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Task 2 Essay Type: Advantages / Disadvantages
We have a Task Two Essay Type where you’re supposed to focus on advantages and disadvantages to some issue. Let’s take a look at how to answer these questions. Let’s begin with sample questions. So example number one, some countries require young people to serve in the military.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this policy? Let’s take a look at a second question that’s asked in a different way. So example number two. Some schools put the most advanced students in separate classes from their peers, so they can study more challenging materials. Do the advantages of this practice outweigh the disadvantages?
Two different prompts and two different ways of asking you to focus on advantages, and disadvantages. Let’s analyze the differences between these two in particular, because they present some of the most important strategy for this question type. So strategy. Pay close attention to the wording of the prompt.
As we saw on the previous page, there are two basic types that you get from this question type. What are the advantages and disadvantages, and do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? There’s some different ways of asking this question, but these are the two basic types and there are two types.
Because with one of them, the first one, your job is simply to explain, to explain advantages and disadvantages. However, in the second one, your job is to take a side. You’re supposed to say whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. So you need to present your opinion in this case about what you think is best for whatever topic is presented to you.
So that’s important. In the first type, you simply report advantages and disadvantages. You don’t need to take a side. In the second one, you do need to take a side. However, no matter which question type you have, no matter which way they ask you the question, you will most of the time want to write two body paragraphs for this essay.
In the first body paragraph, you can focus on advantages or you can write about disadvantages first. It doesn’t matter. But for the case of just this explanation, let’s say, we write the first paragraph about advantages. Then as you guessed, the second body paragraph should be describing disadvantages.
Again, you can flip these if you want to. If you have to take a side, so if you’re ask a question something like do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? In that case, you may write a third paragraph if you wish to. So in that case, you could spend the first paragraph on advantages. Second paragraph on disadvantages and then a third paragraph taking your side, explaining why you think the advantages do or do not outweigh the disadvantages.
So that could be a whole paragraph, if you wish. However, you can also simply present your perspective in two paragraphs. Later in this lesson, we’re going to look at a sample outline for the second example question and the full sample essay will be of this type where you simply provide a perspective in the thesis and then within two body paragraphs. So you can look at the sample essay t o see how that works.
Now, lets look at example question one. The military question and then just think about how this one would be outlined. This one as we saw is not one in which you need to present your opinion. In fact, you should not. Because the question does not ask you to do so. So there are many ways to answer this question, which is usually the case with IELTS essay questions.
So let’s just look at one way to do it as an example for you of how you could approach this question, beginning with the thesis statement. The thesis reads, while mandatory military service can teach young people discipline and shared purpose with others, this policy is not best for some individuals and may, in fact, be detrimental to the military itself.
In this thesis, we present the basic arguments for both advantages and disadvantages. Notice again, the thesis statement does not present an opinion or perspective on which is more important. It is simply reporting advantages and disadvantages in a very basic way. Therefore, with this thesis then, we could expect body paragraphs that would look like this.
The first body paragraph, explaining advantages could provide some detail. It could say something like okay, mandatory military service can help create a shared sense of purpose when working with others to protect one’s homeland. It can also teach good habits and discipline to young people. So those are the advantages of mandatory military services. Now, the disadvantages.
In the second body paragraph, we could write about how some young people could possibly provide greater service to society in other ways. So some people maybe will not benefit the military very much. Maybe they, if they’re forced to serve their society in some way. Maybe their skills could be put to better use. So that is one disadvantage of this policy.
The second one listed there, the military may perform better when members volunteer to serve. If you’ve got a military full of people who don’t really wanna be there, maybe the military will not be as effective in some way. Maybe it is better to allow people to volunteer for these kinds of jobs. Again, many ways to answer this question here.
You may have very different opinions than this, that’s fine. This is just an example of how you might outline this question where you do not need to present your opinion. Let’s look at the second example question now. The second one about schools. Some schools put the most advanced students in separate classes from their peers, so they can study more challenging materials.
Do the advantages of this practice outweigh the disadvantages? As we discussed earlier, we need to provide a perspective on this question. Let’s look at a sample thesis here. It says, while this practice can benefit top students by ensuring they receive a sufficient challenge, I would argue against separating students this way. Because doing so unnecessarily prevents an excellent opportunity for socialization.
This essay needs to prevent advantages and disadvantages, but the question requires us to take a side. Notice how in the thesis, we do this. We present how this policy might be beneficial and some people might agree with it. Some people might believe that this is a good policy, because it gives students a sufficient challenge.
So the idea being, the most advanced students when you put them all in the same classroom, they could work on really advanced stuff and maybe they won’t get bored in some way. That’s an advantage. It’s in the second body paragraph though, where we present the disadvantages to this policy that we present our opinion that in fact, the disadvantages I’m about to mention in this paragraph are more important than what I mentioned above.
That’s how it works out. So our thesis statement points to that idea and then when we look at our body paragraphs. In the first body paragraph, it’s about the advantage. Separating students can ensure an appropriate challenge and the second body paragraph is a disadvantage, separating students unnecessarily prevents an opportunity for socialization.
Those would be the topics of the two paragraphs and it’s in this second body paragraph where we present our opinion. Go ahead and look at the sample essay below and you’ll see how this works. How the author argues that in fact, this disadvantage side of the question is the more important side than the advantages mentioned in the first body paragraph.
This is a good strategy for organizing your essay when you need to present an opinion. But again, if necessary, you could write a third body paragraph explaining your perspective for the question. Do a review. Number one, pay close attention to the wording of every prompt.
Do you need to present a prospective or not? That will be clear from the prompt itself. Don’t take a side, unless the directions tell you to. It’s very important. You will in fact, lose points if you present an opinion for one of these questions where an opinion is not required.
Number three, in general, write two body paragraphs for this essay. One side for advantages, the other side for disadvantages. That’s true even if you have to present your opinion. But if you want to, if you’re required to provide your opinion, then you can write a third paragraph and include your opinion there. That’s perfectly fine.
So this is our lesson on the task two question type where they ask you to describe advantages and disadvantages to an issue.
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