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Regularly practice writing essays on various topics under timed conditions. This will help you develop your skills and build confidence.
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Adverbs of Frequency in IELTS Essays – FAQs

What is the rule for adverbs of frequency.

Rule 1- Adverbs of frequency are words that tell how often something happens: always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, seldom, never, again, daily. Rule 2- In the sentence, the adverb of frequency usually comes after be but before other verbs.

How many types of adverbs of frequency are there?

The two types of adverbs of frequency are definite and indefinite adverbs of frequency. Definite adverbs of frequency modify the definite frequency of the occurrence of the verb. The indefinite adverbs of frequency describe how often a verb occurs without providing any time frame.

What are the adverbs of manner ielts?

Variety of Manner Adverbs: Manner adverbs encompass a wide range of words that describe different ways of doing something, such as slowly, loudly, gracefully, happily, gently, or skillfully.

What is the objective of adverbs of frequency?

We use adverbs of frequency – like sometimes or usually – to say how often we do things, or how often things happen .

What is the formula for the adverb of manner?

To make adverbs of manner, we usually add -ly to the adjective. For example, quick – quickly. careful – carefully.

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