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Problems and Solution: 100 Topics for the IELTS Exam

Many students ask us for sample Problems and Solution essay topics to practice at home. 

In this article, we’ve listed Problems and Solution Essay topics from 2020 (and other recent years) so that you can be prepared for your IELTS exam.

Problem Solution Essay Topics 2020: What are some common themes?

We’d like to share with you 8 themes, including technology and education, that you should be able to describe; chances are that one of these topics will show up on the IELTS Exam. 

In a Problems and Solution essay, you’ll need to be able to describe the problems associated with each topic and come up with solutions.

Theme 1: Cities

Last year, a lot of Problems and Solution essays asked test takers to talk about the problems associated with living in a city. Take a look at these examples:

  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. Overpopulation in many cities has been a major issue. What is the cause of this problem? How can governments solve this?

  3. People who live in cities often complain about traffic congestion. What do you think the causes are? What solutions can you suggest?

  4. The homeless population is growing in many cities around the world. What is the cause of this? What can be done to help this growing problem?

  5. Crime has been increasing in many cities around the world. What are the main causes of crime? How should these city governments deal with this problem?

  6. The price of train tickets continues to rise in many cities. What do you think are the causes of this problem and what measures could be taken to solve them?

You’ll want to be able to describe issues with city living, including overpopulation, homelessness, and traffic. We’d also suggest you learn more about urban issues by reading this link: 10 most important issues facing cities 

It discusses additional problems that city dwellers are likely to face, including environmental problems, rising prices, and crime. 

Theme 2: Technology and the internet

Start thinking about the drawbacks of technology, the internet, and social media because you might have to write an essay like the ones below.

  1. People from older generations have difficulty using smartphones and new technology. What is the cause of this? What are some possible solutions?

  2. Many children today spend a lot of time on social media, which hurts their grades. What is the cause of this? What can be done to solve it?

  3. The internet has changed the way information is now shared and consumed. What are some problems associated with the internet, and what solutions can you suggest?

You might already know that there are some issues with the internet, like the spread of fake news stories and children’s obsession with social media. We’d also like you to look at this article to help you describe more internet-related problems: 17 Downsides of digital technology  

It describes how the internet negatively affects people’s social skills and work schedules.

Theme 3: Education and schools

It’s also important to review problems related to schools and the education system; you might get a topic similar to one of these below.

  1. Plagiarism in schools has become a major issue around the world. What are the causes of this problem? What are some possible solutions?

  2. There is an increasing number of students who decide to drop out and not finish high school. What could be the cause of this problem? What can parents and schools do to prevent this?

  3. There is an increasing number of students who decide to drop out and not finish high school. What could be the cause of this problem? What can parents and schools do to prevent this?

  4. Many schools these days have problems with their students’ poor behavior. Why do you think these problems occur? What can be done to tackle these problems?

You’ll want to get familiar with these common problems facing schools all over the world. You can look at this article to get more information about these issues: 10 major challenges facing public schools 

In addition, think about and draw upon your own experience as a student in primary or secondary school.

Theme 4: Poverty

When it comes to Problems and Solution essays, poverty is a popular topic. You’ll have to give reasons why people around the world have trouble paying their bills, buying houses, and feeding their families. That’s what some of last year’s IELTS topics addressed; look below.

  1. 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.

  2. In many countries, the gap between the rich and poor is growing. What is the cause of this? What solutions are there to tackle it?

  3. A growing number of young people will never be able to afford a house. What has led to this situation? What can be done to remedy it?

  4. Despite agricultural advancements, many people are still starving around the world. Why is this the case? What can be done about this problem?

We suggest that you read this article that describes why poverty persists in many parts of the world: Causes of poverty

It describes how the lack of jobs, poor healthcare systems, and lack of education all contribute to this problem.

Theme 5: Health problems

The creators of the IELTS Exam often go back to health problems for Writing Task 2 topics. After all, health and fitness issues affect people from all cultures and all countries around the world. That’s why we want you to feel comfortable talking about issues, like obesity and the lack of exercise, and prepare possible solutions for them. 

  1. Many people living in cities today do not get enough exercise. Why is this? What can be done to solve this?

  2. Older people rarely exercise, although it could really benefit them. What are the causes of this? What are possible solutions?

  3. These days, people rarely get enough sleep at night. What is the cause of this? What are some possible solutions?

  4. Childhood obesity has been on the rise in the last fifty years. What is the cause of this? What can be done to remedy this situation?

  5. Many people play sports when they are young, but stop when they get older. Why do so many adults decide not to continue? What can be done to solve this problem?

  6. More people are stressed today than ever before. What are the causes of stress? What can be done to address this problem?

  7. Fewer and fewer people walk on a daily basis. What are the reasons for this? How can local governments encourage people to walk more?

To become more familiar with physical activity and health issues, visit this link: Key facts about physical activity

It discusses the benefits of exercise and the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle.

