IELTS Writing Part 2: Problem-Solution Vs Idea-View

These are another question types in IELTS Writing Part 2, instead of having position, discuss both sides, giving opinion and proposing solutions, this version give us another side of comprehending Writing Task 2. Not based on the question sentence, yet based on understanding about what they asked for. These categories consist of two main streams: problems and topics. Each steam has two branches, either you should propose something to solve problem or you should give your critical thinking to evaluate a given solution towards a problem.

Propose one or more solutions to a problem. Besides what the ideas that you should provide to solve the problem, you also need to give the action about how to make it come true. You can have this kind of outline.

What can governments do to encourage children to eat a healthier diet?

Body What are the solutions What specific action to be performed What are the positive consequences What are the negative consequences
1 Regulate the food industry Require food procedure to enrich their products with certain vitamins The food is healthier than before, children are safe to consume This would increase the price of the food, so the buyers will decline
2 Regulate school meals Set a daily schedule and find trustworthy food suppliers to make sure the meals’ quality Children would have at least 1 healthy meal per day This would not stop children for bringing unhealthy packed lunches or going out for lunch to fast food outlets
3 Educate children about cooking a healthy food Require schools to provide chefs to teach children to cook healthy foods Children can take pride in their learning and transfer these skills to their families Schools may not have cooking equipment and enough budget to hold cooking class

Evaluate one or more solutions to a problem. This type of question already contained one or more solutions to conquer the problem. You may give another solution if you want to, but your main task is evaluating the given solutions. Here is the example of this type.

Should the government regulate the fast food industry in the same way that it regulates the drug, alcohol and tobacco industries?

Body What are the solutions What specific action to be performed What are the positive consequences What are the negative consequences
1 Given Solution:Regulate the fast food industry like drug, alcohol and tobacco industries Restrict opening hours, location (e.g. far from schools and nurseries) Send a clear signal that fast food as bad as drug, alcohol and tobacco industries This would not stop cooking activities at home
2 Proposed Solution:Public health campaign explaining the dangers of eating too much fast food Television advertising showing long-term consequences of unhealthy diet Help people change their eating habits fundamentally People could ignore the advertisement

Present your ideas about a topic. Usually, this type requires you to predict what will happen in the next step or explain about cause and effect in short or long-term. There is a little change in the fields of the outline table due to the unnecessary field about the action or how you can make it come true.

Dieting to lose weight has become increasingly prevalent in the developed world. Why do you think people nowadays are so concerned with body shape and size?

Body What are your ideas What is the evidence for What is the evidence against
1 Advertisements encourage people to value slim figures Advertisements often show desirable consumer products alongside slim models Advertisers would not use slim models unless the public already had a favorable view of them.
2 People associate slimness with positive character traits People who do not eat too much are seen as having good self-control People should consider that there is no correlation between eating habit with good personalities
3 Many knowledge reveals that serious illness are caused by obesity Huge amount of fats can trigger diabetes, heart failure or cancer. So, the paramedics suggest them to have a healthy and proportional diet If people concern too much and decide to have extreme diet, they may become malnourished

Evaluate an idea about a topic. Same with evaluating solution to a given problem, but it is not about problem and solution. You will be given an idea about something and you should consider the fact and evaluate it more. Again, you may reveal your own and different idea, but you have to evaluate the given idea first, before you proposing your idea.

The problem of obesity is mainly due to people’s lack of knowledge about healthy eating. To what extent do you agree with the statement above?

Body What are your ideas What is the evidence for What is the evidence against
1 Given idea:Obesity due to lack of knowledge about healthy eating Information about nutrition and healthy substances in outside wrapper of food may reduce the unhealthy eating habit Some people tend to ignore the knowledge given by nutrition information at the food wrapper
2 Propose possible idea:Hormonal disorder system since birth Many medical practices try to inject some certain hormone to balance the composition. As the result, the obesity level is declining. If they do not inject this hormone for long period then the obesity back to increase

Okay, let’s have some fun exercises!

In order to be truly employable, the educated person should be able to demonstrate not just knowledge but also the ability to work independently in teams. How can teamwork best be encouraged and assessed in educational settings?

Is there a problem? Yep. The problem to me is ‘in order to be truly employable’. So it is categorized as problem-solution cluster, but let us see is there any proposed or given solution towards this problem? At first sentence it seems that there is a given solutions in ‘should be able to demonstrate knowledge but also ability to work in teams’, but please do not stop reading the next sentence. The question word is ‘How’ teamwork best can be encouraged and assessed in educational matters. Even though, the introduction sentence already gave the solution, but please keep reminding that these monkeys are so tricky, your task is in the last sentence which require you to list your solutions to use teamwork before they can be employable which is in educational term or schools.

Hence, this question is categorized as ‘Propose one or more solutions to a problem’.

Many people believe that formal ‘pen and paper’ examinations are not the best method of assessing educational achievement. What is your view of examinations?

The given topic from this question is education assessing method, and it also clearly stated that an idea failed to be presented as good method for assessing students. If the question sentence asked why it is failed, then it is categorized as ‘Evaluate an idea about a topic’. But, surprisingly it is not, the question is ‘What is your view of examinations’. Thus, it is clearly stated that we are required to present some ideas about examinations. Eventually, this question belongs to ‘Present your ideas about a topic’ category.

New technologies and ways of buying and selling are transforming the lives of consumers. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

At a glance, this topic is about Information Technology (yay!) that is changing consumers’ way of life. There is a given opinion that the cause of this changing issue is new technologies. We are asked to assess how far this idea can fit the given topic, we can say it is not far (disagree) or quite far (agree) and may be not really that far (partly agree). Thus, this question belongs to ‘Evaluate an idea about a topic’.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Taken and modified from Writing for IELTS – Anneli Williams

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