Problem Solution Essay

Nova A.

Problem-Solution Essay - Writing Guide, Topics, & Examples!

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Published on: Dec 7, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 21, 2023

Problem-Solution Essay

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Feeling stuck when it comes to writing a solid problem-solution essay?

You're not alone—many students find it challenging. This essay type requires careful consideration and skillful execution, which isn’t always easy.

But fret not! This guide is your go-to solution. We've got all the crucial steps, structures, and examples to make essay writing a breeze for you.

So, keep reading!

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What is a Problem-Solution Essay?

A problem-solution essay is a form of persuasive writing that delves into a specific issue, providing a detailed examination of the problem and proposing effective solutions. 

Unlike other essay types, it places a strong emphasis on presenting practical remedies to real-world problems. 

The main aim is not just to explain the problem but to get readers interested in practical solutions. This makes it a unique and impactful type of academic writing.

Why Write a Problem Solution Essay 

There are significant reasons to write a problem solution essay. First and foremost, this type of writing encourages the practical application of knowledge . You are required to address real-world issues and propose practical solutions. This helps develop a deeper sense of the problems around you.

Additionally, this process refines analytical skills , encourages you to approach problems with a solution-oriented mindset.

Also, working on a problem-solution essay helps you become better at communicating . You have to explain complicated problems and solutions in a way that's clear and easy to understand.

Writing problem solution essays is more than just an academic essay exercise. It serves as a platform for intellectual growth, developing a practical and impactful approach to societal challenges.

Problem Solution Essay Structure

In crafting a problem-solution essay, the structure plays a pivotal role in presenting ideas coherently and persuasively. 

Two commonly used structures for this type of essay are the block structure and the chain structure. Each has its unique approach to organizing information, offering writers flexibility in presenting their analysis and proposed solutions.

Block Structure

The block structure, also known as the whole-to-whole or one-side-at-a-time structure, is a straightforward organizational method. 

In this type of structure, the writer dedicates separate blocks of text to first presenting the problem comprehensively. The solutions to the problems are presented in the next sections subsequently. 

This structure allows for a clear separation between the problem and solution sections, providing a systematic and easy-to-follow presentation.

Here is an outline for block structure problem-solution essay:

Chain Structure

Contrasting the block structure, the chain structure takes an interconnected approach. 

In this format, the essay addresses a specific problem and promptly proposes a solution. 

The pattern repeats as each problem is introduced, followed immediately by its corresponding solution. This structure aims to maintain a continuous and engaging flow, presenting a transition between problems and solutions. 

Here is a chain structure template:

How to Write a Problem-Solution Essay?

A problem solution essay requires taking a systematic approach. Here are the basic steps for writing this type of essay:

Step 1 - Topic Selection

Choosing the right topic is the first crucial step in writing a problem-solution essay. Pick a real-world issue that genuinely interests you. 

Consider problems that have personal significance or affect your community. The goal is to engage with a problem that allows for meaningful discussion and exploration.

Step 2 - Understanding the Problem

Before diving into solutions, take the time to fully grasp the intricacies of the problem at hand. 

Research the issue thoroughly, aiming to comprehend its various aspects and implications. This step is essential for presenting a well-informed analysis in your essay, ensuring a solid foundation for proposing solutions.

Step 3 - Explore Viable Solutions

Once you've identified and understood the problem, brainstorm possible solutions. 

Think about practical, achievable, and effective ways to address the issue. Consider different angles and perspectives, aiming for solutions that are not only feasible but also have the potential to make a positive impact in real-world scenarios.

Step 4 - Create an Outline

Organize your thoughts and structure your essay by creating a clear outline. 

Allocate specific sections for introducing the problem, proposing solutions, and crafting a conclusion. A well-organized outline serves as a roadmap, guiding you through each step of the writing process.

Step 5 - Write the Introduction

Begin your essay with a captivating introduction . Start with an attention-grabbing hook that draws your reader in. 

Clearly state the problem, emphasizing its significance. Conclude the introduction with a concise thesis statement that outlines the solutions you will explore in the essay.

Step 6 - Craft Body Paragraph

Dedicate individual paragraphs to each problem and its corresponding solution. Elaborate on the details of the problem and present practical solutions. 

Support your ideas with examples, evidence, or real-life scenarios. This section forms the core of your essay, providing a comprehensive exploration of the issues at hand.

Step 7 - Address Possible Objections

Acknowledge and address potential counterarguments to your proposed solutions. 

Anticipating objections adds depth to your essay, showcasing a thorough consideration of alternative viewpoints. By addressing possible objections, you strengthen the overall persuasiveness of your solutions.

Step 8 - Conclude The Essay

Conclude your essay by summarizing the main points without introducing new information. Reinforce the importance of the proposed solutions and leave a lasting impression. 

Consider ending with a call to action or a thought-provoking statement that resonates with your reader. The conclusion should provide a sense of closure to your essay.

Problem-Solution Essay Example 

We know that writing this kind of essay could be a challenge. Here are some problem solution essay samples:

Problem Solution Essay Sample PDF

Financial Problem Solution Essay

Garbage Problem Solution Essay

Problem Solution Essay IELTS

Problem Solution Essay Topics

When picking a topic for your problem-solution essay, think about a few important things. 

Choose something that matters to your audience and is important in society right now. Pick issues that really affect people or communities and need attention. 

Make sure the problem can be realistically solved with practical solutions. Here is a list of problem solution essay topics you can use:

  • Tobacco should be banned to control lung cancer. Discuss.
  • Obesity is caused by genetically modified and processed food. Discuss the solution.
  • Movie scripts should be censored to control violence in youth. Discuss.
  • How to tackle the lack of resources in urban homeless shelters?
  • Government should propose some policies to deal with illegal immigration. Discuss.
  • How can we use social media to improve awareness?
  • Propose some ways to keep your friends and family safe.
  • College students in the United States are overburdened with homework.
  • How to improve the quality of education in high school?
  • Providing equal opportunities to under-privileged children is important. Discuss.

These are some good problem-solution topics that you can tweak to use as your own. 

Problem Solution Essay Checklist

Use this checklist to ensure your problem solution essay is well-crafted and effective:

So, wrapping up, with this guide and checklist, you can now write a problem-solution essay that fulfills its purpose. Just remember to be clear, practical, and interesting. 

But if you still feel unsure or want extra help, our essay writing service is here for you. 

Our experts know how to handle any type of essay, making sure it's top-notch. If you need that extra boost, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We're here to make sure your essay shines and gets the job done.

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Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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The Definitive Guide to Writing a Problem Solution Essay

06 February, 2021

13 minutes read

Author:  Josh Carlyle

In this article, we cover the basics of problem solution essay writing. We will explain what a problem and solution essay is in academic and straightforward terms. We shall also cover the four essential components that make this essay coherent. With these four components in mind, we will offer guidance on the outline structure and provide some general writing tips on research and problem solving, as well as some topics and essay samples.

Problem Solution Essay

What is a Problem Solution Essay?

A problem solution essay is a staple of humanities and social science subjects. These essays cover a pressing issue, examine how it causes problems, and offer solutions to these problems. The topic for problem solution essay papers can be incredibly diverse. The problem could be local, regional, or global. It could affect a wide range of people or be part of the discourse on an arcane and obscure aspect of computing.

problem solution essay

If you are wondering how to write a problem solution essay, look no further than its name. The core of a problem solution essay is in the title. In this type of essay, a problem is presented, and a solution is offered. Doing this well requires presenting the issue in an audience-appropriate way and then offering solutions that thoroughly negate any critiques of those solutions. 

4 Components of a Problem Solution Essay

In a problem and solution essay, the following aspects must be included:  

  • The Situation: this opening part is where the foundation of the problem lies. It is not an introduction in the sense that you may be familiar with or an abstract that covers the entirety of your thesis. Rather, it is a short and straightforward briefing that will make a layperson familiar with the situation at hand.
  • The Problem: this part provides specifics of the problem. Detailed dissections of evidence take place here; we’ll summarise those later in the evaluation section. 
  • The Solution: this component covers push-back specific solutions you may encounter. Part of a correct answer is thinking of your opponents’ perspectives and ensuring that they address their assumptions and points.
  • The Evaluation: in this section, it is crucial to write with brevity and wit; this will make your position memorable. Readers will often remember the last part of essays they read, so make sure it represents a microcosm of your essay as a whole. 

