How to Write an IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essay
There are two types of Advantages/Disadvantages essay:
Type 1 asks that you simply discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
Type 2 asks that you discuss the advantages and disadvantages AND give your opinion on whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa.
IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essay Question: Type 1
The internet has made knowledge immediately available to people through computers and smartphones all around the world. Much of this knowledge is also free. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this trend.
Your Advantages and Disadvantages essay should contain an introduction, two main body paragraphs and a conclusion.
- Paragraph 1 (Advantages)
- Paragraph 2 (Disadvantages)
The Planning Stage:
Before you begin to write your IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essay, make a brief plan. You should make a note of two advantages and two disadvantages, along with specific evidence/ support for those ideas.
Creating a good plan like this will mean that, rather than panicking about coming up with ideas mid-way through the test, you’ll be able to concentrate more on the actual writing of the essay. Before you begin to write your IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essay, make a brief plan. You should make a note of two advantages and two disadvantages, along with specific evidence that supports those ideas.
Use Topic Sentences:
Begin Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 2 with a topic sentence – this sentence will serve as an introduction to the paragraph and indicates to the reader what you intend to talk about in the rest of the paragraph.
There are numerous advantages to internet-based learning.
Readily available knowledge is not without its disadvantages, however.
Tip: It is a good idea to memorise some topic sentences such as these, as you will find that you can apply the same topic sentence to most advantage/disadvantage essays.
e.g There are numerous advantages to…..shopping online/ taking a gap year/ assessing students through exams
Shopping online/ Taking a gap year/ Assessing students through exams is not without its disadvantages, however.
After your topic sentence, you can then communicate the ideas in your plan.
Linking Your Points:
You will also need to link the ideas within your paragraphs, in order to show that you have thought about structure and sequencing.
Some examples that you can use in the IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essay include:
- In addition to the speed at which one can find out some form of knowledge, the depth of the knowledge available is also more substantial.
- What’s more, we are at the mercy of electronics. While a book can last a century, the internet may be susceptible to failure,
Conclude your paragraphs with a final statement:
Paragraph 1 (Advantages):
Overall, online knowledge nowadays is both efficient and broad.
Paragraph 2 (Disadvantages):
In short, there are drawbacks to the expanse of knowledge on the internet.
Using Clauses of Contrast:
You also have plenty of opportunities in the Advantages/Disadvantages essay to use Clauses of Contrast: e.g. although, while, despite
We use these clauses to show that we are contrasting and weighing up the advantages and the disadvantages.
E.g. Although the internet is effective in delivering us information at high-speed, we cannot always rely on computers in the same way that we can with books.
Remember the grammar needed with these structures:
- Although + full clause (Although the internet is effective…)
- While + full clause (While the internet is effective…)
- Despite + verb-ing (Despite being effective…)
- Despite the fact that + full clause (Despite the fact that the internet is effective)
Writing the Introduction and Conclusion:
- In the introduction, you should first make a general statement connected to the topic.
- Then you should paraphrase the exam question in your own words.
- Finally, you need to say what you are going to do in the essay.
Example: The internet is a massive repository of human knowledge and it continues to accumulate more everyday (Introduction). At the click of a button, one can access information on just about any topic, from the abstract to the mundane. Not only is the information immediate, but it is also free (Paraphrasing). This essay will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of this trend (What you are going to do).
- In the conclusion, you need to say what the essay focused on.
- You also need to write a general statement about the topic:
Example: This essay discussed both the advantages and the disadvantages of free and immediate information available on the internet (What the essay focused on). In short, while the benefits are enormous, the drawbacks should not be overlooked (General Statement).
IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essay Question: Type 2
The internet has made knowledge immediately available to people through computers and smartphones around the world. Much of this knowledge is also free. Do the advantages of this type of information outweigh the disadvantages?
This type of question requires that you do more than simply state the advantages and disadvantages. You are also required to give an opinion on whether you think there are more advantages or more disadvantages. This means that you will need to change the structure of your essay slightly, as you need to present a clear position. The introduction that we looked at above would need to be extended to include this position:
The internet is a massive repository of human knowledge and it continues to accumulate. At the click of a button, one can access information on just about any topic, from the abstract to the mundane. Not only is the information immediate it is also free. This essay will discuss how the benefits of this trend clearly outweigh the drawbacks.
You also need to make this position clear in the topic sentences of your first and second paragraphs.
Some commentators (indicate that this is not YOUR opinion) have noted the disadvantages of readily available knowledge
However, despite the apparent drawbacks, it is clear that there are also significant (use extreme vocabulary to demonstrate a strong stance) advantages to internet-based learning.
(Note that in this case the order of the paragraphs has also been changed. The effect of putting the opinions of others first and your own second can create a stronger position.)
You also need to restate your opinion in the conclusion:
This essay has demonstrated that the advantages of free and immediate information available on the internet clearly outweigh the disadvantages…
For more information, check out the METHOD video from Jay here.
Written by Jennifer