Tips for IELTS advantages and disadvantages essay

A common IELTS Task 2 question requires a look at the advantages and disadvantages of a topic. A fitting response structure requires accurate interpretation of the action words of the question. To illustrate, here are some example action words that commonly accompany advantage and disadvantage type questions:

Instructions from IELTS

The instructions may vary and be re-worded by IELTS for the advantage disadvantage essays. Below are some ways in which IELT5 can phrase the advantage and disadvantage essay instructions:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages?
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of this issue.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
  • What are the positive and negative aspects of this issue?

Here are some ways in which IELTS can phrase the advantage outweigh disadvantage essay instructions:

  • Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
  • Do you think the advantages are more serious than the disadvantages?
  • To what extend do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

All the instructions above are the same for each type of essay. IELTS like to paraphrase their instructions from time to time, so be aware of this.

Recommended Word Count

Aim for between 270 and 290 words. That is enough words to develop your ideas for a high score. If you have two body paragraphs, you are looking for around 95 words for each paragraph. If you have three body paragraphs, you should aim for about 65 words for each body paragraph.

You do not lose marks for writing over 300 words. However, it will not give you a higher score to write a long essay. Students only aiming for band score 7 or 7.5 should only aim for around 270 words and ensure accuracy in language as well as focus on ideas. Students with band score 8 and 9 often produce longer sentences which may result in a longer essay of about 290 to 300 words — that is fine. At no time should you ever write under 250 words for task 2 and you should never miss your conclusion.

Tips for IELTS advantages and disadvantages essay

  1. Identify the issue or issues in the essay question. Spend time analysing the exact meaning of the vocabulary given.
  2. Brainstorm advantages and disadvantages. Choose the best ones to use. Aim for two advantages and two disadvantages on average.
  3. Plan your supporting points. Each idea should have one supporting sentence on the whole.
  4. Make a note to use your adv disadvantage paraphrases in your essay.
  5. Structure: four paragraphs (introduction, advantages, disadvantages, conclusion)
  6. The introduction paraphrases the essay question and states the advantages with reference to disadvantages.
  7. Think about your linking methods and topics sentences for each body paragraph before writing the body of the essay.
  8. The topic sentence must have a linking device to start; it must state if this paragraph refers to the advantages or disadvantages, and it must state the issue involved, which is from the essay question. Make sure the topic sentence is written in full and written carefully.
  9. Your body paragraphs should be more or less balanced in length.
  10. Start your conclusion with the appropriate linking devices: In conclusion, To conclude, To sum up, To reiterate. Your conclusion should state the disadvantages with a reference only to advantages.
  11. Your conclusion can be one sentence or two. Don’t make it longer than the introduction and don’t add unnecessary information.
  12. There is no opinion in this essay. So, don’t use “I” or “my”.
  13. It is possible to have three body paragraphs if you have only one advantage but in that case, stick to only two disadvantages.

Tips do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages essay

  1. Identify the issue or issues in the essay question. Spend time analysing the exact meaning of the vocabulary given.
  2. Decide your view, which is more important — the advantages or disadvantages?
  3. Brainstorm advantages and disadvantages. Choose the best ones to use. Aim for two advantages and two disadvantages on average.
  4. Plan your supporting points. Each idea should have one supporting sentence on the whole.
  5. Supporting points should follow your viewpoint. Think about the language you might use to express your view (minor, basic, fundamental, crucial, serious, etc.). Make sure the language matches the ideas and your view.
  6. Make a note to use your advantage disadvantage paraphrases in your essay.
  7. Structure: four paragraphs (intro, advantage, disadvantage, conclusion)
  8. The introduction paraphrases the essay question and states your opinion clearly. You will need to use “In my opinion” or, “I think” or both.
  9. Think about your linking methods and topics sentences for each body paragraph before writing the body of the essay.
  10. The topic sentences should support your view. The topic sentence must state if the paragraph refers to the advantage or disadvantage, and it should also restate the issue relating to the essay question.
  11. Keep your body paragraphs balanced.
  12. Your conclusion should restate your opinion.
  13. Your opinion is crucial for this essay.
  14. It is possible to have three body paragraphs if you have only one advantage but in that case, stick to only two disadvantages.

Some extra tips

  • Always practice writing your essay by hand using the official IELTS writing answer sheet before your test. You can find a link to the Official Paper on my free blog.
  • Don’t waste time in your test, counting words. Know the average number of words you have on each line and just count lines instead.

Model Answers

Some exclusive tips for IELTS essay

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