These components are the essence of the structure required in a problem solution essay. The actual structure you will work with will require a finer granulation of sections. For instance, in the solution section, the critiques will also need to have a review applied, demonstrating their lack of applicability or irrelevance. 

Problem Solution Essay Outline

The best guide for a problem solution essay outline is the four components mentioned above. Cover the situation, the problem, the solution, and then evaluate both or all sides of the story. 

To drill down further into the outline, you should have an introduction that will set out your paper’s structure. Then you should present the situation. Keep this section free from emotive language. Use it to ensure the reader has all the facts, and imagine that you want everyone reading the paper to be on a level playing field in terms of knowledge and framing of the problem.

In the problem section, you must explain why there is a particular issue. At this point in your essay, ensure that you do not leave the door open to other causes of the problem. Find ways to make the problem something that the reader cares about and wants to solve, but beware of assuming the reader is on your side simply because you’ve said some things and made some points. 

Once the situation has been explained, and the problem elucidated, present your solution. It  should use evidence, and you should be able to explain how it directly relates to the question.  Don’t use ad hominem attacks or go polemic. Unravel the problem with your solution. Take it to step by step and keep your writing composed.

In the evaluation section, you should find your argument’s weaknesses and the views that find fault with your solution.

How To Find Solutions to Your Problems

You can find solutions to your problems by researching them; someone will have asked the question before, or one very similar to it. You can talk to your peers and even conduct polls on social media to gauge the public’s position on various solutions. 

Another way of finding solutions include flipping your perspective. Take the position of the other side and see the world through their gaze. By putting yourself in the opponent’s shoes, you can see weaknesses in your ideas and perhaps adjust them to take on more relevance to more people or factor in an aspect that you had overlooked.

Ultimately, the best way to find solutions is to read and read some more. Try looking in your library if you prefer books to the internet, but don’t leave Google out of it. Using the search engine correctly, you can dig up all kinds of books, papers, and presentations that will be very useful in your studies.

Problem Solution Essay Topics

The list of problem solution essay topics is very long. As mentioned earlier, the problem can be a local issue, affecting a specific demographic or being universal. Regardless of the topic you choose, there are another million waiting for an answer.

To start you off, the climate crisis is an excellent area for debate. 

  • How do we deal with stranded assets in the fossil fuel industry and financial sector? 
  • What should the laws be surrounding new cars run on petrol and diesel? 
  • How should electrification be carried out in developing nations? Is a carbon tax a viable way to reduce emissions? 

Other problem solution essay ideas might include social media’s effect on dopamine levels, gerrymandering in electoral districts, or the working week’s length. 

Problem Solution Essay Examples

Reading previous papers is a fantastic method to improve your grades. Study essays that get top marks and some of the ones which get lower marks. The difference will be apparent in their vocabulary, logic, and evidence. Read a few problem solution essay sample papers but don’t plagiarize them; always cite your sources. Here are a few examples to help you get started:  

Writing Tips for a Problem Solution Essay

An essay is a complex task to complete. That’s why it’s useful to break down the whole into several steps. 

Step one is to conduct some thorough research and planning. If you have free choice over the problem at hand, then start by brainstorming some groups you belong to and decide whether they’re officially mandated ones like a sports team or a club, or broader, like your sex, gender, nationality, or language grouping.

After this, jot down some issues in the groups. Are you struggling to manage the payment plan for your sports hall? Has there been an instance of bullying or shaming in your school? With the topic in mind, move onto research. 

When researching your topic, it’s always useful to remember that there is nothing new under the sun. It is almost definite that similar problems have arisen before, and most solutions already exist.

Then, conduct and compose a literature review on the topic. A literature review is an excellent addition to your essay as a standalone section. It helps to situate your issue within the world and builds relations to other similar problems. 

You may think you have nothing to say about the problem or find it hard to justify your opinion. Well, in the problem solution essay, your voice matters. Always try to back up what you’re saying through evidence and try not to stray into writing a polemic. Yet, passion and emotion are useful tools for framing the problem. Just try not to make these responses the whole essay.

As far as solving problems goes, you can use some general mechanics to come up with solutions. The following paragraphs will present some of these logical mechanics; feel free to use them in your writing:

  • Add something new: this solution works when something is lacking. The problem may be a lack of funding, equipment, or motivation. The assumed problem when using this angle of attack is that there is a lack of resources available. Concrete examples of this could include more teaching assistants in education, longer opening hours at a library, or more significant legislation to protect the environment.
  • Remove something: this is the inverse of the previous point. Inversing is a useful strategy for thinking about problems in general. If something is too crowded or too busy, it might be a solution to limit exposure to something and devise a solution. 
  • Education: learning is a more specific aspect of ‘adding something’; it presupposes that a lack of information and awareness is the cause of the problem. If people had this knowledge, the theory goes that the issue would disappear or reduce because people could make informed decisions and correct their behavior.
  • Enforcement: if something like school rules, or even the law, is being ignored, proper enforcement might be a solution. Enforcement has its own sets of problems. This angle is an excellent way to write an unfolding and varied essay as it requires lots of discussion around proper enforcement. Making people do things they don’t want to do is a tricky situation and is riddled with structural and psychological issues.
  • Compromising: proposing compromise through mediation or bi-partisan effort is another complex solution. To work effectively, it has to involve people who possess robust negotiation techniques. But settlements happen all the time, so they’re a powerful solution to many problems. It may be useful to learn about zero-sum and relative issues to argue this case correctly.
  • A change in leadership: leaders can become stale and cumbersome; they may get weighed down by responsibility and have a low tolerance for change. Although, many problems require systemic changes, such as the climate crisis. With an established leader in charge, progress could be slow as they may be blinkered by their position. In this case, they are proposing an election or vote of confidence as a solution that can break the deadlock and offer people a chance to voice their concerns through voting.

One could surmise that the problem and solution essay is an incredibly relevant style of writing. By dissecting an issue and coming up with solutions, you learn a skill that is useful in many careers and practices. But writing one effectively requires both passion and perseverance; writing about topics that move us, though letting the fire burn too brightly, can put readers off or lead them to ignore their blind spots. 

Follow the structures set out above and make sure to proofread your essays before submission. Finding a good editor is always a positive step; they can help to rephrase your words so that your argument comes across more fluently. 

Writing drafts is good practice, although not always possible due to time constraints. Ideally, you should work through two drafts before submitting a final piece; if the essay makes up a small part of your overall grade, adjust the drafting process accordingly. 

Write a Problem Solution Essay with HandmadeWriting

Problem solution writing has been speaking truth to power for millennia. HandmadeWriting loves seeking solutions as much as it loves a simple academic essay or lab report. It’s hard to become a good essay writer without getting critical at times. That’s why we pride ourselves on producing some of the most compelling content around. So be the next one to enjoy our writing and get an A+ for it.

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Problem-solution essays Situation-problem-solution-evaluation

Problem-solution essays are a common essay type, especially for short essays such as subject exams or IELTS . The page gives information on what they are , how to structure this type of essay, and gives an example problem-solution essay on the topic of obesity and fitness levels.

What are problem-solution essays?


Problem-solution essays consider the problems of a particular situation, and give solutions to those problems. They are in some ways similar to cause and effect essays , especially in terms of structure (see below). Problem-solution essays are actually a sub-type of another type of essay, which has the following four components:

The 'situation' may be included in the essay prompt, in which case it will not be needed in the main body. If it is needed, it can often be included in the introduction, especially for short essays, as with the example essay below . The 'evaluation' may be included as part of the conclusion (also as in the example below), or omitted altogether, especially for short essays. For these reasons, problem-solution essays are more common than situation-problem-solution-evaluation essays (or SPSE essays).

