IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essay Lesson

IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essay Lesson | IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essay Lesson

IELTS advantages and disadvantages questions normally give you a statement and ask you to comment on the advantages and disadvantages of that statement.

The problem is that there are 2 different types of advantages and disadvantages essay and they each require a different approach. If you answer them in a different way, then you risk losing lots of easy marks.

This lesson will look at each of the three question types and suggest a standard sentence-by-sentence structure for each of them.  There will also be samples answers for each of the three questions to help you compare and understand the two approaches.

Question 1

In some countries, young people are encouraged to work or travel for a year between finishing high school and starting university studies.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for young people who decide to do this.

Question 2

Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary schools rather than secondary school.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

Question 1 simply asks us to discuss the advantages and disadvantages. It does not ask for our opinion or say which side is better or worse, so we should not include this information in our answer.

This requires a simple structure in which the student will look at the advantages in one paragraph and the disadvantages in the other.

Question 2 is different because we have to say if the advantages are stronger than the disadvantages. Notice I didn’t say ‘if there are more advantages than disadvantages’. The question is not asking you to talk about numbers but comment on the overall weight of the advantages or disadvantages.  For example, there are a huge number of advantages to travelling by private jet, but there is one huge disadvantage (the cost) that stops most people from flying that way and therefore the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

In this example, we will have to decide which side (advantages or disadvantages) is stronger and this will affect our structure. If you choose advantages, then you will have to say why these are much stronger than the disadvantages and why the disadvantages don’t hold much weight. You would also have to make this clear in your thesis statement.

Structure for Essay 1


  • Sentence 1- Paraphrase question
  • Sentence 2- Outline sentence

Supporting Paragraph 1 (Advantages)

  • Sentence 3- Topic sentence (2 Advantages)
  • Sentence 4- Explain first advantage
  • Sentence 5- Explain second advantage
  • Sentence 6- Example of second advantage

Supporting Paragraph 2 (Disadvantages)

  • Sentence 6- Topic sentence (2 Disadvantages)
  • Sentence 7- Explain first disadvantage
  • Sentence 8- Explain second disadvantage
  • Sentence 9- Example of second disadvantage


  • Sentence 9- Summary of main points

Structure for Essay 2


  • Sentence 1- Paraphrase question
  • Sentence 2- Thesis statement (state which one outweighs the other)
  • Sentence 3- Outline sentence

Main Body Paragraph 1 (Stronger Side)

  • Sentence 4- Topic Sentence
  • Sentence 5- Explain why it is strong
  • Sentence 6- Example
  • Sentence 7- Topic Sentence
  • Sentence 8- Explain why it is strong
  • Sentence 9- Example

Main Body Paragraph 2 (Weaker Side)

  • Sentence 10- Topic Sentence
  • Sentence 11- Explain why it is not strong
  • Sentence 12- Example


  • Sentence 13- Summary of main points and restate position.


Nazrul Sir’s IELTS Private Care & Students’ Feedback

IELTS Private Care