Theme 6: The Environment/Climate Change

Climate change affects all of us, which is why so many Problems and Solution essays ask you to describe and propose solutions to this problem. Have a look below at recent topics that talked about environmental issues and climate change.

  1. 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?

  2. Many countries suffer from poor air and water quality. What is the cause of this? What measures can be taken to improve air and water quality?

  3. Many animals are becoming endangered or extinct. What are the reasons for this? What can be done to solve this problem?

  4. These days, there is too much plastic in our oceans, which negatively affects marine life. What are the reasons for this, and how can this situation be improved?

  5. Climate change is one of the biggest threats our world faces. What are some of the causes of climate change? What can governments and individuals do to solve this problem?

  6. Sea levels are rising steadily. What is the cause of this problem? What can be done to fix it?

These questions ask you to talk about environmental issues – specifically, why the air and water quality is so poor, why animals are endangered, and why sea levels are rising. We’ve provided a helpful article for you to read, Climate change causes, which explains how  how people can contribute to climate change by “burning fossil fuels, cutting down rain forests, and farming livestock.”

Theme 7: Crime

You may come across a Problems and Solution essay that asks you about crime: crime levels in cities, people’s reasons for engaging in it, children and crime, and the prison system. Here are some recent IELTS topics that came up in this category: 

  1. 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?

  2. These days, many prisons are becoming overpopulated. What has caused this situation? What can be done about it?

Here’s a good resource that you can read that lists the top 10 reasons people get involved in criminal activity: Top 10 reasons for crime. Get familiar with some of these reasons in case you need them for your Writing Task 2 essay. This has been a traditionally hard theme for some of our students; many of them have trouble coming up with ideas for the crime-related topics above. 

Theme 8: Work

Of course, there are always problems related to work for people in all countries and cultures around the world. We’re talking about long hours, night shifts, low salaries, and stress. You’ll want to draw upon your own experience and start thinking about this problem before you take your test. Take a look at these recent essay topics to see if you can answer them.

  1. 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?

  2. Experienced doctors and scientists are leaving for richer countries and better salaries. What problems can this cause? What should be done to improve this situation?

  3. People today are spending more and more time at the office and less time at home. What are the reasons for this trend? What can be done to increase free time?

  4. Some workers today have to work overnight shifts. What are some of the problems the night workers have to face? What can be done to solve them?

  5. Child labor is a major concern all over the world. What are the causes of it? How can the problem be solved?

  6. In many countries, there are not enough people who are qualified for engineering and technical positions. What do you think are the reasons for this problem, and what steps should be taken to solve the problem?
  1. Many people today are dissatisfied with their current jobs. What are the reasons for this? What can be done to solve this?

We really learned a lot from this article that talks about 6 common workplace issues: 6 common workplace concerns and solutions

 This can help you write the essay topics above – including why people are unhappy with their jobs or leaving for jobs in other countries.

Problems and Solutions Examples: 50 More Topics

We’ve already given you 50 topics above, broken down by theme.

Here are 50 more topics to practice!

  1. The average life expectancy is increasing in richer countries around the world. What problems will this cause for individuals and society? Suggest some measures that could be taken to reduce the impact of aging populations.

  2. Cyclists and car drivers sharing the same road could cause problems. What are these problems? What can be done to solve these problems?

  3. In many countries, there are not enough people who are qualified for engineering and technical positions. What do you think are the reasons for this problem, and what steps should be taken to solve the problem?

  4. Nowadays, many families do not eat dinner together. Why is this happening? What can families do to revive this tradition?

  5. When people travel, they are now opting for rented apartments instead of hotel rooms. What problems could this cause for the tourism industry? What are some solutions for it?

  6. Many people are leaving rural areas to move to cities. What is the cause of this? What can be done to keep young people in smaller towns and villages?

  7. 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?

  8. Some children have difficulties when their parents get divorced. What are the reasons for this? How can this situation be improved?

  9. Loneliness is a growing problem among the elderly population. Why is this? How might this be remedied?

  10. Most people do not visit local museums and landmarks and choose to travel to other countries. What are the causes of this and what can be done about it?

  11. Most children spend their time playing games online when they should be doing homework instead. What is the cause of this? What can parents do to solve this problem?

  12. Children no longer spend time playing with the kids from their neighborhood, which negatively affects their communities. What are some possible causes of and solutions to this problem?

  13. Farming is the backbone of every country, but nowadays, many youngsters hesitate to enter this profession. Why is this the case and what can be done to avoid it?

  14. Tourism is causing environmental problems all around the world. What are the main causes of this? What are some solutions?

  15. The demand for food is increasing worldwide. What is the cause of this? What measures can the international community take to meet this demand?

  16. Experts say older people were happier and healthier in the past because they did more exercise and spent more time with family and friends, whereas now many suffer loneliness and health problems. What are the causes of this and what are some solutions?

  17. Today, many people do not realize how important the natural world is. Why is this? How can people learn more about the importance of the natural world?

  18. Scientists believe that in order to protect the environment, people must use less energy in their daily lives. However, most people have not changed the way they live. Why do you think many people have not taken individual action? What could be done to encourage them to take action?