There are two main ways to structure a problem-solution essay. These are similar to the ways to structure cause and effect essays , namely using a block or a chain structure. For the block structure, all of the problems are listed first, and all of the solutions are listed afterwards. For the chain structure, each problem is followed immediately by the solution to that problem. Both types of structure have their merits. The former is generally clearer, especially for shorter essays, while the latter ensures that any solutions you present relate directly to the problems you have given.

The two types of structure, block and chain , are shown in the diagram below. This is for a short essay, which includes the 'situation' in the introduction and 'evaluation' in the conclusion. A longer essay, for example one of around 1,000 words, with citations , would probably have these two sections as separate paragraphs in the main body.

Example essay

Below is a problem-solution essay on the topic of obesity and poor fitness . It uses the block structure . Click on the different areas (in the shaded boxes) to highlight the different structural aspects in this essay, i.e. Situation, Problem, Solution, Evaluation. This will highlight not simply the paragraphs, but also (for problems and solutions) the thesis statement and summary , as these repeat the problems and solutions contained in the main body.

Consumption of processed and convenience foods and our dependence on the car have led to an increase in obesity and reduction in the fitness level of the adult population. In some countries, especially industrialized ones, the number of obese people can amount to one third of the population. This is significant as obesity and poor fitness lead to a decrease in life expectancy , and it is therefore important for individuals and governments to work together to tackle this issue and improve their citizens' diet and fitness. Obesity and poor fitness decrease life expectancy. Overweight people are more likely to have serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, which can result in premature death. It is well known that regular exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, which means that those with poor fitness levels are at an increased risk of suffering from those problems. Changes by individuals to their diet and their physical activity can increase life expectancy. There is a reliance today on the consumption of processed foods, which have a high fat and sugar content. By preparing their own foods, and consuming more fruit and vegetables, people could ensure that their diets are healthier and more balanced, which could lead to a reduction in obesity levels. In order to improve fitness levels, people could choose to walk or cycle to work or to the shops rather than taking the car. They could also choose to walk up stairs instead of taking the lift. These simple changes could lead to a significant improvement in fitness levels. Governments could also implement initiatives to improve their citizens' eating and exercise habits. This could be done through education, for example by adding classes to the curriculum about healthy diet and lifestyles. Governments could also do more to encourage their citizens to walk or cycle instead of taking the car, for instance by building more cycle lanes or increasing vehicle taxes. While some might argue that increased taxes are a negative way to solve the problem, it is no different from the high taxes imposed on cigarettes to reduce cigarette consumption. In short, obesity and poor fitness are a significant problem in modern life, leading to lower life expectancy . Individuals and governments can work together to tackle this problem and so improve diet and fitness . Of the solutions suggested, those made by individuals themselves are likely to have more impact, though it is clear that a concerted effort with the government is essential for success. With obesity levels in industrialized and industrializing countries continuing to rise, it is essential that we take action now to deal with this problem.

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An Ultimate Guide to Writing IELTS Problem Solution Essays

Janice Thompson

Updated On Nov 08, 2023

An Ultimate Guide to Writing IELTS Problem Solution Essays

Limited-Time Offer : Access a FREE 10-Day IELTS Study Plan!

  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Identifying IELTS Problem Solution Essays
  • 3 How to Write a Problem Solution Essay IELTS?
  • 4.0.1 Problem Solution Essay Example with Structure
  • 4.0.2 Introduction:
  • 4.0.3 Body Paragraph 1:
  • 4.0.4 Body Paragraph 2:
  • 4.0.5 Conclusion:
  • 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in IELTS Problem Solution Essays
  • 6 Tips for IELTS Problem Solution Essays
  • 7 Problem Solution Essay IELTS Topics:


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.

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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


  • 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 :


  • 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.

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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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Composition Type: Problem-Solution Essays

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In composition , using a problem-solution format is a method for analyzing and writing about a topic by identifying a problem and proposing one or more solutions. A problem-solution essay is a type of argument. "This sort of essay involves argumentation in that the writer seeks to convince the reader to take a particular course of action. In explaining the problem, it may also need to persuade the reader concerning specific causes" (Dave Kemper et al., "Fusion: Integrated Reading and Writing," 2016).

The Thesis Statement

In many types of report writing, the thesis statement is posed front and center, in one sentence. Author Derek Soles writes about how the thesis statement in a problem-solution paper differs from a straight "report of findings" type of text:

"[One]  expository  mode is the problem-solution essay, topics for which are typically framed in the form of questions. Why did fourth-graders from poor families score low on a nationwide math test, and how can educators improve math education for this group? Why is Iran a threat to our national security, and how can we reduce this threat? Why did it take the Democratic Party so long to select a candidate for the 2008 presidential election, and what can the party do to make the process more efficient in the future? These essays have two parts: a full explanation of the nature of the problem, followed by an analysis of solutions and their likelihood of success."
("The Essentials of Academic Writing," 2nd ed. Wadsworth, Cengage, 2010)

Readers need additional context before you get to your thesis, but that is not to say that the thesis has to be posed as a question in the introduction:  

"In a problem-solution essay, the thesis statement usually proposes the solution. Because readers must first understand the problem, the thesis statement usually comes after a description of the problem. The thesis statement does not have to give details about the solution. Instead, it summarizes the solution. It should also lead naturally to the body of the essay, preparing your reader for a discussion of how your solution would work."
(Dorothy Zemach and Lynn Stafford-Yilmaz, "Writers at Work: The Essay." Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Sample Introductions

It can be helpful to see completed examples before writing in order to examine what makes for an effective piece. See how these introductions give some context before posing the topic and lead naturally into the body paragraphs, where the evidence will be listed. You can imagine how the author has organized the rest of the piece.

"We buried my cousin last summer. He was 32 when he hanged himself from a closet coat rack in the throes of alcoholism, the fourth of my blood relatives to die prematurely from this deadly disease. If America issued drinking licenses, those four men—including my father, who died at 54 of liver failure—might be alive today."
(Mike Brake, "Needed: A License to Drink."  Newsweek , March 13, 1994)
"America is suffering from overwork. Too many of us are too busy, trying to squeeze more into each day while having less to show for it. Although our growing time crunch is often portrayed as a personal dilemma, it is, in fact, a major social problem that has reached crisis proportions over the past twenty years."
(Barbara Brandt, "Whole Life Economics: Revaluing Daily Life." New Society, 1995)
"The modern-day apartment dweller is faced with a most annoying problem: paper-thin walls and sound-amplifying ceilings. To live with this problem is to live with the invasion of privacy. There is nothing more distracting than to hear your neighbors' every function. Although the source of the noise cannot be eliminated, the problem can be solved."
(Maria B. Dunn, "One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor: The Problem of Noise")


In "Passages: A Writer's Guide, " how to organize a problem-solution paper is explained:  

"Though to some extent [your organization of the paper] depends on your topic, do make sure that you include the following information:
Introduction: Identify the problem in a nutshell. Explain why this is a problem, and mention who should be concerned about it.
Problem Paragraph(s): Explain the problem clearly and specifically. Demonstrate that this is not just a personal complaint, but a genuine problem that affects many people.
"Solution Paragraph(s): Offer a concrete solution to the problem, and explain why this is the best one available. You may want to point out why other possible solutions are inferior to yours. If your solution calls for a series of steps or actions to be followed, present these steps in a logical order.
"Conclusion: Reemphasize the importance of the problem and the value of your solution. Choose a problem that you have experienced and thought about—one that you have solved or are in the process of solving. Then, in the essay itself, you may use your own experience to illustrate the problem. However, don't focus all the attention on yourself and on your troubles. Instead, direct the essay at others who are experiencing a similar problem. In other words, don't write an I essay ('How I Cure the Blues'); write a you essay ('How You Can Cure the Blues')."
(Richard Nordquist, Passages: A Writer's Guide , 3rd ed. St. Martin's Press, 1995)
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Problem/Solution Essays

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In this chapter you will write a problem/solution essay. To write a problem/solution essay, think about a problem that you have experienced and how it could be fixed.

A problem/solution essay is written to explain the solution(s) for a problem. This essay can describe multiple solutions or one “ideal” solution to the problem you describe.

solution problem essay

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How to Write a “Problem and Solution” Essay for IELTS Task 2

In this tutorial, we look at an example of a problem and solution essay for IELTS writing.

