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Lesson 4: Idea > Problem/Solution task type

Example task You should spend about 40 minutes on this question. Many people today are worried about ‘cybercrime’ such as hacking and identity theft. What problems does ‘cybercrime’ cause, and what solutions can you suggest for ordinary people and businesses to take? Give reasons for your answer, and provide ideas and examples from your own […]

Example task

You should spend about 40 minutes on this question.

Many people today are worried about ‘cybercrime’ such as hacking and identity theft. What problems does ‘cybercrime’ cause, and what solutions can you suggest for ordinary people and businesses to take?

Give reasons for your answer, and provide ideas and examples from your own experience. You should write at least 250 words.  

 

Explanation of the task  

This is an IDEAS > PROBLEM/SOLUTION type essay. It does not ask for your opinion about a topic, such as whether you think cybercrime is good or bad, or if you think it is important or not. It asks you to think of some problems in a situation, and suggest some solutions to these problems. In tasks such as this, you should introduce the topic, describe two or three problems, then offer two or three solutions, and then summarize in the final paragraph. Remember, this is not an OPINION type task. You will lose marks if you give a strong personal opinion in this essay.  

 

Model Essay

Cybercrime is a cause of widespread concern today, as so many people use technology to store and transmit sensitive data. There are a number of problems that people suffer as a result of these crimes, but also some straightforward measures we can take to protect ourselves. 

Perhaps the worst problem stemming from this is the financial impact. If someone has his or her bank account emptied, or has false credit lines created under their name, they are potentially liable for large sums of money. Even if they can avoid the consequences, their bank or finance company has to cover the losses, which can damage their performance. A further problem is the way in which these stolen funds are used to subsidize other crimes, such as drug distribution or even terrorism. Once the money enters the criminal networks, we have no way of knowing how it will be used. Finally, there is the problem of anxiety and stress caused to the innocent victims of these crimes. The initial shock is often followed by months or years or legal wrangling, paperwork and a sense of insecurity. 

Turning to possible solutions, probably the most effective measure is to improve personal security, ranging from passwords to the shredding of documents. This denies the criminals the raw materials to work with. Secondly, we should raise awareness of the risks among the elderly or the very young – two groups who are often specifically targeted – via publicity and public education. Ultimately, however, it is the financial companies who can make the greatest contribution, by increasing their security and detection systems – ideally in partnership with the police.  

Overall, the problems caused are both financial and social, and the solutions should involve coordinated action by individuals, corporations and the state.  

(288 words)