Advantages–Disadvantages Essay Questions in IELTS Writing Task 2

Learn how to answer Advantages–disadvantages essay questions in IELTS writing Task 2 with an overview, recommended approach and practice question.

by Tim Martyn

workers sitting at computers in an office


Advantages–disadvantages essay questions are a common question type in IELTS writing Task 2. You’ll be presented with a statement about some kind of trend or phenomenon. You’ll either be asked what the advantages and disadvantages are, or whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Here are some key points about Advantages–disadvantages essay questions:

  • You should spend no more than 40 minutes on the task.
  • You should write at least 250 words – you’ll be penalised if your answer is too short.
  • Task 2 is worth two thirds of your total writing mark; Task 1 is worth one third.
  • You must write in full sentences, not bullet points or note form.

Example question

Here’s an example Advantages–disadvantages essay question.

Write about the following topic:

Some people choose to be self-employed rather than work for an employer.

Do you think the advantages of being self-employed outweigh the disadvantages?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Practice question

Now it’s your turn to practise. Try the Advantages–disadvantages essay question below using the approach outlined above.

Write about the following topic:

Many parents encourage their teenage children to get a part-time job while they are still in high school.

Do you think the advantages of high school students having a part-time job outweigh the disadvantages?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

↕  scrollable window


Click below for a sample answer.

High school students are often encouraged by their parents to work part-time while they are still at school. Despite the fact that part-time employment has some downsides for students still in high school, I do feel that these are outweighed by the benefits.

A part-time job can come with a number of disadvantages for high school students. Firstly, balancing a part-time job and school commitments can lead to time management challenges, potentially impacting the student’s ability to focus on their studies, complete assignments and perform well academically. The pursuit of a part-time job can also limit a student’s ability to do sport and exercise and reduce the amount of time they have available to spend with family and friends. This can take a toll on their physical and mental well-being.

Despite these challenges, I feel that, on balance, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Firstly, a part-time job provides practical exposure to the world of work, helping students develop important skills such as time management, responsibility and teamwork. This hands-on experience can contribute to their personal growth and preparation for future careers. Additionally, a part-time job can teach financial literacy. High school students with a part-time job learn to manage their earnings and make informed decisions about spending and saving. It also gives them a sense of independence as they no longer have to fully rely on their parents for money. This is an important part of becoming an adult and a first step towards eventually leaving the family home.

In conclusion, while parents and students need to carefully consider the challenges involved in getting a part-time job, I feel that it is a worthwhile pursuit because of the many benefits.