IELTS Writing Task 2: A Guide for a Problem Solution Essay

Problem solution essay is not just listing the problems and solutions. You need to explain you ideas. If you just give some points without expanding ideas, you will not get a good band score. 

Example Question: Problem Solution Essay

Let's take a look at the question below:

"Excessive computer gaming is one of the biggest threats to children's physical and mental health in the 21st century. 

Discuss the problems and associated solutions for this issue."

Let's answer this question step by step applying our magic strategy:

Pick the Key Points

Look at the question stated above. You might have several points to talk about. But you cannot write all of them.  Examiners didn't ask for a list of features, rather they want you to explain only one or two major points.

Problem

  1. Computer gaming might increase the risk of childhood obesity.

 

Solutions

  1. Going for outdoor family times on a regular basis.

  2. Enrolling children at different physical activity lessons.

We've just chosen a couple of major problem/solution features that we are going to explain in the essay. Now it's time to plan for the essay.

Previously we discussed in detail how important it is to have a plan before starting the essay. If you haven't gone through that article on planning strategy for a band 9 essay, we recommend you check it now. It will give a big boost to the quality of your essay.

 

Before starting to write the essay, let's take a quick look at our magic structure:

Magic Structure: Problem Solution Essay

If you can write just 14 sentences spread over 4 paragraphs, your IELTS Task 2 essay is complete. It is that simple. This is our 4/14 essay technique. It's very easy to remember and execute in exam:

  1. Introduction

  2. Body Paragraph 1

  3. Body Paragraph 2

  4. Conclusion

On this page, we are going to show you step by step how to form this four paragraph essay.

 

However, we've developed a simple paragraphing style that will make your life easiest ever. We call it 3443 Approach. Remember it, practice it, apply it. It will make your IELTS Task 2 writing so easy that you can't even imagine.

What we mean by 3443:

  • 3 Sentences for Introduction Paragraph

  • 4 Sentences for Body Paragraph 1

  • 4 Sentences for Body Paragraph 2

  • 3 Sentences for Conclusion Paragraph

These are the 3+4+4+3 = 14 sentences. Quite simple. Now let's distribute these sentences among the 4 paragraphs for a Problem Solution Essay:

Introduction 

Sentence 1: Paraphrase the question sentence.

Sentence 2: Write a thesis statement.

Sentence 3: Write an outline sentence.

Body Paragraph 1(Problems)

Sentence 1: Topic Sentence 1(problem)

Sentence 2: Explain the Topic Sentence 1.

Sentence 3: Explain further the Topic Sentence 1.

Sentence 4: Give a supportive example for the discussion above.

Body Paragraph 2(Solutions)

Sentence 1: Topic Sentence 2(solutions)

Sentence 2: Explain the Topic Sentence 2.

Sentence 3: Explain further the Topic Sentence 2.

Sentence 4: Give a supportive example for the discussion above.

Conclusion

Sentence 1: Summarize the body paragraph 1.

Sentence 2: Summarize the body paragraph 2.

Sentence 3: Give a final remark summarizing the both body paragraphs.

 

This is pretty simple to remember. Addressing the question stated above, we are going to demonstrate you the beauty of this secret formula. 

Before jumping to the essay, we need to clarify one more thing. Looking at our  structure above, you might be wondering what is Topic Sentence. Let's clarify it: 

Topic Sentence

Topic Sentence is pretty simple. Just state the major points that you want to discuss about. These statements are the topic sentences. Take a look at the sentences below: 

  1. Currently, most of the children are less likely to do physical activities, rather they prefer computer gaming which might lead to develop childhood obesity.

  2. Being the closest contact to children, family members can play the most important role to keep their children away from too much computer gaming.

 

The sentence 1 will be the Topic Sentence of Body Paragraph 1, and the sentence 2 will be the Topic Sentence of Body Paragraph 2. 

Introduction

This paragraph bears an overall picture of the essay, and conveys an impression to the examiner. Therefore, we suggest you write this paragraph such a way that examiners can get a clear preview of the essay. Take a look how we construct this paragraph:

Sentence 1: Paraphrase the question sentence.

Sentence 2: Write a thesis statement.

Sentence 3: Write an outline sentence.