What is a “problem and solution” essay?

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.

As with an opinion essay in task 2 , there is no right or wrong answer. What is being tested is your competence in writing English, not your skills as a policy-maker!

Basic Elements of a Problem-Solution Essay

A problem-solution essay has some key elements.

  • First, it must identify a problem.
  • Second, it must propose one or more solutions to that problem.
  • Third, it must explain why the proposed solution is the best option.

Before you start writing a problem-solution essay, it's important to first understand the problem. What are the causes of the problem? What are its effects? Once you have a clear understanding of the problem, you can begin to brainstorm solutions.

The Introduction

The introduction to a problem and solution essay should briefly state:

  • The problem
  • Explain why it needs to be solved.
  • A brief summary of the proposed solution.
  • A strong statement that sets out the purpose of the essay.

Body paragraphs

Body paragraphs are where you develop the solution to your problem. In a problem and solution essay, your body paragraphs will need to discuss

  • The feasibility of your solution
  • Its potential benefits and drawbacks.
  • How your solution will impact different groups of people.

When writing your body paragraphs, it is important to keep your argument clear and concise. Be sure to support your claims with evidence, and always keep your reader in mind. Remember, the goal of a problem and solution essay is to offer a practical solution to a real-world problem.

The conclusion

The conclusion of a problem and solution essay should be concise and to the point. It should restate the main points of the essay and leave the reader with a sense of closure.

Examples of “problem and solution” essay questions

  • “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 waste plastic. 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 altogether?”

How are “problem and solution” essay questions structured?

Each of the questions above has something in common.

Each of them begins by stating a problem, asks about the causes (or sometimes about the effects) of the problem, and then asks you to propose the solution. As the name of this essay type suggests, they fall essentially into two parts:

  • the problem
  • the solution

How to structure your answer

There are many different ways to structure a problem-solution essay. But no matter how you choose to organize your essay, it will need to have three essential elements:

  • An introduction that clearly states the problem and your proposed solution.
  • A body that discusses the various causes of the problem and the merits of your proposed solution.
  • A conclusion that summarizes the main points of your argument and reiterates your solution.

As usual, the structure of the question should give you your cue for how to structure your answer.

Problem-and-solution essays fall naturally into two parts, the first describing and exploring the problem, the second setting out the solution or solutions.

For these purposes, treat questions about the causes or effects of problems as part of the description of the problem itself.

Let’s take a concrete example from the series of examples which I gave earlier. “Loneliness is an increasing problem in many societies, especially among the elderly. Why is this? How might it be remedied?”

Here there are in fact two questions, a question about the cause of the problem (“Why is this?”) and a question about possible solutions to it.

This indicates how the essay should be structured.

  • First describe the problem, including its causes. (Remember, questions about the causes or effects of the problem should be included as part of its description.)
  • Then, in a second paragraph, offer your account of its solution.

How to describe the problem in your essay (with examples)

The first thing to do is simply to state the problem, with examples or illustrative descriptions, if possible. One can begin simply by restating the problem. A good opening sentence, for example, might run as follows:

“Loneliness is an increasingly acute problem in most societies. The problem affects all age groups and social classes, but especially the poor and the elderly.”

With this opening sentence, you have not only restated the problem.

  • You have also added to it, giving a qualitatively richer description.
  • You have made it clear that the problem is not confined to the elderly, but also affects other age groups too.
  • You have also introduced the question of social class.

Try to develop your description of the problem a little bit more. For example, what is the problem (in this case, loneliness) like for those who experience it? What are its consequences?

“Not only is loneliness in and of itself an unhappy state, but it also weakens the ties between family and friends which hold society together.” “Loneliness is not only a social problem, but, potentially, a medical one: it can lead to poor physical and mental health.”

You now have a fuller, qualitatively richer description of the problem. Good! This could be expanded further, but the approach to take is clear. Now it is time to move on to the question of causes, which you should treat as part of the description of the problem. Single-cause or “monocausal” explanations are sometimes less persuasive than explanations which take into account a variety of factors.

Here is an example of an attempt to address the question of the causes of loneliness in modern societies.

“The causes of increased loneliness in modern societies are not completely certain. Amongst them might be included: the disappearance of many traditional occupations; the decline of public transport links; and the rise of modern cultural technologies.”

The answer starts by admitting uncertainty. It is an indicator of strength to be able to concede limitations to one’s knowledge.

How to suggest solutions in your essay

There is more that could be said here, but it is time to move on to proposing solutions. Remember that you are not limited to any single solution. It is quite in order for you to suggest a number of solutions. This is possible even if the suggested solutions seem to conflict with each other. You are simply being asked to canvass one or more possible solutions.

Let’s consider how this might work in this particular case, with the problem of loneliness. You might begin with a general statement like this:

“Because there are a number of causes at work in the problem of loneliness, it is unlikely that any single solution will by itself be sufficient.”

This sentence does two things:

  • it connects the first part of your essay to the second part, and
  • it prepares the reader for the fact that you will offer a number of solutions to the problem.
“One immediate practical solution is to improve public transport links. This would enable family members and friends in different cities to visit each other more easily.” “But if, as we have seen, the causes of the problem are more deeply-rooted, we may need to consider structural solutions.” “For example, can we change the way in which work is organized in our society so that people more often work together and face-to-face?”

Here you have done something quite important: you have made a qualitative, rather than a merely episodic, distinction between your different points. In other words, the structure of your argument now appears logically motivated rather than merely accidental. You have begun with an immediately achievable practical solution, and have gone on to discuss a more ambitious and more general one.

VIDEO: Model Answers to recent "Problem/Solution" essay questions

In this tutorial, we have begun to learn how to

  • write a “problem-and-solution” essay.
  • structure the essay clearly into two complementary parts, as well as how to link those parts.
  • structure the argument internally so that it appears logical rather than merely episodic.

Take a look at some task 2 sample essay questions to help you prepare all kinds of topics for the IELTS exam .

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many paragraphs are in a problem-solution essay.

A problem-solution essay is are usually written in five paragraphs, with each paragraph addressing a different aspect of the problem or solution.

How do you start a problem-solution essay?

To start a problem-solution essay, you need to first understand the problem. What are some of the main causes of the problem? Once you have a good understanding of the problem, you can start brainstorming solutions. After you have brainstormed some solutions, you can start writing your essay.

How do you end a problem solution essay?

Your conclusion should briefly summarize the main points of the essay and emphasize the importance of solving the problem.

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Problem Solution Essay

Caleb S.

Learn How to Write a Problem Solution Essay in No Time

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Published on: Feb 1, 2022

Last updated on: Nov 30, 2023

Problem Solution Essay

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Are you facing difficulties when it comes to writing problem solution essays? 

You're not alone!                          It's a critical skill to master, as these essays provide opportunities to address real-world issues and propose practical solutions.

Well, is here to save the day!

In this blog, we will provide you with invaluable insights, expert tips, and a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the challenges of problem solution essays.

With our comprehensive strategies and examples, you'll learn to craft powerful essays that propose innovative solutions and captivate your readers.

Get ready to conquer the essay-writing battlefield and make a difference with your words.

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What is a Problem Solution Essay?

A problem-solution essay is a type of academic writing that requires the writer to analyze a problem, propose a viable solution, and support their ideas with relevant evidence. 

The primary objective of this essay is to address real-world issues and provide practical solutions to those problems.

In a problem-solution essay, the writer typically begins by describing the problem, highlighting its severity and impact. The writer then proposes a solution to the problem, providing a detailed explanation of how the solution will work. 

The essay may also include a discussion of the potential challenges or limitations associated with the proposed solution.

Importance Of Problem Solution Essays

Problem-solution essays play a crucial role in academia and beyond. Here are some reasons why these essays hold significant importance:

  • Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills

Writing a problem-solution essay enhances critical thinking abilities by requiring the writer to deeply analyze and understand complex problems. It encourages the development of analytical skills to assess the root causes, consequences, and potential solutions to a given problem.

