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Problems and Solution Essay: How to write this essay in 7 steps on your IELTS Exam

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Today, we’re going to show you how to write a Problems and Solution Essay in 7 STEPS.

These steps will take you from a blank page to a finished essay – an essay worth at least a band score of 7 or higher!

We’ll give you the right format and structure; plus, we’ll give you 9-level samples to read and study before your test.

Let’s start with this Problems and Solution Essay topic:

Many people living in cities these days do not get enough physical exercise. What is the cause of this? What can be done to solve it?

Let’s get right to the steps!

Step 1: Read the question carefully.

First, you need to make sure that this is a Problems and Solution Essay!

On test day, look for words like, “cause,” “problem,” and “What can be done?” These words are good signs that you’re looking at a Problems and Solution Essay! 

Next, you’ll want to read the question carefully to make sure you understand the topic perfectly.

For this particular essay topic, they want to know why people in cities do not exercise enough. They also want us to come up with a solution for this problem. 

Lastly, you’ll want to read the question again to see how many solutions you should come up with. You’ll come up with either one or two solutions, based on what the question asks. Read this article to figure out how many solutions you need for each topic: How many solutions should I come up with for a Problem + Solution Essay? 

Step 2: Know the Problem Solution Essay structure!

Before you start writing, you’ll need to know the format. The Problems and Solution Essay must be written exactly how examiners are used to reading them.

The Problems and Solution essay has 4 paragraphs – the Introduction, two Main Paragraphs, and the Conclusion. 

Problems and Solution Essay 4 Paragraph FormatOf course, all Task 2 essays need an Introduction and Conclusion, but here, for a Problems and Solution essay, the main paragraphs are different. 

As you can see to the right, Main Paragraph #1 is all about the problem – in this case, why people in cities don’t exercise enough. 

Main Paragraph #2 is all about the solution! 

This is a good time to come up with a solution, then! That leads us to the next step!

Step 3: Plan your Problems and Solution Essay

Planning your Problems and Solution Essay is pretty straightforward! 

1- Come up with one reason for why the problem is happening – in this case, the reason why people in cities don’t exercise.

So let’s say this: People in cities do not have time to exercise! 

That’s our reason! Done! Simple, right? 

2 – Now, let’s come up with one simple, easy solution to this problem!

Let’s say: People in cities can do 10-minute exercise videos online.

That’s the solution! Done!

Do you notice that the solution is very simple and obvious here? You shouldn’t come up with some elaborate, multi-step approach to solving the problem. Remember, you’ll get a low score if your solution is too confusing.

If you need help coming up with simple, easy-to-explain solutions, check out our article here: Solutions you can use for Writing Task 2  

Do you also see how this solution actually solves the root of the problem? If you say that people in cities don’t have time to exercise, the solution has to help these busy people! That’s why our solution, short, at-home workouts, is a good one!

The solution can’t be: “The city should educate people about the benefits of exercising.” That’s not the right solution in this case; remember, the problem is not that they don’t understand the benefits of exercise – it’s that they don’t have the time to do it!! 

We now have our two main paragraphs mapped out! Onward!

Step 4: Write the introduction

The introduction tells the reader what to expect in your essay. That’s why you should introduce why you think the problem is happening and what your solution to the problem is – right away in the introduction.

It’ll look like this:

These days, people living in cities do not exercise enough. Their jobs are too demanding, and they do not have enough time to go to the gym; therefore, they should look up short workout videos online instead. 

The problem and the solution are underlined here; can you point them out? You can see that we’ve introduced them clearly!

Step 5: Write Main Paragraph #1

Now, if you remember, Main Paragraph #1 is all about the problem and why it’s happening.

Here’s your opportunity to talk about why people in cities don’t exercise enough! Our reason is that they’re too busy.

In 5 sentences, we want you to develop this idea well.

First, introduce your idea – that people in cities are too busy to exercise. Explain exactly what you mean; talk about their corporate jobs and long working hours.

We also want you to give one example. Your example should prove to the examiner that city people are so busy that they really don’t have time to go to the gym.

That’s all you have to do! Your 5-sentence paragraph will look like this:

Often, people living in cities have demanding work schedules and do not have time to go to the gym after work. They usually have to stay at the office until 10 or 11 at night trying to meet strict deadlines. Accountants and finance executives are especially stretched thin during tax season; they do not even have enough time to eat lunch. For example, my friend is a Certified Public Accountant in New York City and works at least nine hours a day. She does not have any free time to go to the gym and as a result, has gained 15 pounds.

Step 6: Write Main Paragraph #2

It’s time to talk about your solution now! 

If you recall, our solution is that people in cities can do quick, 10-minute workout videos online in their apartments!

Surely, they can fit in a 10-minute workout from home!

Again, this paragraph will be 5 sentences long.

In these 5 sentences, you will explain your solution really well.

Right away, introduce your solution – that these busy people can do quick, online workout videos! Then, explain your solution in detail; be specific! Explain how you think people in cities can set aside 10 minutes before work in the morning. Talk about the short workout videos that are already on YouTube and exercise apps!

