Problems and solutions essay (urban overpopulation) with examples..

Another comparison post for you today, taking another student essay as an example, this time the “Problems and Solutions” question type. I have written about these before and this is another good example of how this kind of question works. You will see in the first essay a clear structure and some good ideas, what I would suggest though is that instead of having two problems in paragraph 2 and then two solutions in paragraph 3, you only have one problem and one solution respectively. I know the questions might ask for problems and solutions (plural) but if you only have one each you will not lose any marks. This particular question asks you to “identify one or two serious ones” so if you say something like “Although there are several issues here but I believe the most serious is…”then go on to say why, that will be fine. And having one main idea a paragraph is better, as you will then have space to develop your ideas with reasons and examples as you are supposed to do. One reason why many people lose marks for their essay is they have a list of ideas and don’t support them adequately, so make you sure you don’t fall into this trap, more ideas in a paragraph does not equal more marks, in fact the opposite is true!

So as you will see in this first essay, there are two ideas per paragraph which could be better developed with only one. Also, the ideas and examples are a bit general. That is to say, when writing an essay you need to move from the general to the specific, from the general topic to a specific idea and example. A good illustration of how this works is in the second essay.

So, first let’s remind ourselves of the structure again….


Sentence 1: paraphrase/restate question

Sentence 2: answer both questions (in brief)

Main body paragraph 1

Sentence 1: answer first question

Sentence 2: Explain/expand

Sentence 3: Develop/extend explanation

Sentence 4: give example that supports your answer

Main body paragraph 2

Sentence 1: answer second question

Sentence 2: Explain/expand

Sentence 3: Develop/extend explanation

Sentence 4: give example that supports your answer


Sentence 1: give summary of main ideas

This is the question….

Overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems.

Identify one or two serious ones and suggest ways that governments and individuals can tackle these problems.

Example 1…

It is argue that the increasing number of people who live in the cities is the cause of several significant problems. This essay will first look at the traffic jam problem and present the solution of this issue, and then discuss litter pollution and present ways to tackle this problem.

The main problem of overpopulated cities is traffic jams which have resulted from the desire of people to go to work by personal car. For example, in my city more than half of drivers spend two hours per day in traffic jams. This issue could be resolved by government which should improve public transport in the cities by adding new bus lines. The citizens also should take participant in resolving this problem. If they avoid using cars and begin take a bus it will reduce a number of cars on the streets of cities.

The second problem caused by overpopulation is litter pollution which follows from dropping packages for fast food and other products. Consumers in the cities prefer to buy goods with many plastic packages and then drop it on the streets. The way to tackle this issue could possibly be the government’s laws restricted using non-reusable package. In addition, people should avoid buying over-packaging products.

To sum up, overpopulation of urban areas has led a range of problems such as traffic jams and a litter pollution. However, the government can reduce impact of these factors by improve a public transport system and restrict using a lot of non-reusable package for making products. On the other hand, citizens should use buses instead cars and buy products with less package.

270 words

Now for example 2…

It has been argued that urban overpopulation is the cause of many contemporary problems. This essay will suggest the main problem is that of congestion caused by too many cars on the roads, and suggest a possible solution of investment in public transport as an answer.

With overpopulation of towns and cities comes an inevitable increase in the number of private vehicles on the roads. As many newcomers to urban areas live in the suburbs, having a private car to get to work is considered essential. The natural outcome of this is serious traffic congestion into city centres, especially at peak hours for people to go to and from work. For example, a recent survey by Moscow municipality showed that as the population in Moscow increased over the last five years, the number of hours of car congestion increased and the average speeds of vehicles decreased.

However, this problem has a solution if the required political will can be found. That is to say, the banning of all cars from the city centres along with a significant increase in spending on public transport could be an answer. This has been tested in several parts of the world and has been shown to work, for example, in Cambridge (England) since 2010 all cars are prohibited in the city centre and at the same time bus services have been increased by 50%. As a consequence congestion caused by traffic has been significantly reduced to less than 15% of pre 2010 levels.

In conclusion, as overpopulation of urban areas causes major traffic problems in many cities, this could be alleviated by banning cars and spending more on car replacements such as buses. If any city authority had the will to do so, life would be much improved for its inhabitants.

297 words

As you will note, in example 2, we have only one idea per paragraph, and more specific examples. I have written before about how you can make up examples to support your ideas, no one will check them so don’t worry about that. As a result the second essay is a little more focused and would pick up more Task Achievement and Cohesion and Coherence marks than the first essay. The first essay is not bad at all, but with a little fine tuning it could be a band 9.0.

So, any questions, feel free to write anytime to More posts to come…