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IELTS Task 2 Writing – Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

Are you wanting to find out how to do well in IELTS Task 2 Writing? If so, you need to become familiar with the IELTS essay ‘Advantages and Disadvantages’ as this is a task type in both IELTS Writing Task 2 for Academic and IELTS Task 2 General Writing. This guide will share some IELTS Task 2 Writing topics, how to structure your response, and an IELTS Task 2 Writing sample. These will help you achieve success in this task on exam day. You should also go to E2 Test Prep and sign up for free. There, you can practise writing this essay type and every other part of your IELTS exam.

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Types of IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essays

The IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages essay task (IELTS Writing Task 2) tests your ability to analyse the advantages and disadvantages of a particular phenomenon or issue.

There are two types of Advantages and Disadvantages essays:

  1. Type 1 asks that you simply discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
  2. And Type 2 asks that you discuss the advantages and disadvantages AND give your opinion on whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Type 1 – IELTS Task 2 Writing Topic

 IELTS Writing Task 2 sample with the following topic / question: 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.

For IELTS essay writing for an advantages and disadvantages essay, you need to use the following structure: 

  1. Introduction
  2. Paragraph 1 (Advantages)
  3. Paragraph 2 (Disadvantages)
  4. Conclusion

Plan

Before you begin to write your IELTS advantages and disadvantages essay, you should make a brief plan. In your plan, be sure to include two advantages and two disadvantages, along with specific evidence or support for those ideas. Here is an example for this essay topic:

Plan for IELTS Writing Task 2 showing two advantages, two disadvantages and evidence or support for each.

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.

Introduction

In the introduction, you should:

  • first make a general background statement connected to the topic
  • then make a specific statement, e.g. by paraphrasing the exam question in your own words
  • finally, provide an answer by saying what you are going to write about in the essay

Sample introduction

(background statement:) The internet is a massive repository of human knowledge and it continues to accumulate more everyday. (specific statement:) 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. (answer:) This essay will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of this trend.

Paragraphs

To write your main body paragraphs, you should:

  • use topic sentences
  • link your ideas
  • use clauses of contrast
  • conclude with a final statement

Begin Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 2 with a topic sentence. This sentence introduces the paragraph and indicates to the reader what you intend to talk about in the paragraph.

Sample topic sentences

(paragraph 1) There are numerous advantages to internet-based learning.
(paragraph 2) 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 can apply them 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.

You will also need to link your ideas within your paragraphs. This shows that you have thought about structure and sequencing.

Use phrases like ‘In addition’ and ‘What’s more’ when introducing your second example.

Sample linking ideas

(paragraph 1) 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.
(paragraph 2) What’s more, we are at the mercy of electronics. While a book can last a century, the internet may be susceptible to failure.

You also have plenty of opportunities in the advantages/disadvantages essay to use clauses of contrast, which are introduced through words such as ‘although’, ‘while’ and ‘despite’. We use these clauses to show that we are contrasting and weighing up the advantages and the disadvantages.

Sample clause of contrast

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 …)

You should also conclude your paragraphs with a final statement.

Sample final statements

(paragraph 1) Overall, online knowledge nowadays is both efficient and broad.
(paragraph 2) In short, there are drawbacks to the expanse of knowledge on the internet.

Conclusion

In the conclusion, you should:

  • say what the essay focused on
  • write a broad statement about the topic

Sample conclusion

(what the essay focused on:) This essay discussed both the advantages and the disadvantages of free and immediate information available on the internet. (broad statement:) In short, while the benefits are enormous, the drawbacks should not be overlooked.

Learn even more about this type of essay by watching this video with expert IELTS teacher Jay.

IELTS Task 2 Writing Sample

Sample Answer

Introduction

The internet is a massive repository of human knowledge and it continues to accumulate more everyday. 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. This essay will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of this trend.

Paragraphs

There are numerous advantages to internet-based learning. Firstly, it makes finding information much quicker. For example, using search engines such as Google, we can simply type in whatever we want information about, and the results are generated instantly. 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. For instance, tools such as Wikipedia are much more comprehensive than traditional, paper-based encyclopedias. Overall, online knowledge nowadays is both efficient and broad.

Readily available knowledge is not without its disadvantages, however. One such disadvantage is that internet-based information may be inaccurate. Many people use online forums to share information, but there is no fact checking within these, which can lead to misinformation. What’s more, we are at the mercy of electronics. While a book can last a century, the internet may be susceptible to failure. In short, there are drawbacks to the expanse of knowledge on the internet.

Conclusion

This essay discussed both the advantages and the disadvantages of free and immediate information available on the internet. In short, while the benefits are enormous, the drawbacks should not be overlooked.

For more practice of this type of essay, go to E2testprep.com and sign up for free.

Type 2 – IELTS Task 2 Writing Topic

IELTS Writing Task 2 sample with the following topic / question: The internet has made knowledge immediately available to people through computers and smartphones all 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 content of your essay slightly, as you need to present a clear position.

Introduction

The introduction that we looked at above would need to be extended to include a clear statement of your position.

Sample introduction

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 (statement of your position:) the benefits of this trend clearly outweigh the drawbacks.

Paragraphs

Your first paragraph should be the opinions of others, and the second paragraph should be your position. This can create a stronger argument for your position. You also need to make your position clear in the topic sentences of your first and second paragraphs.

Sample topic sentences

(paragraph 1 – opinion of others) Some commentators have noted the disadvantages of readily available knowledge
(paragraph 2 – your position) However, despite the apparent drawbacks, it is clear that there are also significant advantages to internet-based learning.

Using extreme vocabulary such as ‘significant advantages’ demonstrates a strong stance.

Conclusion

You also need to restate your position in the conclusion.

Sample conclusion

(broad statement:) This essay discussed both the advantages and the disadvantages of free and immediate information available on the internet. (restate position:) Based on this information it is clear that the advantages of free and immediate information available on the internet far outweigh the disadvantages.

Learn even more about this type of essay by watching this video with expert IELTS teacher Jay.

For more practice of this type of essay, go to our IELTS course and sign up for free.

More Help with IELTS Essay Writing

Need more help with your IELTS essay writing? We have you covered! For help with IELTS Writing Task 2 for Academic, head to our IELTS Academic page and sign up for free to access method lessons, practice items, live classes with expert teachers and more. Or for  IELTS Task 2 General Writing, click here. We have everything you need to help you quickly achieve the band score you desire.

Looking for help with IELTS Writing Task 1? Read our blog article on how to do well in Task 1, and see our free IELTS Task 1 Writing sample here.

 

 

Author Bio:
E2 is the world’s leading test preparation provider. Our expert teachers are fully accredited English teachers, with TESOL, British Council or IELTS certification, and years of IELTS examiner or IELTS teaching experience.

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