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Writing Task 2: How to Write a Problems and Solutions Essay



In this class, we're going to:

  1. ๐Ÿ—’๏ธ Look at a model essay

  2. ๐Ÿ”ฌ Analyse the question

  3. ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ Look at the bullet-point plan

  4. โœ๏ธ Examine how to paraphrase the question

  5. ๐ŸŽฏ Look at how to write a thesis statement

  6. ๐Ÿงฑ Analyse the structure of the main body paragraphs

  7. ๐Ÿ‘ See how to write a conclusion.


1. ๐Ÿ—’๏ธ The Model Essay


Look at the question below.

  • How would you answer this question?


Then, compare your ideas with the model essay below.


  • Would you have written something similar?

Nowadays, for many people, shopping is a leisure activity rather than something that needs to be done out of necessity.


What problems can this cause?


What can be done to resolve this?

For many these days, going shopping is seen as a hobby instead of something they just have to do out of necessity. This can lead people to waste their time and money, but this problem could be solved through educational initiatives.
When people spend their free time and money on shopping, it uses up time which could be better spent on activities which are healthier and more constructive. For example, shopping for leisure is a waste of time in comparison to playing sport, which is better for your physical health, or learning how to play a musical instrument, which is more challenging and thus more rewarding. Likewise, the money wasted on shopping for leisure would be better invested in some of the aforementioned activities.
There are two educational approaches which could help to ameliorate the issues mentioned above. Firstly, schools should teach students about how advertising works, so that people become more discerning about their purchasing choices. If people understand how they are manipulated into buying things they do not need, then perhaps they will not feel so compelled to go shopping when they do not need to. Secondly, educational institutions should remind people of the true value of things such as their health and learning new things. If they are not only conscious of how they spend their money, but also how they spend their time, they may choose to use their free time in healthier, more productive ways.
In conclusion, shopping as a leisure activity is a waste of time and money; however, people might do it less if they were educated as to how marketing strategies persuade them to go shopping unnecessarily, and if they were made more aware of more valuable ways to spend their free time.


291 words, band 9.



2. ๐Ÿ”ฌ Analyzing the Question


This is how I read the question, and began to think about the content and structure of my essay.


3. ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ The Bullet Point Plan


I then planned all of the ideas I would include in my essay.


The plan for my intro and conclusion is just two main bullet points for my two main arguments; the plan for my main body paragraphs has one bullet point for every POINT, EXPLANATION, and EXAMPLE.


______________________


Key:


1) Main argument

2) Main argument


- Point

- Explanation / Development

- Example


_______________________


1) People waste their FREE TIME and MONEY when they could be using their time and money in better ways.

2) People should be educated about how ADVERTISING manipulates them and about the VALUE of their HEALTH and LEARNING THINGS.


- Shopping is a unhealthy and unproductive in comparison to other activities

- playing sport is better for your health

- learning to play an instrument are more challenging and thus more rewarding

- money wasted on shopping would be better invested in hobbies like these


- There are two educational approaches which could help

- schools should teach people how advertising works

- if they know they're being manipulated, maybe they won't go shopping so much

- people should be reminded of the value of health and learning things

- then they might use their free time in healthier, more productive ways


Notice how the above plan corresponds to the finished essay below.


For many these days, going shopping is seen as a hobby instead of something they just have to do out of necessity. This can lead people to waste their time and money, but this problem could be solved through educational initiatives.
When people spend their free time and money on shopping, it uses up time which could be better spent on activities which are healthier and more constructive. For example, shopping for leisure is a waste of time in comparison to playing sport, which is better for your physical health, or learning how to play a musical instrument, which is more challenging and thus more rewarding. Likewise, the money wasted on shopping for leisure would be better invested in some of the aforementioned activities.
There are two educational approaches which could help to ameliorate the issues mentioned above. Firstly, schools should teach students about how advertising works, so that people become more discerning about their purchasing choices. If people understand how they are manipulated into buying things they do not need, then perhaps they will not feel so compelled to go shopping when they do not need to. Secondly, educational institutions should remind people of the true value of things such as their health and learning new things. If they are not only conscious of how they spend their money, but also how they spend their time, they may choose to use their free time in healthier, more productive ways.
In conclusion, shopping as a leisure activity is a waste of time and money; however, people might do it less if they were educated as to how marketing strategies persuade them to go shopping unnecessarily, and if they were made more aware of more valuable ways to spend their free time.


