Best tips for writing IELTS advantages and disadvantages essays
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Tips for writing advantages and disadvantages essays

Tips for writing advantages and disadvantages essays

Most questions in the IELTS Academic Writing section fit into a few categories such as opinion essays, discussion essays, problem solution essays, double question essays, advantages & disadvantages essays. What do you have to do if you get the last one? How should you approach advantages & disadvantages essays in the IELTS Writing test?  What is the essay structure and the main tips to write it?

What are advantages and disadvantages essays about?

You will notice that questions for IELTS advantages and disadvantages essays can be worded in several different ways. However, all of them test your ability to analyse the benefits and drawbacks of a particular matter or problem. For example, you can come across such wordings:

Generally, we can divide advantages & disadvantages essays in two types:

Type 1 asks you to simply discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

Type 2 asks you to discuss the advantages and disadvantages AND give your opinion on whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa.

Task 1 does not ask for our opinion, so you should not include this information in your answer. In Task 2,  you have to say if the advantages are stronger than the disadvantages. For example, there are a huge number of advantages to learning the news online, but there is one huge disadvantage (reliability and accuracy of information) that stops most people from reading them that way and therefore the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Each of the types of essays requires a different approach.

READ ABOUT: How to link ideas in IELTS essays

Ways to write an essay

There are at least two different ways to write an advantages and disadvantages essay. However, we suggest the best and the easiest ones to complete the task if you get in your IELTS exam.

Step 1. Analyse the task.

Do not start writing immediately. First, read the statement and underline key information. This will help you to better understand what you have to write about and what you don’t have to do, i.e. focus on the specific issue.

Next, paraphrase the statement for yourself to understand it better — at this point you can use simple language.

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Step 2. Plan your essay.

In both cases you will have to brainstorm the ideas for your essay. Think about the benefits and drawbacks of the issue that you have to write about. Write them down using bullet points. Spend a few minutes on this.

Now, you can choose between thinking about details/examples to illustrate your ideas or starting to write your essay. If you do not have to write about your opinion, you can continue to the next step – writing. However, if you are to give your opinion, think about details/examples to illustrate the advantages and disadvantages, and decide on your opinion as to whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa, or they are equally important. It is important to decide what you think before you start writing.

Step 3. Write your essay.

While writing the first type of advantages and disadvantages essay, where you only have to discuss them, you can keep looking back at the task and your plan to give relevant ideas. Choose the best ones only, i.e. those that you can support with details and provide good examples.

First, write the introduction where you have to paraphrase the statement and write what the essay will discuss. For the second type of essay, give your opinion in the introduction as well.

Next, write the main body:

  • in body paragraph 1, give advantages (a topic sentence, two advantages and details/examples)
  • in body paragraph 2, give disadvantages (a topic sentence, two advantages and details/examples)

Finally, write the conclusion where you have to summarise advantages and disadvantages. For the second type of essay, restate your opinion as well.

Step 4. Check your essay.

You should look for spelling mistakes, mistakes that you typically make, repetition of vocabulary and linkers etc. Recently, we have written about how to check your IELTS writing and shared a checklist for efficiently editing your writing. It is the fastest way to improve your band score within a few minutes.

READ ABOUT: 6 typical mistakes in IELTS essays

Essay structure

What will your essay look like if you follow our advice? Here are the two possible essay structures for your advantages and disadvantages essay:

Type 1 Type 2
INTRODUCTION:

– Paraphrase of the statement

– What will be discussed

 

 

MAIN BODY:

Body paragraph 1

– Topic sentence for advantages

– Advantage 1 + Detail/Example

– Advantage 2 + Detail/Example

 

Body paragraph 2

– Topic sentence for disadvantages

– Disadvantage 1 + Detail/Example

– Disadvantage 2 + Detail/Example

 

CONCLUSIONS:

– Summary of advantages and disadvantages

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

– Paraphrase of the statement

– What will be discussed

– Opinion

 

MAIN BODY:

Body paragraph 1

– Topic sentence for advantages

– Advantage 1 + Detail/Example

– Advantage 2 + Detail/Example

 

Body paragraph 2

– Topic sentence for disadvantages

– Disadvantage 1 + Detail/Example

– Disadvantage 2 + Detail/Example

 

CONCLUSIONS:

– Summary of advantages and disadvantages

– Opinion

In our course, we outline the possible structures of different types of essays, provide real examples and model answers. You will also learn and practise writing different parts of the essays step by step. Finally, you will write your own essays and get immediate feedback from our IELTS experts.

Now that you are more confident about IELTS advantages and disadvantages essays, you can practise with our platform and reach the desired band score.

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