Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

This question has come up a few times recently, including in the closed Facebook group for 3 Keys IELTS:

“Thanks a lot for your precious tips and advice. In the 3 Keys course, I didn’t see mentioned the advantages/disadvantages type of essay. I realize that the former might be relevant to an argument essay, but the structure should be different, I believe.”

Remember that if the IELTS Writing Task 2 question says agree/disagree, you should write an argument essay about two sides.

Advantages/disadvantages is still two sides.

This means that you should still follow the strategies for writing a high-scoring argument essay.

For example, if you think something has more advantages, that is your opinion. Thus, you will explain the disadvantages in paragraph 2, and your opinion, about the advantages, in paragraph 3.

Let’s look at an IELTS question:

Many students are taking a gap year before they attend university.

Does taking a gap year have more advantages or disadvantages?

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First, decide your opinion.

Then brainstorm advantages and disadvantages.

If I were writing this essay, I would put disadvantages of a gap year in paragraph 2, and my opinion about the worthy advantages in paragraph 3.

Another student commented on this post about her doubts about using  I in her IELTS Writing Task 2 essay.

Yes, using I is not appropriate in academic writing, but an IELTS essay is different. You must use I to express your opinion, because the examiner explicitly looks for your strong, personal position for your Task Achievement score.

What do you think of today’s advice?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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