  • Practical Application of Knowledge

Problem-solution essays provide an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world issues. By researching and proposing solutions, students bridge the gap between theory and practice, making their education relevant and meaningful.

  • Problem-Solving Mindset

Engaging in problem-solution essays cultivates a problem-solving mindset. It encourages individuals to identify problems, think creatively, and propose effective solutions. This mindset is highly valuable in various academic disciplines, professional settings, and everyday life.

  • Awareness And Social Impact

Problem-solution essays promote awareness of social, environmental, or political issues. By addressing pressing problems and proposing solutions, these essays contribute to raising consciousness and fostering positive change within society.

  • Persuasive Communication

Crafting a compelling problem-solution essay hones persuasive communication skills. Writers must effectively communicate their ideas, present logical arguments, and convince readers of the feasibility and effectiveness of their proposed solutions.

  • Empowerment and Personal Growth

Successfully tackling problem-solution essays instills a sense of empowerment and personal growth. As students overcome challenges and present innovative solutions, they gain confidence, expand their knowledge base, and develop essential skills for future endeavors.

Features of Problem Solution Essay

A problem-solution essay possesses distinct features that set it apart from other essay types. Let's explore some key features of a problem-solution essay:

Problem Identification

The essay begins by clearly identifying and defining the problem . It is essential to provide a comprehensive understanding of the problem, its scope, and its impact on individuals or society. 

The writer should establish the urgency and significance of the problem to capture the reader's attention.

Solution Proposal

The heart of a problem-solution essay lies in proposing a feasible solution.

The writer must present a well-reasoned and practical solution that directly addresses the identified problem. The proposed solution should be logical, realistic, and supported by evidence or expert opinions.

Evidence-Based Approach

A strong problem-solution essay relies on evidence to support the proposed solution. This may include statistical data, research findings, case studies, or expert testimonies. 

The writer should provide convincing evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness and viability of the proposed solution.

Consideration of Limitations

Acknowledging and addressing any potential limitations or challenges associated with the proposed solution is crucial. This demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the problem and a realistic approach to solving it. 

By acknowledging limitations, the writer shows a balanced perspective and invites further discussion or alternative solutions.

Call to Action

A problem-solution essay often concludes with a call to action, urging readers to take steps toward implementing the proposed solution or supporting related initiatives. This call to action encourages readers to reflect on the problem and motivates them to contribute to positive change.

Problem Solution Essay Format

Like other essays, problem-solution essays also follow a format. Creating a problem-solution essay outline will make the essay writing process smoother. 

Have a look at the problem-solution essay structure:

H3- Introduction

An introduction is important because you will not be able to write a good essay without one. You need to describe the problem and then show why it is important. If it is a new or uncommon problem, you will need to explain how it works and its consequences. 

If it is a common problem, you will need to tell us about what happens when the problem isn't solved and how people feel about that. Whatever the case may be, you want to convince readers of its importance.

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  • Brief Thesis Statement

The thesis statement serves as a concise and informative sentence that outlines the main focus of your essay. It provides the readers with an understanding of the knowledge they will gain by reading it.

For example, if you're writing an essay about how to solve a problem, your thesis statement should be: 

"This essay explores the impact of social media on mental health and proposes strategies to promote a healthier digital environment, enabling readers to understand the potential risks and empowering them with effective solutions for maintaining their well-being in the digital age."

You can also add other solutions that did not work before explaining your solution in detail.

An essay usually has three paragraphs, one for each problem and solution. When working on each solution, it is important to review these things:

  • Explain the problem in detail
  • Propose your solution and explain it properly
  • Explain how this will help solve that problem
  • If you want to show why your solution is best, use an expert or personal experience, statistics, other people's work, or examples.


The last part of an essay is as important as the first. It is often the strongest part, and many people think it doesn't matter because it comes at the end. But that's wrong! 

If you don't do a good job on your conclusion, you might fail to earn a good grade. Here are some tips for writing a strong conclusion for your essay: 

  • Make sure that you summarize what was said in your introduction 
  • List the main points of your argument 
  • Give advice to someone who has similar problems

This was all for the Problem solution essay format. Now it’s time to get started to write an essay. 

How to Write a Problem Solution Essay? 5 Easy Steps

A good problem-solution essay should propose a solution that is easy to implement, reasonable, and solves the problem. Make sure your essay stays focused on the main topic. 

Below are steps for writing a good and impressive problem-solution essay.

1. Choose the Topic

Think about the issues that are bothering you. These could be anything, but they need to be big enough for them to affect people. Make a list of these issues or problems that are facing some groups or your community.

2. Think How to Implement Solution

To make a great solution, it needs to be easy to understand and do. Good solutions can be done easily, solve the problem well, and are not expensive.

One of the common ways people try to solve problems is by getting rid of what is causing the problem. 

For example, if someone does drugs, they may stop doing them. It can also help if you educate people about how it works or use advertising to motivate them. 

Final ly, you might be able to change something that is not working, like an old law, or introduce new ones. Of course, there are other solutions too, so think about all of them!

3. Create an Outline

An outline is important in writing. It helps you to remember what you were going to say, and it also tells your readers what they will learn from the essay. When you write an outline, divide the information into sections or paragraphs.

Pick a topic and then add all of your points in order to make the essay easier for the reader.

Here’s a generic outline for a problem solution essay.

4. Start Writing Your Essay

Now the outline is created, it’s time to fit in the extensive detail. A problem-solving essay follows the structur e of having an introd uction paragraph, three supporting body paragraphs, and a concluding one. 

Start adding the details as discussed in the outline section. 

5. Revise Your Essay

The last step in the process of writing an essay is to proofread it. Proofreading means that you go through it a lot of time to ensure there are no mistakes or errors in your essay. 

Ensure that the vocabulary, grammar, spelling, citation, facts, syntax, and format are accurate and appropriate. If you find any errors during this step, then correct them before submitting your essay to your instructor.

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Problem Solution Essay Examples

We know that it can be hard to write this kind of essay. We have a sample essay below to help you understand.

Below are additional examples of problem solution essays that can serve as sources of inspiration for your writing.

Problem Solution Essay Sample pdf

Garbage Problem Solution Essay

Problem Solution Essay Topics

When you write about a problem solution topic, make sure it is something important to you. Usually, people write about things that are happening around them or in the world.

Below are some topics to choose from when writing your essay.

  • What can be done to stop body positivity from going too far?
  • How can we encourage people to adopt children in real life?
  • How can we reduce domestic violence in our society?
  • How to prevent people from drinking alcohol while driving?
  • What are ways to reduce racial violence? 
  • What is the best way to solve cybercrime? 
  • What are the best ways to reduce fraud in real estate deals?
  • How can the government solve the problem of immigrant assimilation in the United States?
  • What steps should the government take to increase voter turnout?
  • What legislation can be used to limit sources of campaign financing for political candidates?

If you're still having trouble writing this type of essay, check out this informative video below.

In conclusion , a problem-solution essay is an effective way to address and propose solutions to issues that affect individuals or society. 

By identifying a problem and presenting supporting evidence, you can inspire readers to take action and contribute to positive change. 

However, if you still think that you could benefit more from professional essay writing aid, we've got your back!

Our team of experienced writers provides a reliable problem solution essay writing service . They will ensure to deliver you a well-written and compelling essay that effectively addresses the identified problem. 

For deadlines that are too close for comfort, consider seeking assistance from our AI essay writing tool . 

So, what are you waiting for? Hire our essay writing service today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to start the solution paragraph in an essay.

The best way to start a solution paragraph in an essay is by explaining the problem and then suggesting people to try it. 

How should I start the first paragraph of a problem-solution essay?

Start your first paragraph by following the below steps: 

  • Telling a story about the problem 
  • Then, describe what happened or your experience with it 
  • End with how you solved it. 

Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

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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 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:

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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: 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:

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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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Problem solution essay

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A problem-solution essay is a type of academic essay that explores a particular issue or challenge, and presents a potential course of action to address it. The purpose of a problem-and-solution essay is to identify a problem or issue, and to provide a practical solution or strategy for resolving it.