(However, we have a complete guide on how to write a great introduction. We also have a full article regarding how to write a thesis statement. We suggest you check them now, if you haven't already.)

The 1st sentence is the paraphrase of the question statement. By reading this sentence, the examiner will get a perception whether you have properly understood the question or not.

 

Thesis statement is the 2nd sentence. This is the most important sentence in the whole essay. This sentence will demonstrate your reaction regarding the question statement, and it will also provide a concise summary of the essay.

 

Outlining sentence is the 3rd sentence of your introduction paragraph. This sentence will give a hint how the discussion is going to proceed, and how the following paragraphs are organized.

 

Responding to the question stated above on this page, let's apply our strategy for the introduction paragraph:

Paraphrasing the Question Sentence

"In this modern age, excessive computer gaming has become one of the major  reasons behind the damage of children's physical and mental health."

Thesis Statement

"This essay points out that if families and institutions can play key roles, problems like childhood obesity that might arise from video gaming can be addressed effectively.

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Outline Sentence

"The major problems that might arise from too much computer gaming and the best possible solutions are described in the following paragraphs."

The Complete Introduction

"In this modern age, excessive computer gaming has become one of the major  reasons behind the damage of children's physical and mental health. This essay points out that if families and institutions can play key roles, problems like childhood obesity that might arise from video gaming can be addressed effectively. The major problems that might arise from too much computer gaming and the best possible solutions are described in the following paragraphs."

Body Paragraph 1(Problem)

Remember, you are asked to write the essay with at least 250 words. Yes you can  

write a few more like 270 - 300, but you should never exceed 300. 

 

However, you might have a number of points to focus on. This is why you need to make a choice what to discuss, and what not to. Considering the word limit, we suggest you choose only 2 major points, one for a problem and another one for a solution point, and then discuss the points in Body Paragraph 1 and 2 respectively. 

(We have a full article on our special strategy for IELTS Writing Task 2 body paragraphs. We suggest you check it now, if you haven't already.)

Addressing the Problem/Solution Question stated above, let's apply our magic strategy to form the first body paragraph:

Sentence 1: Topic Sentence 1(State the problem)

Sentence 2: Explain the Topic Sentence 1.

Sentence 3: Explain further the Topic Sentence 1.

Sentence 4: Give a supportive example for the discussion above.

Sentence 1 (Topic Sentence 1(State the problem))

"Currently, most of the children are less likely to do physical activities, rather they prefer computer gaming which might lead to develop childhood obesity."

Sentence 2 (Explain the Topic Sentence 1)

"Obese children are well above the normal and healthy weight for their age and height."

Sentence 3 (Explain further the Topic Sentence 1)

"These children are at increased risk of breathing problems and high blood pressure."

Sentence 4 (Give a supportive example for the discussion above)

"Studies suggest that obese children are more likely to become obese adults as well, which is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, types 2 diabetes, and cancer etc."

The Complete Body Paragraph 1 (Problem Paragraph)

"Currently, most of the children are less likely to do physical activities, rather they prefer computer gaming which might lead to develop childhood obesity. Obese children are well above the normal and healthy weight for their age and height. These children are at increased risk of breathing problems and high blood pressure. Studies suggest that the obese children are more likely to become adults obese as well, which is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, types 2 diabetes, and cancer etc." 

Body Paragraph 2 (Solutions)

We use this paragraph for discussing the solution part. Let's apply our magic structure to form this paragraph:

Sentence 1: Topic Sentence 2 (State the solutions)

Sentence 2: Explain the Topic Sentence 2.

Sentence 3: Explain further the Topic Sentence 2.

Sentence 4: Give a supportive example for the discussion above.

 

Sentence 1(Topic Sentence 2(State the solutions))

"Being the closest contact to children, family members can play the most important role to keep their children away from too much computer gaming."

Sentence 2(Explain the Topic Sentence 2)

"They can explain to their children how there are much more rewards in real life than that of gaming."

Sentence 3(Explain further the Topic Sentence 2)

"They can also take their children to outdoor sports and entertainment that involve physical activities, and also can enroll them at art/cultural schools for extracurricular activities, these engagements can divert the children's attention from addictive computer gaming."

