How to write “Advantages outweigh Disadvantages” Essay?

This lesson is about IELTS advantage disadvantage essay questions when you are told to assess whether the benefits of something outweigh the drawbacks. The topic of the essay which is used as an example is about the trend to live and work abroad.

Take a look at the essay question we are going to analyse:


People now have the freedom to work and live anywhere in the world due to the development of communication technology and transportation.

Do the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?


Understanding the Task

When you have this type of advantage disadvantage essay it is important to distinguish between this and one that asks you to discuss advantages and disadvantages but does not ask your opinion.

If you are asked “What are the advantages and disadvantages of…..” you are not being asked your opinion. You simply have to discuss the benefits and drawbacks.

You could do this in two body paragraphs – one discussing the positive points, the next discussing the negative points.

However, if you have the word “outweigh” or “Will this trend have more positive or negative effects?” then you are being asked for your opinion and you must say which there are the most of – positive or negative impacts.

If you do not do this then you may get your score reduced on ‘Task Response’ for not fully addressing the question.

Take a look at these examples:


People now have the freedom to work and live anywhere in the world due to the development of communication technology and transportation.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?


This advantage disadvantage essay is not asking for your opinion. You could simply write one paragraph on the advantages and another on the disadvantages. However, this one does:


People now have the freedom to work and live anywhere in the world due to the development of communication technology and transportation.

Do the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

OR

Will this have more positive or negative impacts?


Writing your Thesis

Another point to be careful of is using the word ‘outweigh’. It is common for IELTS students to get mixed up when they write the thesis statement, and actually say the opposite to what they write in the essay!

For example, they will say the drawbacks outweigh the benefits, but then give more benefits in the essay. This makes no sense.

So if you are not sure you can use the word correctly, I would recommend not using it in this type of IELTS advantage disadvantage essay. You can just say what your opinion is, as in the thesis in the model answer:

I believe that this has more benefits than drawbacks.

This will avoid any mistakes.

Planning and Organisation

You then need to think of 3 supporting ideas. One for one side and two for the other side.

So you will then have three body paragraphs, one with the drawback / benefit and two with the advantages / disadvantages.

It is common academic practice to start with the opposing opinion to yours, so you can start with the point that you have one idea for.

As explained above, it is very important, especially if you are looking for a band 7 or higher, that your opinion reflects what is in your essay. So if you have said there are more benefits, then you would have two benefits and one drawback.



Personal Advice

My advice for these questions is to write a paragraph about each side, and make it clear in the introduction and
conclusion which side outweighs the other (i.e. your opinion about whether there are more advantages or disadvantages).

This was a recent exam question:


In some countries, governments are encouraging industries and businesses to move to regional areas outside the big cities.
Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the disadvantages?


Here are some ideas:

  1. Introduce the topic by paraphrasing the statement, then give a clear opinion about whether there are more advantages or disadvantages.
  2. Advantages – e.g. costs are lower in regional areas; there is more space; provide jobs to boost deprived areas; avoid further overcrowding in cities.
  3. Disadvantages – e.g. greater availability of skilled workers in big cities; better transport and infrastructure; companies based in regional areas are further from their clients, providers and other contacts.
  4. Conclude by summarizing your opinion in a different way.


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I hope this post would help you achieve your band scores. For any Suggestions or Input, fell free leave your comments below or you may also contact me personally via mail at harjeet316@gmail.com or by Phone@ +91 99035-52945. Also follow me on Facebook and share/like this post. Stay tuned for further updates on IELTS365.

Credits: ielts buddy



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