With so many unsolved issues, it’s easy to find some good questions for consideration. All you need is to look around or read the news.  Writing a problem and solution essay won’t take much time and effort if you know what details to cover and what order you should follow. By using our ultimate guide, you will be able to compose an excellent and convincing essay with minimal effort. Close social networks and YouTube, spend 5 minutes reading our article to take to any problem solution essay topics like a duck to water. Have a tough deadline? Consider paying someone to write your essay . StudyCrumb experts will deliver a perfect problem and solution essay tailored to your requirements.

What Is a Problem Solution Essay: Definition

A problem and solution essay is a type of academic writing that defines some specific issue and provides steps to solve it. This kind of essay is aimed at assessing a student's ability to find some controversial problem and offer a clear problem-solving strategy.  Your topic should be relatively simple to write about. It’s good if it meets the general public's interests. Some popular topics for this essay include such issues:

  • Environmental pollution
  • Internet addiction
  • Infrastructure
  • Religious issues
  • Social movements.

No matter what topic you choose, it should motivate you to think and look for ways of solving the problem. You should analyze it, study various strategies, and choose which one fits best.  In a problem and solution essay, you can write about more than one problem. However, your solution is only efficient when several subjects in question fall into the same field. Otherwise, it will be difficult to focus on the right solution.

Problem Solution Essay Outline

One of the most important steps of your writing process is creating a problem solution essay outline . Without it, your paper will be unstructured and poorly organized. This is not the case when there is an efficient well-thought-out plan. Writing an outline is crucial on the way to composing a brilliant essay. It will help you stay on point without deviating from the issue. This way, you can save time and effort.  Unlike any other type of writing, a problem and solution essay provides some room for flexibility. You can create an outline using two different methods:

  • Block method
  • Chain method.

Each of these methods have their advantages and can be applied depending on the situation that will be covered. Let’s look at each of these approaches more in detail.  The block outline has the following structure:

Introduction – presents the topic and contains 4-5 short sentences. 

Main body – contains 2-3 paragraphs, each of them beginning with a topic sentence.

Body paragraph  

Body paragraph 

Conclusion – sums up all main points. 

Block method allows you to look at multiple problems or solutions using separate paragraphs. However, mastering this approach at first may be somewhat difficult.    The chain method is more appropriate if you want to focus on some unified idea within one body paragraph. Here’s an example of chain outline:


Body paragraph 1

Body paragraph 2

This approach helps you explore an issue step-by-step. For this reason, it may be easier for beginners. 

How to Write a Problem Solution Essay

Now, it’s time that we learn how to write a problem and solution essay. Further, we will tell you about the best way of doing it. Below, you will find detailed information on perfecting each section of your essay. We will specifically shed more light on:

  • Acquaintance with the problem’s background
  • Description of the issue’s specifics
  • Explanation why it should be solved
  • Suggested solution and assessment
  • Call to action .

Let’s learn the secrets of writing a successful essay firsthand! 

How to Start a Problem Solution Essay: Introduction

The first section is a problem solution essay introduction. It should include such components:

  • Thesis statement.

Your opening paragraph should specify an issue, as well as provide some background information. Think over the first sentence that will captivate your readers. Everything must be clear from the very first lines. If one gets your idea at once, it’s almost in the bag. It may take some time to come up with a catchy hook, but you will be rewarded with an A+. Consider rare statistics, any little-known fact, or some hype information.  Remember that your second and third sentences should naturally flow into further discussion. Develop your idea by introducing some context. By the way, you can write an introduction after the rest of your essay is complete. Just make sure you have a thesis statement. After all, it’s the ground of your essay. All main points should be related to your thesis.

How to Write an Outstanding Problem Solution Essay Body

The next part in the problem and solution essay is the main body. Here, you should suggest ways of solving the issue. It would be great if you analyzed probable consequences of problem-solving actions. You should support why you think the specific measures are necessary and what they will result in.  Usually, the main body of a problem and solution essay includes 3 paragraphs. Every body paragraph focuses on different aspects:

  • Discuss an issue and offer your solution
  • Explain why your strategy will work
  • Provide some counter argument and refute it.

Argumentation is essential. By using it, you can convince readers that your strategy is correct. There is a good way to make powerful arguments. You should start with a statement, followed by an explanation. Back up your point of view with supportive examples. Then comes your final judgment. You can create transitions between paragraphs to make it easier for readers to follow a train of thought.

How to Write a Conclusion for a Problem Solution Essay

Congratulations! You’ve reached the last stage – a problem and solution essay conclusion. It usually contains 4-5 sentences summarizing your reasoning. In this part, you can make a general conclusion. It should include strong statements about what has been written.  You can rephrase your thesis statement and share your final thoughts. The goal of the last part is to draw a complete picture and make readers think. Your last paragraph shouldn’t contain any fundamentally new facts – only a general summary of points mentioned above. Try StudyCrumb’s summarizer tool if you have challenges ending your problem and solution writing. Your writing style in conclusion must always correspond to the style of your entire essay. Don’t try to stay on the safe side by using such phrases as “in my humble opinion”, “I am not an expert, but”. Readers will see them as excuses and uncertainty, which you definitely don’t want. What they should understand is that your essay is over and there is a logical conclusion.

Problem Solution Essays Examples

It is important to study a problem solution essay example before writing your own work. This way, you will be able to assess all the aspects and see how other authors coped with a similar task. You can borrow an exact structure or method of handling the situation.  Our examples won’t replace your essay. You shouldn’t copy or assign them to yourself. Focus on creating unique and useful content.


Problem and Solution Essay: Writing and Proofreading Tips

You will be able to become a master of writing a problem and solution essay by following these great tips:

  • After finishing your work, leave your paper for a while. Later, you will be able to return to it and assess it with a fresh approach.
  • Check whether you’ve used all the above-mentioned components.
  • Make sure that your thesis clearly states your paper’s topic.
  • Perform in-depth research on your issue and explore existing resolutions.
  • Ensure that your solutions are realistic and can be implemented.
  • Use special tools to “grade my essay” and check whether your spelling and punctuation are correct.
  • Ask your relative, family member, or friend to proofread your work. A couple of extra eyes will ensure that there are no logical and grammatical errors.

You should also pay attention to the paper formatting style. Use the same font and text style throughout your essay.

Problem/ Solution Essay: Bottom Line

As you can see, there is nothing super hard about writing a problems and solution essay. Hopefully, our detailed guide will help you complete your assignment. Of course, you should be ready to test which approach works best for you. After all, you should strive for continuous improvement. 


You can always rely on our top-notch academic writing service. We guarantee high quality, efficiency, affordable prices, and timely delivery. Order your paper now to succeed tomorrow!


Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.


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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.


solution problem essay

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.

solution problem essay

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.

solution problem essay

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


  • 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. 


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.

solution problem essay

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

Finished IELTS problem solution essay.

solution problem essay

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

Other Related Pages

IELTS Writing Test  – Understand the format & marking criteria, know what skills are assessed & learn the difference between the Academic & General writing tests.

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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.

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.

More Task 2 IELTS Lessons:

solution problem essay

IELTS Task Response - 25% of your essay grade

The IELTS Task Response criteria in the scoring makes up 25% of your band score for your essay.

solution problem essay

Using Pronouns to Improve IELTS Essay Coherency

Find out how to use pronouns to improve your coherency for IELTS task 2 essays.

IELTS Music Essay: Understanding a Complex Question

An IELTS essay about music is used to show you how to answer a more complex IELTS essay question that does not have a clear 'task' given to you.

Improving Writing Coherence for IELTS essays

25% of the writing grade is on how you organise your essay so this lesson shows you how to improve your writing coherence.

Thesis Statement Tips for IELTS Essays

Your thesis statement in an IELTS essay should be written quickly and concisely. Use these tips to do that.

How to use brainstorming and planning to generate essay ideas.

Brainstorming and planning is a key step in developing your IELTS essay. This lesson has tips on how to coming up with ideas and organising them.

How to Identify the Task in an IELTS Essay

Learn how to identify the task in an IELTS task 2 essay question. This is one of the most important steps in responding to an essay question.