4. โœ๏ธ Paraphrasing the Question


The Question:


Nowadays, for many people, shopping is a leisure activity rather than something that needs to be done out of necessity.


The Paraphrasal:

For many these days, going shopping is seen as a hobby instead of something they just have to do out of necessity.

  • 'These days' is a useful synonym for 'nowadays', and you can abbreviate 'many people' to just 'many'.

  • Here, I've added a word, but importantly, I've kept the key word 'shopping' the same.

  • As well as changing 'leisure activity' for 'hobby', I've added 'is seen as' instead of 'is'. This also subtlely indicates what my whole essay is about; namely that people should change their perceptions about how to spend their free time.

  • Swapping 'rather than' for 'instead of' (and viceversa) is a very common trick for paraphrasing.

  • Changinging active voice to passive voice and passive voice to active voice is also a very useful trick for paraphrasing.



5. ๐ŸŽฏ Writing the 'Thesis Statement'


The first sentence is my direct answer to the first question (What problems can this cause?), and it tells the reader what my first paragraph will be about. The second sentence is my direct answer to the second question (What can be done to resolve this?), and it tells the reader what my second paragraph will be about.

For many these days, going shopping is seen as a hobby instead of something they just have to do out of necessity. This can lead people to waste their time and money, but this problem could be solved through educational initiatives.


6. ๐Ÿงฑ The Main Body Paragraphs

For the first paragraph, I wanted to talk about two problems, so I mentioned them both in the topic sentence in the order that I would develop them in the paragraph.


Notice how in this paragraph I've used relative clauses 'which ...' to explain both of the examples.


When people spend their free time and money on shopping, it uses up time which could be better spent on activities which are healthier and more constructive. For example, shopping for leisure is a waste of time in comparison to playing sport, which is better for your physical health, or learning how to play a musical instrument, which is more challenging and thus more rewarding. Likewise, the money wasted on shopping for leisure would be better invested in some of the aforementioned activities.


For the second paragraph, I wanted to give two education-based solutions to the problem, so I briefly stated this in the topic sentence. I then organised the paragraph with "Firstly ..." and "Secondly ..." to introduce each point.


Notice the use of conditionals in this paragraph. These are very useful when talking about potential consequences of a proposed solution.


Also notice how I haven't really included any examples in this paragraph. This is because I'm proposing solutions which don't necessarily already exist, but could hypothetically be implemented. If such educational policies did exist, and I knew about them, then I could refer to them, but I don't, so I've left it like this.


There are two educational approaches which could help to ameliorate the issues mentioned above. Firstly, schools should teach students about how advertising works, so that people become more discerning about their purchasing choices. If people understand how they are manipulated into buying things they do not need, then perhaps they will not feel so compelled to go shopping when they do not need to. Secondly, educational institutions should remind people of the true value of things such as their health and learning new things. If they are not only conscious of how they spend their money, but also how they spend their time, they may choose to use their free time in healthier, more productive ways.


7. ๐Ÿ‘ The Conclusion


The conclusion is just a brief summary of the main arguments - a repetition of the main points in the introduction and the two topic sentences. It is more or less the same as the introduction, but without the paraphrasal.


Apart from that, in this case, the main difference between my introduction and my conclusion is that in my introduction, I gave a very simple answer to the second question, but in the conclusion I have given a bit more detail, summarising the argument that I made in the second paragraph.


In conclusion, shopping as a leisure activity is a waste of time and money; however, people might do it less if they were educated as to how marketing strategies persuade them to go shopping unnecessarily, and if they were made more aware of more valuable ways to spend their free time.
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