IELTS Marshalls

Advantage and Disadvantage: 35 IELTS topics and how to write them

A lot of our students ask us how to write the Advantage and Disadvantage IELTS essay. 

We’re going to answer all of your questions right here!

Plus, at the bottom of the page, you’ll see 35 Advantage and Disadvantage Essay topics that were recently asked on the IELTS Exam.

But let’s start with the basics!

Advantage and Disadvantage meaning

To put it simply:

Advantages are the good things about something.

Disadvantages are the bad things about something.

Let’s take technology for instance.

There are some good things about technology, like it makes life easier and more fun. These are the advantages

There are also some bad things about technology, like it distracts young people and makes them antisocial. These are the disadvantages.  

Being that technology is a recurring theme on the IELTS exam, you can learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of technology here: Modern technology: advantages and disadvantages 

Let’s use this information to help us write a high-scoring Advantage and Disadvantage Essay on your IELTS Exam.

Advantages and Disadvantages IELTS Essay: 2 types

Did you know there are two types of  “Advantage and Disadvantage” Essays that could potentially show up on the IELTS Exam?

Well, it’s true – and you need to know how to write each type of Advantage and Disadvantage essay before you take your test.

Let’s look at the two types now:

Type #1: What are the advantages and disadvantages?

This type of essay will ask you, “What are the advantages and disadvantages?” or “Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.”

They are simply asking you to discuss the good things and bad things about a certain topic. It’s very straightforward. 

Remember when we talked about the advantages and disadvantages of technology from above?

Here’s a reminder:

Advantages of technology: it makes life easier and more fun. 

Disadvantages of technology: it distracts young people and makes them antisocial.

Here’s how you would structure your essay: 

Advantage and Disadvantage Essay Type 1 StructureThat’s it then: the advantages go in one main paragraph, and the disadvantages go in another.

Let’s move onto the harder Advantage and Disadvantage Essay next. 

Type #2: Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

This type of Advantage and Disadvantage essay will ask you, “Do the advantages (of something) outweigh the disadvantages?”

This essay is similar at first: you are expected to discuss the good things and bad things about a topic.

But you can’t stop there.

The question is not simply asking, “What are the advantages and disadvantages?” like the last type. It’s also asking you, “Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?”

That means there’s one more step!

You need to make a decision – which side is stronger? Which side overshadows the other – the advantages side or the disadvantages side?

For the technology topic, which side is stronger, do you think? The advantages or disadvantages?

You can make your own decision, of course, but in my opinion, I would say the advantages side is stronger. Technology makes our lives so much easier and more enjoyable. For me, these advantages totally outweigh any disadvantages, like being distracted by my phone or TV.  

Now, this is important: this question is not asking you if there are more advantages than disadvantages. It’s asking you if the advantages are more important than or outweigh the disadvantages.

Here’s how you would structure your essay then: 

Advantage and Disadvantage Essay Type 2 Structure
Those are the two types of Advantage and Disadvantage Essays!

On test day, you must read the question very carefully to know which type it is.

You can’t get a high score if you mix them up. 

Now let’s look at a sample essay for each type. These will help you write your own!

Advantage and Disadvantage Essay: Sample 1

Type #1: What are the advantages and disadvantages?

An increasing number of people are buying what they need online. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this development?

These days, many people buy items from online stores, like Amazon and Wayfair. Although this development might hurt the local economy and small businesses, it makes shopping much easier and more convenient.

Online shopping is extremely easy and convenient for people. They just have to type what they want to buy into the search box, and hundreds of options appear. Also, a person can easily look at reviews from previous buyers to see which product is best. For example, when I bought a cocktail dress for my friend’s wedding, I bought it online. It was much easier than shopping in person and visiting many dress shops. 

Even though there are clear advantages of online shopping, it also has its drawbacks. The local economy and small businesses are suffering. These businesses do not have the ability to compete with large online shops, like Amazon, and they certainly cannot afford to offer services, such as free delivery. Thus, many local companies have gone under. For example, there used to be a small flower shop in my town a few years ago. After the advent of online florists, they had to shut down their much smaller operation.  

In conclusion, although online shopping is advantageous for the shopper, at the same time, it is harmful for small businesses.

 

That’s it for our sample essay! As you can see, this essay is pretty straightforward – just describe the pros and cons of online shopping. 

In case this topic shows up on the test, you can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping here: Top 10 benefits and disadvantages of online shopping  

Advantage and Disadvantage Essay: Sample 2

Type #2: Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

As international travel is becoming cheaper, more and more countries are allowing in more tourists. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

Nowadays, countries around the world are opening their borders to more tourists. While there are some disadvantages of this, I ultimately believe the advantages of an improved economy and free cultural exchange outweigh them. 

There are some cultural and environmental drawbacks of allowing many tourists to visit a place. People in the local communities may be influenced by visitors and forget their own unique traditions. Also, the influx of new tourists could hurt the environment as visitors are known to litter the streets with garbage and drive around in taxis. For example, the city of Portland, Maine has recently welcomed many visitors from all over the world. As a result, the once charming village now has dirtier beaches and more littered streets. 