Of course, we want you to give one example here. Your example should prove to the examiner that your solution actually works! Show us that your solution has actually helped a busy person in a city exercise more regularly!

Here’s what your Solution Paragraph will look like!

To solve this problem, these city dwellers can look for short workout videos online and do them every day. Even the busiest people could find ten extra minutes in their day to do a 10-minute fitness video on YouTube. In fact, there are some online fitness instructors who understand people’s busy work schedules and specifically design their videos to be quick. For example, after my accountant friend gained weight, she decided to download a mobile application for 10-minute daily workouts. She now lifts weights every day and is already down five pounds. 

Step 7: Write the conclusion 

We’re coming to the end of the Problems and Solution essay!

That means it’s time for the conclusion!

Your conclusion will briefly summarize your essay; in other words, it will restate the problem and solution!

See how simple it is? 

In conclusion, people living in cities do not have time to go to the gym, and therefore should find short workout videos to do online. 

Our complete Problems and Solution Essay

You’ve now finished all 7 steps and have a beautifully formatted essay that explains the problem and solution well!

Here’s the complete essay we’ve just written!

These days, people living in cities do not exercise enough. Their jobs are too demanding, and they do not have enough time to go to the gym; therefore, they should look up short workout videos online instead. 

Often, people living in cities have demanding work schedules and do not have time to go to the gym after work. They usually have to stay at the office until 10 or 11 at night trying to meet strict deadlines. Accountants and finance executives are especially stretched thin during tax season; they do not even have enough time to eat lunch. For example, my friend is a Certified Public Accountant in New York City and works at least nine hours a day. She does not have any free time to go to the gym and as a result, has gained 15 pounds.

To solve this problem, these city dwellers can look for short workout videos online and do them every day. Even the busiest people could find ten extra minutes in their day to do a 10-minute fitness video on YouTube. In fact, there are some online fitness instructors who understand people’s busy work schedules and specifically design their videos to be quick. For example, after my accountant friend gained weight, she decided to download a mobile application for 10-minute daily workouts. She now lifts weights every day and is already down five pounds. 

In conclusion, people living in cities do not have time to go to the gym, and therefore should find short workout videos to do online. 

Problem Solution Essay Sample PDF

We have other Problems and Solution essay samples for you to read to help you prepare for the IELTS Exam.

Here are two samples. They were written using the exact 7 steps above!

Sample Problems and Solution Essay 1

Sample Problems and Solution Essay 2

If you want to become a better writer overall, you can use the imitation strategy with these sample essays. The imitation strategy is explained in this video:

Problem Solution Essay Topics

Before your test, we recommend that you practice going through these 7 steps with many different topics.

Here, we’re going to give you 10 Problems and Solution Essay topics to practice.

  1. These days, it is getting more and more difficult for people to enjoy living in cities. Why is this? What can the government do to make city life more enjoyable?
  2. People from older generations have difficulty using smartphones and new technology. What is the cause of this? What are some possible solutions?
  3. Plagiarism in schools has become a major issue around the world. What are the causes of this problem? What are some possible solutions?
  4. As the cost of living rises, most people need more than one job to pay the bills. Describe the possible causes of this and suggest how the problem can be dealt with.
  5. Many people living in cities today do not get enough exercise. Why is this? What can be done to solve this?
  6. Factories produce more goods today than ever before but can hurt the environment in the process. What are the causes of this? What can be done to solve this problem?
  7. Many people who have committed crimes in the past are likely to continue illegal activities. Why is this happening, and what measures can be taken to tackle this problem?
  8. Many small businesses have to close due to the growth of huge corporations. How does this problem affect local communities? What can be done to support local businesses?
  9. Cyclists and car drivers sharing the same road could cause problems. What are these problems? What can be done to solve these problems?
  10. The number of visitors to art galleries has been steadily decreasing. What are the reasons for this? What can be done to encourage people to visit?

As you can tell, these essay topics cover a wide range of themes, like problems with technology, cities, and the environment. Our article here talks about 8 themes you might see in a Problems and Solution Essay: Problems and Solution Common Themes 

As you’re writing these essays, it’s a good idea to read up on some of these problems, especially ones you’re unfamiliar with.

In our experience, most of our students have trouble talking about environmental problems, so we’d like you to read an article that describes the causes of climate change: Causes of climate change

In addition, people have a hard time describing crime and why people engage in it. Here’s an article that describes this topic better: Top 10 reasons for crime

Lastly, it’s hard to identify the root causes of poverty as well. This article should help you talk about it in your Problems and Solution Essay: Causes of Poverty

Just remember: whatever the topic is, go through each of the 7 steps, and you’re guaranteed to have a high-scoring essay!

 

Now, let’s see some of your ideas!

Here’s a Problems and Solution Essay topic:

The number of visitors to art galleries has been steadily decreasing. What is the reason for this? What can be done to encourage people to visit?

Comment below:

  1. What is the reason for lower attendance at art galleries? 
  2. What is your solution to this problem? 

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