Wednesday, March 22, 2023

IELTS Writing Task 2: Problem/Solution Essay


  • A problem and solution essay is a common type of IELTS writing task 2 essay question, where you have to explain one or more of the following: 
  • A common problem/ problems in the world
  • A cause/causes of a problem
  • A possible solution/solutions

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task to write at least 250 words. 

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

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

1. Write about a problem and possible solutions to that problem

2. Write about a cause of a problem and possible solutions

3. Only write about the solutions


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

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

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

Problem: Situation; resulting in..; issue

Cause: Reason; why

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

Take the time to read the question carefully! 

It is a common mistake to answer the wrong question.

Example problem/solution questions 

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

Topic 1
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?

Topic 2
Overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems.
Identify two serious ones and suggest ways that governments and individuals can tackle these problems.

Topic 3
One problem faced by almost every large city is traffic congestion
What do you think the causes are? What solutions can you suggest?

Topic 4
More and more wild animals are on the verge of extinction and others are on the endangered list.
What are the reasons for this? What can be done to solve the problem?

Topic 5
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?

Structure + Useful Language 


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

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

Question 1 Model Answer