IELTS Writing Task contains a variety of question types like opinion essays, discussion essays and more. All of these question types require a specific kind of approach to answer, and hence, it becomes even more difficult to navigate through the questions to score a good band. This post will help you to answer a unique type of IELTS Essay question, which is: Advantage vs Disadvantage Essay.
Let’s begin by understanding the structure of the essay question through an example:
- At the present time, the population of some countries includes a relatively large number of young adults, compared with the number of older people. Do you think that the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?
Now, the question clearly states that that the response should contain the following: to be able to note the advantages of young adult populations, vs the disadvantages that come with them.
Here comes the essay structure
- Introduction: This section should ideally contain a paraphrasing of the question which makes up a short thesis statement as well as a condensed version of your opinion, shortly stating what you incline towards within the structure of the answer.
- Body Paragraph 1: Contrary to popular belief, the BP1 should ideally contain your explanation for the side you do not support. This helps you create a sense of coherence to your answer, which the reader can follow easily. If you follow a structure where the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, it is also easier to get the negatives out of the way before propounding on the positive. In this case, the disadvantages could be something like ‘dwindling personal relationships,’ ‘dilution of culture and tradition’, or something else entirely, but they all fall short when confronted with the advantages. Remember, the disadvantages may not be true in all cases, but it is your persuasive skill that matters.
- Body Paragraph 2: The advantages in this paragraph will make more sense now, when seen in opposition to the disadvantages.
- Conclusion: While writing the conclusion, we often just summarise our answers. However, along with a (clever) summarization, we can include a few points about our own personal opinions. However, the opinions must not stray from the side you choose to support, or it will be invalidated.
Here is an example of an introduction that works for IELTS.
- Paraphrase + advantages outweigh the disadvantages
For the Body Paragraph 1, you can follow these tips:
- Write the disadvantages, explain them
- Establish connections
- Link the first body paragraph with the next one.
- Refute the fact that these are disadvantages
For the Body Paragraph 2, you can follow these tips:
- Write the advantages, explain them
- Use cohesive devices within your sentences
For the conclusion, make sure that you posit arguments in order to reach an organic point which you will highlight within the conclusion. Do not only write the good things about one issue, while only bad things about the second. Make sure you are as unbiased as possible, providing arguments for everything.
Here’s the full essay sample:
Certain countries are home to more number of young adults than older adults. There are both benefits and drawbacks of having a larger proportion of young population. In my opinion, the advantages of having older people are outweighed by its disadvantages.
One of the drawbacks of having a larger young-aged population is the dilution of culture and tradition. The older generation has more knowledge and inclination towards cultural practices than youngsters do. With the old people being in reduced numbers, there is no or very minimal impartation of traditions. Another drawback is dwindling personal relationships as younger people prefer having more of a transactional relationship, rather than laying a foundation for long term relationships. Older people prefer building long term relationships with people associated with them in both personal and professional capacities. These drawbacks, however, are not associated with larger aspects such as health, lifestyle and growth of a country and hence, are majorly outweighed by the benefits of having a more number of older people.
One major benefit of having more young people than the older ones is fast-tracked economic growth. Unlike older people, youngsters are more ambitious, and constantly work towards improving their economic positions and lifestyle. This in turn, boosts their purchasing power and accrues more money into an economy. Secondly, having more young people leads to lesser epidemic outbreaks. Young adults are more immune to diseases and health issues than the older generation. A young adult aged 25, for instance, has lesser chances contracting communicable diseases than a person aged 45. Enhanced health conditions and drive for self- betterment are key factors that can lead a country to overall development and hence, I believe having less old people is beneficial.
In conclusion, there are both advantages and drawbacks of having a larger ratio of young to old population. The benefits of having improved health conditions and economic growth overpower the drawbacks of cultural dilution and weakening personal relationships and hence, every country should draw complete benefit out of having higher number of youngsters.
Now that we have covered the knowledge points on how to answer an advantage-disadvantage question, here are some helpful IELTS tips that will help you become more advanced in your skill:
Key points to note:
- Keep in mind that the examiners will grade you on how you expressed yourself as you write your responses. There are no right or wrong responses.
- Make sure you thoroughly examine the questions and address every aspect of them.
- Keep in mind that there is a word limit. You will receive fewer points if your writing in Task 1 is less than 150 words and Task 2 is less than 250 words.
- Always type your own language in the responses. You will not receive credit if you utilise the exact words from the question.
- Never use bullets in your answers; instead, write them out completely. Divide your main points into distinct paragraphs. The examiner can see how well you can organise your points by doing this.
- Avoid focusing on creating elaborate and lengthy responses. Write clearly, coherently, and with good thinking organisation. Make sure your grammar is flawless.
- You must choose and compare pertinent information from data presented in a graph, table, or diagram when performing Academic Writing Task 1. Never use the text from the question in the introduction. Use just your own words.
- An essay is Task 2 of the Academic Writing exam. Always have a plan for your essay’s organisation. Include a decent introduction, some arguments in support of those views, and instances from actual life.
- For Task 2, you have 40 minutes to finish your essay. Always allot five minutes to planning your response before writing it, and five minutes to reviewing it for errors.
- Keep the final paragraph of your essay for a conclusive statement that addresses all the points you addressed throughout your response.
- Avoid mixing up singular and plural nouns. Always check your work twice for this frequent error.
- Keep in mind that spelling is crucial. IELTS accepts spellings that adhere to British, American, and Australian standards.
For a more detailed approach to IELTS Writing Tasks with some great example to guide you along, you can check out our YouTube channel for the same! Check out discussion essays, agree disagree essays here.