How to Write an IELTS Essay: The key steps

Learn key steps on how to write an IELTS Essay. This guides you on how to write a great essay plus other lessons to improve your writing skills.

Requirements for IELTS Band 7 in Writing

Getting to an IELTS Band 7 is a struggle for many candidates. This lesson explains exactly what you have to do to reach this band score.

Using Substitution in IELTS to Improve Writing Coherency

You can use substitution in your IELTS essays in order to improve coherency and coherence.

How to Identify the Topic of an IELTS Essay Question

In IELTS you must identify the topic of your essay as this is a key to making sure your essay is on topic.

Transitional Phrases for Essays

Learn transitional phrases for essays to get a band 7 or higher in your IELTS writing for coherence and cohesion.

Paragraph Writing for IELTS: Building strong arguments

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Problem/Solution Essays

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In this chapter you will write a problem/solution essay. To write a problem/solution essay, think about a problem that you have experienced and how it could be fixed.

A problem/solution essay is written to explain the solution(s) for a problem. This essay can describe multiple solutions or one “ideal” solution to the problem you describe.

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Opinion Joe Biden: The U.S. won’t back down from the challenge of Putin and Hamas

Joe Biden is president of the United States.

Today, the world faces an inflection point, where the choices we make — including in the crises in Europe and the Middle East — will determine the direction of our future for generations to come.

What will our world look like on the other side of these conflicts?

Will we deny Hamas the ability to carry out pure, unadulterated evil? Will Israelis and Palestinians one day live side by side in peace, with two states for two peoples?

Will we hold Vladimir Putin accountable for his aggression, so the people of Ukraine can live free and Europe remains an anchor for global peace and security?

And the overarching question: Will we relentlessly pursue our positive vision for the future, or will we allow those who do not share our values to drag the world to a more dangerous and divided place?

Read this op-ed in Arabic.

Both Putin and Hamas are fighting to wipe a neighboring democracy off the map. And both Putin and Hamas hope to collapse broader regional stability and integration and take advantage of the ensuing disorder. America cannot, and will not, let that happen. For our own national security interests — and for the good of the entire world.

The United States is the essential nation. We rally allies and partners to stand up to aggressors and make progress toward a brighter, more peaceful future. The world looks to us to solve the problems of our time. That is the duty of leadership, and America will lead. For if we walk away from the challenges of today, the risk of conflict could spread, and the costs to address them will only rise. We will not let that happen.

That conviction is at the root of my approach to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue to defend their freedom against Putin’s brutal war.

We know from two world wars in the past century that when aggression in Europe goes unanswered, the crisis does not burn itself out. It draws America in directly. That’s why our commitment to Ukraine today is an investment in our own security. It prevents a broader conflict tomorrow.

We are keeping American troops out of this war by supporting the brave Ukrainians defending their freedom and homeland. We are providing them with weapons and economic assistance to stop Putin’s drive for conquest, before the conflict spreads farther.

The United States is not doing this alone. More than 50 nations have joined us to ensure that Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself. Our partners are shouldering much of the economic responsibility for supporting Ukraine. We have also built a stronger and more united NATO , which enhances our security through the strength of our allies, while making clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory to deter further Russian aggression. Our allies in Asia are standing with us as well to support Ukraine and hold Putin accountable, because they understand that stability in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific are inherently connected.

We have also seen throughout history how conflicts in the Middle East can unleash consequences around the globe.

We stand firmly with the Israeli people as they defend themselves against the murderous nihilism of Hamas. On Oct. 7, Hamas slaughtered 1,200 people, including 35 American citizens, in the worst atrocity committed against the Jewish people in a single day since the Holocaust. Infants and toddlers, mothers and fathers, grandparents, people with disabilities, even Holocaust survivors were maimed and murdered. Entire families were massacred in their homes . Young people were gunned down at a music festival. Bodies riddled with bullets and burned beyond recognition . And for over a month, the families of more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas, including babies and Americans, have been living in hell , anxiously waiting to discover whether their loved ones are alive or dead. At the time of this writing, my team and I are working hour by hour, doing everything we can to get the hostages released.

And while Israelis are still in shock and suffering the trauma of this attack , Hamas has promised that it will relentlessly try to repeat Oct. 7 . It has said very clearly that it will not stop.

The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own and a future free from Hamas. I, too, am heartbroken by the images out of Gaza and the deaths of many thousands of civilians, including children. Palestinian children are crying for lost parents. Parents are writing their child’s name on their hand or leg so they can be identified if the worst happens. Palestinian nurses and doctors are trying desperately to save every precious life they possibly can, with little to no resources. Every innocent Palestinian life lost is a tragedy that rips apart families and communities.

Our goal should not be simply to stop the war for today — it should be to end the war forever, break the cycle of unceasing violence , and build something stronger in Gaza and across the Middle East so that history does not keep repeating itself.

Just weeks before Oct. 7, I met in New York with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu . The main subject of that conversation was a set of substantial commitments that would help both Israel and the Palestinian territories better integrate into the broader Middle East. That is also the idea behind the innovative economic corridor that will connect India to Europe through the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, which I announced together with partners at the Group of 20 summit in India in early September. Stronger integration between countries creates predictable markets and draws greater investment. Better regional connection — including physical and economic infrastructure — supports higher employment and more opportunities for young people. That’s what we have been working to realize in the Middle East. It is a future that has no place for Hamas’s violence and hate, and I believe that attempting to destroy the hope for that future is one reason that Hamas instigated this crisis.

This much is clear: A two-state solution is the only way to ensure the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. Though right now it may seem like that future has never been further away, this crisis has made it more imperative than ever.

A two-state solution — two peoples living side by side with equal measures of freedom, opportunity and dignity — is where the road to peace must lead. Reaching it will take commitments from Israelis and Palestinians, as well as from the United States and our allies and partners. That work must start now.

To that end, the United States has proposed basic principles for how to move forward from this crisis, to give the world a foundation on which to build.

To start, Gaza must never again be used as a platform for terrorism . There must be no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, no reoccupation, no siege or blockade, and no reduction in territory. And after this war is over, the voices of Palestinian people and their aspirations must be at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza.

As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution. I have been emphatic with Israel’s leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop and that those committing the violence must be held accountable. The United States is prepared to take our own steps, including issuing visa bans against extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank.

The international community must commit resources to support the people of Gaza in the immediate aftermath of this crisis, including interim security measures, and establish a reconstruction mechanism to sustainably meet Gaza’s long-term needs. And it is imperative that no terrorist threats ever again emanate from Gaza or the West Bank.

If we can agree on these first steps, and take them together, we can begin to imagine a different future. In the months ahead, the United States will redouble our efforts to establish a more peaceful, integrated and prosperous Middle East — a region where a day like Oct. 7 is unthinkable.

In the meantime, we will continue working to prevent this conflict from spreading and escalating further. I ordered two U.S. carrier groups to the region to enhance deterrence. We are going after Hamas and those who finance and facilitate its terrorism, levying multiple rounds of sanctions to degrade Hamas’s financial structure, cutting it off from outside funding and blocking access to new funding channels, including via social media. I have also been clear that the United States will do what is necessary to defend U.S. troops and personnel stationed across the Middle East — and we have responded multiple times to the strikes against us.

I also immediately traveled to Israel — the first American president to do so during wartime — to show solidarity with the Israeli people and reaffirm to the world that the United States has Israel’s back. Israel must defend itself. That is its right. And while in Tel Aviv, I also counseled Israelis against letting their hurt and rage mislead them into making mistakes we ourselves have made in the past.

From the very beginning, my administration has called for respecting international humanitarian law, minimizing the loss of innocent lives and prioritizing the protection of civilians. Following Hamas’s attack on Israel, aid to Gaza was cut off, and food, water and medicine reserves dwindled rapidly. As part of my travel to Israel, I worked closely with the leaders of Israel and Egypt to reach an agreement to restart the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance to Gazans. Within days, trucks with supplies again began to cross the border. Today, nearly 100 aid trucks enter Gaza from Egypt each day, and we continue working to increase the flow of assistance manyfold. I’ve also advocated for humanitarian pauses in the conflict to permit civilians to depart areas of active fighting and to help ensure that aid reaches those in need. Israel took the additional step to create two humanitarian corridors and implement daily four-hour pauses in the fighting in northern Gaza to allow Palestinian civilians to flee to safer areas in the south.

