Problem Solution Essay Template Format

I previously wrote about sticking to the same formula of a 4 paragraph structure. Once you practice this approach, it will be very easy to plan and organize your essay when you’ve only got 40 minutes.

For the problem/solution essay, you can follow this paragraph structure:

  1. Introduction– introduce topic and give your clear answer to the task question
  2. Problems – give examples and supporting details
  3. Solutions – give examples and supporting details
  4. Conclusion – restate your answer to the question


  1. Introduction –  introduce topic and give your clear answer to the task question
  2. Main problem #1  & possible solutions  – give examples
  3. Main problem #2  & possible solutions – give examples
  4. Conclusion – restate your answer to the question

Here’s an example for a problem/solution essay or a reasons for problems/solutions essay.

People naturally resist change in their lives. What kind of problems can this cause? What solutions can you suggest? 

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. 

Here’s my 4-paragraph approach:

  1. Introduction. First sentence paraphrases the topic of the question – people avoid making changes in their lives. Second/Third sentence answer both questions.
  2. Problems caused by this resistance – give examples – not challenging oneself in pursuing career or academic goals, staying unhealthy and unfit, staying in a bad relationship, etc.
  3. Possible solutions – finding support groups, encouragement from family & friends, etc.
  4. Conclusion – restate answer and overall possible solutions.

Here’s another example:

The widespread use of the Internet has brought many problems. What do you think are the main problems associated with the use of the web? What solutions can you suggest?

 Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.  

Here’s my paragraph structure:

  1. Introduction –  paraphrase the topic, answer the questions
  2. Main problems (I put both problems together) – Privacy security and vulnerability of children by online predators
  3. Suggested solutions (applies to both problems) – stronger regulations and parental supervision
  4. Conclusion – restate suggested solutions to address main problems

Want to get your essay writing checked? Here’s how: Essay Correction & Feedback 

Posted in IELTS Writing, Writing Task 2 Tagged with: IELTS Writing, sample Task 2 questions, Writing Task 2

Basic Proposal Structure
(Based on the "Basic Features" section in the Proposing a Solution Chapter of The St. Martin's Guide to Writing.


The Basic Features

I: Introduction: Define Problem, State Solution

II: Examine Problem Further (if needed)

III: Explain Alternative Solutions (ones that have been tried but failed)

IV. Present Your Solution in Detail + Benefits

V. Conclusion: Restate severity of Problem + benefits


The Basic Features with Elaboration

I. Introduction

    a. Leads to thesis sentence/question at end of first or second paragraph.

    b. Thesis statement defines solution for reader, or, hints at a solution but doesn't come right out with it. Instead, it defines problem and foreshadows a statement of solution later in essay.

A: Introduction to thesis statement

    Should define problem, in one or two paragraphs, by specific methods:

    1. Specific example of problem; specific case.
    2. Historical example of problem; background on evolution of problem.
    3. Show people being affected by problem.
    4. Pose your solution/thesis at end of first or second paragraph.

II: Further Examination of Problem (Maybe)

    1. Examine problem thoroughly in current social context. Purpose: to show reader the severity/magnitude of the problem; relate it to specific, real events. One or two paragraphs should suffice.


    2. Examine problem thoroughly in a historical context; this relates back to introduction but expands the magnitude of essay.

    3. Last sentence of each paragraph should cue the topic/subject of the next paragraph. What  should be cued? Either further detailed discussion of problem, or begin to explain alternative solutions that have not worked.

III: Examine Alternative Solutions

    1. Analyze first alternative solution; explain its full process, in detail, and its results.
    2. Refutation: Diminish the effectiveness of the alternative solution by pointing out its weaknesses. A paragraph should suffice for detailed elaboration on each weakness of solution.
    3. Repeat steps one and two above, depending on the number of alternative solutions you've decided to address.

 IV. Your Solution

    1. Define your own solution, in detail, in a step-by-step manner, in two or three paragraphs. The number of paragraphs depends on how many points your solution entails. Remember, you are directing the reader to take action.

    2. In two or three paragraphs, explain to reader the benefits of each point of your solutions, relating to feasibility and the positive impact your solution will have on society.

    3. It's also an option to integrate alternative solutions into your own solution, pointing out how your solution (steps of action) would be more likely than the alternative solution's to solve the problem. 

V. Conclusion

    1. Restate severity of problem; negative benefits of alternative solutions, then;
    2. Restate benefits of solution and leave reader with overall statement of the positive effect your solution will have.

A Note on Transitions:

Make sure that the last sentence of each paragraph cues the topic sentence of the next paragraph; the reverse is also true.

Each sentence is an idea, thus each subsequent idea (sentence) should follow logically from the last. Each idea grows until there is a reasonable conclusion, which will be the resolution/conclusion of the paragraph.

In the essay, no sentences are wasted. Each sentence must be logically connected to the sentence before and after it.













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