IELTS TASK 2 Problem and Solution essays

There are various task 2 Ielts types which ask you to do different things. The following bullet points summarise what ‘functions’ you are asked to perform in your writing. You can use it as a checklist to find out how comfortable you are with dealing with these different types of writing function and to brainstorm the kinds of language and grammar you will need for each one. I will go over this in future blogs.

• discuss the problems associated with an issue and suggest possible solutions

• discuss and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of something

• discuss one or two opinions on a topic and give your own opinion

• discuss the possible causes of a problem and the effect it has

In my previous blogs where I looked at two recent IELTS topics on obesity and recycling I covered ideas used in problem and solution essays and ‘the mindset‘ of thinking about the government’s role in the topic.

Try and and complete the following prompt with your own ideas –

the best way to improve my country is …. ‘ and see what kind of language you come up with.

Useful verbs here could be – ‘introduce, improve, attract, implement, expand, reduce, persuade, invest, develop’

Useful nouns are – ‘way, approach, solution, means, measure’. Try the exercises from the University of Bristol for practice of the nouns which will help you in this type of question.

In my book I cover a huge range of topics for task two and a large chapter on problem and solution essays.

Here are some topics below and try to answer one or two 🙂 I have put them into categories for you

Task two problem – Solution essay questions 

Cities 

What are the key problems facing the world’s cities in the 21st century, and what can be done about them? 

Many cities have become less pleasant places to live in recent years. What do you think are the cause of this? What solutions can you suggest? 

Nowadays overpopulation is a major problem in many parts of the world. What are some of these problems? Suggest some solutions. 

Cars 

A large number of deaths are caused by road accidents. Why do so many accidents occur? Make recommendations that would help to reduce the number of road accidents. 

The amount of traffic in our cities is increasing day by day. What are the problems caused by this increase in traffic? What are the solutions? 

Environment 

Nowadays the environment is increasingly under threat. What are the main dangers to the environment? What are the solutions to these problems? 

Resources 

In the future natural resources such as coal and oil will be used up. How can we save on resources? What alternative forms of energy are there? 

Young people 

Young people in the modern world seem to have more power and influence than any other generation. Why is this the case? What impact does this have on the relationship between young and old people? 

In many countries schools have problems with student behaviour. What do you think are the causes of this? What solutions can you suggest? 

Many crimes are committed by young people. Why do you think this is? What can be done to solve the problems of juvenile delinquency? 

In many countries schools have severe problems with student behaviour. What do you think are the causes of this?  What solutions can you suggest? 

Drugs 

People in all modern societies use drugs but today’s youth are experimenting with both legal(cigarettes and tobacco) and illegal drugs and at an increasingly early age. 

What are the causes and effects of widespread drug use by young people in modern society?  Make some recommendations you feel are necessary to help fight youth drug abuse. 

Work 

In some countries it can be very difficult for people over 50 to get good jobs, despite their experience 

What do you think are the causes of this problem, and what measures could be taken to solve it? 

Health 

In recent years life has become more stressful than it has ever been and many people are suffering from stress related problems. What has caused this increase in stress and what can be done to overcome the problems? 

Despite health warnings, a large number of people continue to smoke all over the world. Should we be concerned about this? What solutions would you suggest? 

Social problems 

Many people believe that the high levels in violence in films today are causing serious social problems. 

What are these problems and how could they be reduced? 

Task 2 problem and solution language

Here is some language that you might find useful 🙂 Enjoy!!!


ALISTAIR BROWN: As a writing and speaking examiner for more than 10 years, I bring a lot of experience. I have seen the frustrations that students have with IELTS from a career where I have actively guided and corrected students’ studies. I am looking for the most effective ways to teach IELTS as I understand students’ needs.

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