  19. In many countries, the rich are becoming richer and poor are becoming poorer. Why is this a problem? What solutions are there to tackle this problem?

  20. It is difficult for many people to create a balance between their professional and their personal life. What are the causes of this? What can be done to solve this problem?

  21. In many countries day by day rubbish (garbage) is increasing. Why is this happening? What can be done?

  22. People nowadays are not as fit and active as they were in the past. What are the reasons for this? What measures can be taken for this?

  23. Science tells us which activities are good for our health and which ones are bad for us. Despite knowing this, millions of people still do activities which are bad for them. Why is this the case and what can be done to change it?

  24. These days many young people leave school with a negative attitude towards learning. Why is this happening? What can be done to help young people to leave school with a more positive attitude towards learning?

  25. Many people continue to use cars and motorcycles even though they know that they are bad for the environment. Why is this? What can be done to reduce the use of these vehicles?

  26. There are many female students who finish degrees in science and technology courses at university, but few move into the workplace after they graduate. Why is this? What measures can be taken to encourage them into work?

  27. People who are learning a foreign language can face a number of difficulties. What are some of these problems? In your opinion, what are the best ways to overcome these difficulties?

  28. Young people today are often less polite and show less respect than previous generations. Why do you think this is? What can be done to solve this problem? 

  29. Nowadays employment options are changing, and employees cannot rely on having the same job and working conditions throughout their life. What are some possible causes? Suggest some ways to plan for the future under these circumstances.

  30. The manufacturing and use of cars damages the environment but their popularity is increasing. Why is this happening? How could this be controlled?

  31. Many parents complain about violence promoted to their children through video games, TV programs and other media. Why is it happening? What can be the solution for it?

  32. Nowadays people work too hard. What is the reason for this? What should employers do to prevent employees from over working?

  33. In some countries the quality of life in larger cities is declining. Why do you think this is happening? What measures can be taken to stop it?

  34. In many countries, people have more health problems because they choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle. What do you think are the reasons for this and how can it be solved? 

  35. Today, many big cities in the world are increasing in size. What are the problems associated with this? What are the solutions to these problems?

  36. Nowadays people waste a lot of food that was bought from shops and restaurants. Why do you think people waste food? What can be done to reduce the amount of food they throw away?

  37. Some businesses observe that new employees who just graduated from a college or university seem to lack interpersonal skills needed for communication with their colleagues. What could be the reason for this? What solutions can help address this problem?

  38. There is less social contact between the young and old. What are the reasons for this? What measures can be taken?

  39. The number of endangered species has increased significantly in this century and we find more mass extinctions in this period than in any other period of time. State some reasons for this and provide possible solutions.
  40. Nowadays, children watch too much TV. Why is this happening, and what can be done to prevent it?

  41. Nowadays, international tourism is the biggest industry worldwide. Unfortunately, it sometimes creates tension between people from different cultures, instead of a better understanding. Why do you think this is happening, and how can it be improved?

  42. Nowadays, many job seekers are finding jobs that force them to move far from their family and friends. Is it a positive or a negative trend? What can be done about it?

  43. The urban transport system receives more funds compared to the rural transport system. Why do you think this is so? How can it be solved?

  44. Some young people are leaving the countryside to live in cities or towns, which leaves only older people in the countryside. What are the problems that this causes? What can be done to solve this problem?

  45. In many countries youngsters are more aggressive and disrespectful now compared to the past. Why is this happening? What can be done to improve the situation?

  46. Many people say that the life of people who live in the large cities is not comfortable. What are the reasons behind this? What could be the solution?

  47. Many cities in the world are facing issues due to traffic congestion. Why is this happening? What can be done to improve the situation?

  48. More and more people decide to eat fast food. What are the reasons for this trend? What can be done to encourage more people to eat healthier and exercise?

  49. Nowadays people are trying to have a successful career and happy family life at the same time. What problems could this create? How can people overcome them?

  50. These days, pollution and waste levels are increasing rapidly. How does this affect ordinary people? What steps can be taken to overcome this problem?

What is a Problem and Solution paragraph?

Make sure your Problems and Solution Essay follows this 4-paragraph format:

Problems and Solution 4-Paragraph Format

As you can see, Main Paragraph #1 is all about the problem.

In Main Paragraph #2, you will propose your solution.

In most cases, you just need one solution; however, you might need to give two – check out this article to see how many solutions you need: How many solutions should I come up with for a Problem + Solution Essay?  

If you need help coming up with solutions, this video will help you with three easy-to-use idea generation strategies.  

We also have additional ideas for solutions here: Solutions you can use for Writing Task 2 

Problems and Solution Sample PDFs

Lastly, we’d like to leave you with two sample band-9 level essays for you to read and study.

Sample Problems and Solution Essay 1

Sample Problems and Solution Essay 2

Good luck studying on your exam!

Comment below: which theme is hardest for you to write about? The environment? Crime? 

Let us know!

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