While there are some downsides to international travel, I am confident that the benefits outweigh them. When a country opens its doors to international visitors, the economy improves, and the local people can learn about different cultures. Tourists book hotel rooms, pay for tour guides, and visit many sights, which all help to buoy businesses and keep local people employed. In addition, it is a great experience for people to meet international tourists from different parts of the world. For example, when I was in New York City, I met a nice family from Japan, and I even learned a few Japanese words; I was happy to learn about their culture. 

Given the evidence, although there are disadvantages of allowing in more tourists, I believe the positives outweigh them; it is a great opportunity to boost the economy and learn about new cultures. 

 

That’s it for the second Advantage and Disadvantage essay type! 

For more information about the pros and cons of tourism, you can do more research here: Advantages and disadvantages of tourism 

Definitely use our two sample essays above as a guide to write your own Advantage and Disadvantage Essays. 

For more guidelines on how to write any Task 2 essay, you can read our blog article here: Writing Task 2 tips to get a 7 or higher

Advantage and Disadvantage synonym

A lot of people feel like they keep repeating “advantages” and “disadvantages” over and over again in their essays.  

You can use the synonyms below to make your essay less repetitive. 

Advantage and Disadvantage synonym chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: you don’t ALWAYS need a synonym for “advantage” and “disadvantage” – you can still use these words! Just every once in a while, try to mix it up a bit. 

Above all, just make sure that your vocabulary is simple and natural. Read more about how important clear, simple vocabulary is here: The biggest lie about IELTS vocabulary

Recent IELTS Essay Topics

Don’t forget to write as many essays as possible before your test!

Here’s a list of 35 topics to practice.

Type #1: What are the advantages and disadvantages? 

People currently travel to find work and leave their friends and family behind. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this phenomenon. 

Some people get used to eating food from other regions instead of their local food. What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Some people become famous at an early age. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages. 

In some countries, many people prefer to rent a house rather than buying one. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of renting.

In some cultures, children are often told that they can achieve anything if they try hard enough. What are the advantages and disadvantages of giving children this message?

Many people have suggested that young adults should undertake a period of unpaid work helping people in their local community. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

Some people prefer to buy international products rather than local ones. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

An increasing number of people are buying what they need online. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this development?

More and more people prefer to buy ready-made food from restaurants or convenience stores instead of cooking for themselves. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

Type 2: Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? 

Giving pocket money to children is very common in many countries. Do the advantages of this  practice outweigh the disadvantages? 

These days, people write worse than they did before, in a more informal and relaxing way. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

The personal information of many individuals is held by large internet companies and organisations. Do you think the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

It is sometimes suggested that primary school children should learn how to grow vegetables and keep animals. Do you think that the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

In the past, knowledge was contained in books. Nowadays, knowledge is uploaded to the internet. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

In the past, most people worked for small businesses, while more people now work for large businesses. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working for large businesses?

In many countries, plastic containers have become more common than ever and are used by many food and drink companies. Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

In many workplaces, online communication is now more common than face-to-face meetings. Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the disadvantages?

The global demand for oil and gas is increasing. Some believe that we should therefore encourage the exploitation of remote areas. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages

In many countries, fast food is becoming cheaper and more widely available. Do the disadvantages of this outweigh the advantages?

Some believe that we should invent a new language for international communication. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

The use of social media is replacing face-to-face interaction among many people in society. Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

In some countries, criminal trials are shown on television for the public. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

People today increasingly use credit cards to make monthly purchases. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

Many museums charge for admission while others are free. Do you think the advantages of charging people for admission to museums outweigh the disadvantages?

Much of the food people eat gets transported from farms thousands of miles away. Some believe it would be better for the environment and economy if people only ate food from local farmers. Would the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

These days, more and more business meetings and business training are taking place online. Do the advantages of this change outweigh the disadvantages?

Some educators think international exchange programs would benefit teenagers in High School. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

More and more people today are buying and driving cars which has a positive impact for the economy but can hurt the environment. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

Machines and robots are increasingly replacing workers in a number of industries. Do the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

Many famous sports players advertise sports products. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

For people in many countries consumer goods have become an essential part of their lives. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

As international travel is becoming cheaper, more and more countries are allowing in more tourists. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

These days, mobile phones and the internet are very important to the ways in which people relate to one another socially. Do the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

Films and games can be viewed and played at any time on mobile devices. Do the advantages of such a development outweigh the disadvantages?

After finishing school, some students go travelling or work for a period of time instead of going directly to university. Do you think the advantages of gap years outweigh the disadvantages?

 

Try to write a few of these essays before your test!

Here’s how to make sure your essays are in the 7, 8, or 9 range:

 

 

Now, we’re going to leave you with this topic:

More and more people prefer to buy ready-made food from restaurants or convenience stores instead of cooking for themselves. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

Comment below:

What are the advantages of buying ready-made food from restaurants or convenience stores? (Name two.)

What are the disadvantages? (Name two.)

We can’t wait to read your answers!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.