This stands in stark opposition to Hamas’s terrorist strategy: hide among Palestinian civilians. Use children and innocents as human shields. Position terrorist tunnels beneath hospitals, schools, mosques and residential buildings. Maximize the death and suffering of innocent people — Israeli and Palestinian. If Hamas cared at all for Palestinian lives, it would release all the hostages, give up arms, and surrender the leaders and those responsible for Oct. 7.

As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a cease-fire is not peace. To Hamas’s members, every cease-fire is time they exploit to rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters and restart the killing by attacking innocents again. An outcome that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza would once more perpetuate its hate and deny Palestinian civilians the chance to build something better for themselves.

And here at home, in moments when fear and suspicion, anger and rage run hard, we have to work even harder to hold on to the values that make us who we are. We’re a nation of religious freedom and freedom of expression. We all have a right to debate and disagree and peacefully protest, but without fear of being targeted at schools or workplaces or elsewhere in our communities.

In recent years, too much hate has been given too much oxygen, fueling racism and an alarming rise in antisemitism in America. That has intensified in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks. Jewish families worry about being targeted in school, while wearing symbols of their faith on the street or otherwise going about their daily lives. At the same time, too many Muslim Americans, Arab Americans and Palestinian Americans, and so many other communities, are outraged and hurting, fearing the resurgence of the Islamophobia and distrust we saw after 9/11.

We can’t stand by when hate rears its head. We must, without equivocation, denounce antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate and bias. We must renounce violence and vitriol and see each other not as enemies but as fellow Americans.

In a moment of so much violence and suffering — in Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and so many other places — it can be difficult to imagine that something different is possible. But we must never forget the lesson learned time and again throughout our history: Out of great tragedy and upheaval, enormous progress can come. More hope. More freedom. Less rage. Less grievance. Less war. We must not lose our resolve to pursue those goals, because now is when clear vision, big ideas and political courage are needed most. That is the strategy that my administration will continue to lead — in the Middle East, Europe and around the globe. Every step we take toward that future is progress that makes the world safer and the United States of America more secure.

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Guest Essay

America Is Having Yet Another Drug Shortage. Here’s Why It Keeps Happening.

solution problem essay

By Emily Tucker

Dr. Tucker is an assistant professor of industrial engineering at Clemson University.

There’s been a bombardment of bad news for drug supplies. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists found this summer that nearly all of the members it surveyed were experiencing drug shortages , which generally affect half a million Americans . Cancer patients have scrambled as supplies of chemotherapy drugs dwindle . Other shortages include antibiotics for treatable diseases, such as the only drug recommended for use during pregnancy to prevent congenital syphilis (a disease that is 11 times more common today than a decade ago), and A.D.H.D. medications , without which people struggle to function in their day-to-day lives. The toll on Americans is heavy.

Over half of the shortages documented this summer by health consulting firm IQVIA had persisted for more than two years. But even though drug shortages affect millions of Americans, policymakers and industry leaders have provided little to no long-term relief for people in need.

Shortages have occurred regularly since at least the early 2000s , when national tracking began. Hundreds of drugs, in every major therapeutic category, have been unavailable for some period. The average drug shortage lasts about 1.5 years . Even when substitute medications are available, they may be suboptimal (for example, deaths by septic shock rose by 10 percent during a 2011 shortage of the first-line medication, norepinephrine) or have spillover effects (such as possibly increasing the risk of antimicrobial resistance ). In addition to harming patients, shortages have cost health systems billions of dollars in increased labor and substitute medications.

It is frustrating that this crisis has lasted decades despite a veritable mountain of research, including hundreds of scholarly investigations ; 10 years of annual Food and Drug Administration reports ; and several congressional hearings, including one as recently as this week . Many Americans are still forced to deal with drug shortages because our generic drug supply chains remain vulnerable to crashing. Any given manufacturing problem, mismatch in supply and demand, discontinuation or natural disaster can lead to a major shortage.

When there is the potential for a shortage, drug manufacturers are required to notify the F.D.A. at least six months in advance or as soon as possible if less lead time is available. Upon being notified, the F.D.A. is supposed to identify and push for alternative sources of drug production, or it may temporarily lower standards on quality so drugs can be made available faster. But crucially, the F.D.A. cannot require manufacturers to produce drugs.

Large hospital chains can readily monitor shortage risks and preemptively place large orders. This panic buying can wipe out inventory, and leave hospitals with fewer resources strapped since they may get notice of a drug shortage only when it’s too late. There is little penalty for over-ordering because unused drugs can often be returned. Some patients in dire need have to rely on nonprofits such as Angels for Change to coordinate with manufacturers, wholesalers and hospitals to secure small orders of emergency supply.

The combination of quality issues and panic buying is precisely what has produced shortages of two major chemotherapy drugs, carboplatin and cisplatin . An F.D.A. inspection last year revealed poor manufacturing practices at a plant that produced these cancer drugs. The manufacturer, Intas Pharmaceuticals, quickly stopped production at the plant. Though there are other manufacturers, panic buying by health providers led to hugely inflated orders, intensifying the supply problem.

The problem is that the generic drug system is built to be fragile. Manufacturers compete against one another for orders from price-conscious health care providers, cutting costs where they can to offer the lowest prices. This leads to a race to the bottom of minimum accepted standards, including a lack of investment in quality systems and limited redundancy.

The F.D.A. has stringent quality standards but has limited reach and is pressured to allow for flexibility whenever there is a risk of shortage. Based on my own conversations in the industry, I find that health care providers and the group purchasing organizations that negotiate contracts on their behalf are generally unwilling to pay more for drugs made on higher quality manufacturing lines or spend money to hold adequate inventory buffers.

Addressing the underlying fragility of our essential drug supply will take structural change and investments. While all industries must grapple with how to build resilient supply chains, the pharmaceutical industry is unique. The people who are most affected by supply chain vulnerabilities — patients — are also those with least say in the choice to buy from reliable manufacturers. When people buy cars, they may pay more based on company reputation, ratings by outside testers and reviews from other customers. In contrast, patients bear the harm of drug shortages, yet they cannot choose the manufacturers of their essential drugs nor evaluate their reliability.

Legislative action is the only real way to ensure the availability of essential medications. After 20 years of drug shortages, it seems clear that markets alone are not the solution. And there are a few specific ways Congress should address drug shortages.

The first is to ensure better quality drug manufacturing. Modernizing manufacturing facilities would make them more reliable and prevent shortages.

The second is to improve the adaptability of drug manufacturing itself. Manufacturers should be able to switch quickly to alternative facilities or to increase production when demand unexpectedly increases.

The last is to maintain buffer inventory of essential medications within our health care system. Having inventory available to allocate to those most in need during shortages would buy time for the system to adapt to supply disruptions or surges in demand.

Policies that address all three areas simultaneously, not just individually, are necessary to truly stem drug shortages. They could be enforced via mandates on essential drug manufacturers or by providing incentives for health systems to purchase from more resilient manufacturers. Increasing domestic manufacturing, part of what the Biden administration is pushing, is not a panacea ; the plants must be high quality and have backup capacity in other locations. Increased transparency about the quality of drug facilities could also help stakeholders identify potential supply chain problems faster.

There is support on both sides of the aisle and from the White House for making changes that will address the drug shortage crisis, though there are disagreements on how to do so. Regardless of the mechanism, it will be important that policies seek to improve Americans’ access to medications. We have accepted the cheap deal of unreliable essential drug supply chains for too long, leaving patients in the lurch when shortages strike.

Patients should not have to settle for continued inaction. Prescribing a change to our essential drug supply chains could make all the difference for Americans in their hardest times.

Emily Tucker is an assistant professor of industrial engineering at Clemson University who researches drug shortages and supply chain resilience.

Source photograph by Kamal Iklil/Getty Images.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , X and Threads .


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