Sentence 4(Give a supportive example for the discussion above)

"Recently, California State University has found in their study that getting children involved in outdoor physical activities is the most effective measure to keep them away from computer gaming addiction."

The Complete Body Paragraph 2 (Solution Paragraph)

"Being the closest contact to children, family members can play the most important role to keep their children away from too much computer gaming. They can explain to their children how there are much more rewards in real life than that of gaming. They can also take their children for outdoor sports and entertainments that involve physical activities, and also can enroll them at art/cultural schools for extracurricular activities, these engagements can divert the children's attention from addictive computer gaming. Recently, California State University has found in their study that getting children involved in outdoor physical activities is the most effective measure to keep them away from computer gaming addiction."

Conclusion

You must let the examiner know your final say. Though we don't recommend writing a conclusion paragraph for an IELTS Task 1 essay, we strongly suggest you add a conclusion paragraph for a Task 2 essay. Remember, even if you fear running out of time, still you need to write at least one sentence as a conclusion paragraph. A conclusion paragraph is that much important for an IELTS Task 2 essay.

Write the conclusion paragraph in such a way that it answers the question clearly. And remember, the answer has to be completely based on the discussion above. That means never bring any new idea in a conclusion paragraph. Moreover, you should also try to avoid the vocabulary that you have already used in the essay. These are the basic requirements for your conclusion paragraph. 

 

Remember, you will lose marks if you fail to write a conclusion in an IELTS Task 2 essay. To put it simply, it resembles you worked all day together as a team, but at the end of the day, you just left workplace without saying 'bye' to anyone.

(We have a detailed guide on how to write a smart conclusion. We suggest you check this article now, if you haven't already.)

Let's focus on our simple secret of constructing a conclusion paragraph:

Sentence 1: Summarize the body paragraph 1.

Sentence 2: Summarize the body paragraph 2.

Sentence 3: Give a final remark summarizing the both body paragraphs.

Sentence 1 (Summarize the body paragraph 1)

"In conclusion, because of too much computer gaming, children are developing different physical and mental diseases."

Sentence 2 (Summarize the body paragraph 2)

"However, parents and institutions can play the key roles to keep them away from the addiction."

Sentence 3 (Give a final remark summarizing the both body paragraphs)

"They can get the children engaged at outdoor physical activities which could be the most effective measure to address this issue."

The Complete Conclusion

"In conclusion, because of too much computer gaming, children are developing different physical and mental diseases. However, parents and institutions can play the key roles to keep them away from the addiction. They can get the children engaged at outdoor physical activities which could be the most effective measure to address this issue."

A Complete Response to the IELTS Task 2 Problem Solution Question

"In this modern age, excessive computer gaming has become one of the major reasons behind the damage of children's physical and mental health. This essay points out that if families and institutions can play the key roles, problems like childhood obesity that might arise from video gaming can be addressed. The major problems from addictive computer gaming and the best possible solutions are described in the following paragraphs.
 

Currently, most of the children are less likely to do physical activities, rather they prefer computer gaming which might lead to develop childhood obesity. Obese children are well above the normal and healthy weight for their age and height. These children are at increased risk of breathing problems and high blood pressure. Studies suggest that the obese children are more likely to become adults obese as well, which is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, types 2 diabetes, and cancer etc. 

Being the closest contact to children, family members can play the most important role to keep their children away from too much computer gaming. They can explain to their children how there are much more rewards in real life than that of gaming. They can also take their children for outdoor sports and entertainments that involve physical activities, and also can enroll them at art/cultural schools for extracurricular activities, these  engagements can divert the children's attention from addictive computer gaming. Recently, California State University has found in their study that getting children involved in outdoor physical activities is the most effective measure to keep them away from computer gaming addiction.

In conclusion, because of too much computer gaming, children are developing different physical and mental diseases. However, parents and institutions can play the key roles to keep them away from the addiction. They can get the children engaged at outdoor physical activities which could be the most effective measure to address this issue."

However, if you need our help with a guarantee of 7+ band score in IELTS Writing, please check our IELTS Writing Assistance.

Review the detailed discussion on all the types of IELTS Task 2 essays:

Don't forget to check the following resources as well: