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.
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.
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.
Below is a checklist for the main body of an essay. Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer (another student) to help you.