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Writing Task 2: Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

General Information

  • Write a formal essay.
  • Write at least 250 words.
  • The task is the same for both the General and the Academic Path. However, the topic of the essay question in the General Path is sometimes more straightforward than in the Academic Path.
  • Depending on the question, you will need to either provide and justify your opinion, discuss a topic, outline problems and provide possible solutions, or summarise key details.
  • The ideas you provide should be supported with clear reasons and examples based on your knowledge and experience.
  • Spend 40 minutes on this task.

Scoring of Writing Task 2

This writing task is worth two-thirds of the total marks for the writing test. There are four areas that you will be marked on in writing task 2, and each area is worth 25% of the overall mark for this task.

  • Task Response: This gives marks for your ideas, how well you address the topic, and the extent to which you develop ideas and form a conclusion.
  • Coherence and Cohesion: This gives marks for the effective use of paragraphs, linking paragraphs and ideas, and referencing.
  • Lexical Resource: This gives marks for the range of vocabulary used, the inclusion of collocations, and accurate spelling.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy: This gives marks for the use of varied sentence structures, accurate tense, and accurate punctuation.

Structure of the Essay

The essay for task 2 must be 4-5 paragraphs long to show enough skill and evidence to score well for coherence and cohesion. The structure we suggest includes:

  • Introduction
  • Body 1
  • Body 2
  • Body 3 (optional)
  • Conclusion

Linking Words for Coherence and Cohesion

A quarter of your overall score depends on your ability to show cohesion across the essay. Linking words will help you to do this. The words in the table below provide a range of linking words with different functions for you to use in the task 2 essay.

To Order To Show Contrast To Provide Examples To Show A Result To Add More
Firstly, However, For example, As a result, In addition,
Lastly, Alternatively, For instance, Consequently, Additionally,
Finally, Nevertheless, such as Hence, Furthermore,
Although, in particular Thus, Moreover,
In contrast, specifically Therefore, Also,
On the other hand, especially so As well as,
In comparison, obviously For this reason, and
but clearly
despite namely


To Show Your Opinion To conclude
In my opinion, In conclusion,
I think that To summarise,
I believe that Overall,
I admit that
In my view,
I agree that
I disagree that
owing to
due to


If you use the first 5 minutes for planning, you will have 35 minutes to complete the writing task. I recommend using approximately 30 minutes of this time to write your essay and the remaining 5 minutes to check your work.

During this time, look specifically for spelling mistakes, misused words, grammatical errors, and punctuation mistakes.

Top Tips for Writing an Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

  • You must explore both sides of the issue – the advantages (the positives) and the disadvantages (the drawbacks).
  • Separate your arguments; one main body paragraph should focus on the advantages, and a separate main body paragraph should focus on the negatives.
  • Be sure to give clear points to support your arguments

Planning for the Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

You must take the time to plan for writing task 2. You will already have completed two full tests and writing task 1. Your brain is likely to be fatigued at this point, so you need to take a few minutes to ensure you respond correctly to the task, generate some ideas, and sequence the essay logically.

The plan does not need to be complicated. I recommend spending up to 5 minutes on this. You can use space on the question paper to write the plan.

The plan used for an advantages and disadvantages essay requires four paragraphs only; the introduction, main body paragraph (advantages), main body paragraph (disadvantages), and conclusion. We suggest the following format:


State the issue of focus in the essay

Introduce that there are both advantages and disadvantages of this

Body 1: Advantages

Point: Introduce an advantage

Example/Elaboration: Provide an example/elaborate on its impact

Point: Introduce another advantage

Example/Elaboration: Provide an example/elaborate on its impact

Body 2

Point: Introduce a disadvantage

Example/Elaboration: Provide an example/elaborate on its impact

Point: Introduce a disadvantage

Example/Elaboration: Provide an example/elaborate on its impact


State whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa

Sample Question: Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

As China grows in size and economic stature, many people think that Mandarin will one day take over as the only language spoken in the world.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having one world language?

Model Plan: Advantages and Disadvantages Essay


Mandarin could become the sole world language

Would help people communicate better across countries but also some drawbacks

Body 1: Advantages

Point: Every person in the world can communicate

Example/Elaboration: Open doors for people to travel more confidently globally

Point: Improved communication could help discussions between countries in conflict

Example/Elaboration: By discussing issues face to face, could see more resolutions

Body 2

Point: Countries will lose part of their unique culture

Example/Elaboration: Language is an integral part of the culture – losing it could take away the individuality of countries

Point: Losing part of our history

Example/Elaboration: Many languages have existed for millions of years


The disadvantages outweigh the advantages – allow countries to have their own identity

Model Answer: Solutions Essay

Many people think that as China becomes an increasingly powerful nation, and Mandarin becomes the predominant language for business activities in the world, other world languages may, one day, cease to exist. Having just one language spoken globally would certainly simplify communication across the globe, but there are some definite disadvantages of this happening.

On the one hand, a world with a single language would certainly simplify communication between people of different nations. It is evident that this would increase global connections and open doors for people to travel more confidently and comfortably globally. In addition, the ability of countries to communicate directly with one another would also be advantageous. Many conflicts exist between countries, and can often be caused by misunderstandings or poor relationships. With all countries speaking the same language, issues can be discussed and resolved face-to-face by world leaders.

On the other hand, there are some clear disadvantages to the use of just one global language. Firstly, there is the risk of countries losing their unique culture and identity. Language is a key component of cultural identity and, by taking it away, countries could lose their individuality. In this case, if all countries became too similar, there would be less desire for people to travel and the tourism industry could collapse. Furthermore, the range of languages spoken across the world has developed over hundreds of thousands of years. Specifying that just one language should be spoken globally eliminates an essential part of world history – the development of language in cultures around the world.

Overall, it is clear that, while there are substantial advantages to having a single world language, the risk of losing cultural identity outweighs this. Ensuring the continued individuality of nations is paramount to maintaining a rich world heritage for years to come.

Key Words and Phrases for the Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

  • Many people think that
  • Some people say that
  • there are clear advantages/disadvantages
  • On the one hand…
  • It is evident that…
  • In addition, …
  • On the other hand…
  • Firstly,
  • there is the risk of
  • benefit
  • risk
  • outweigh
  • Furthermore, …
  • Overall, …
  • it is clear that

Practice Test: Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

Many people are becoming vegans and are eating fewer or no animal products.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

Practice Test: Model Plan


Veganism is becoming increasingly popular as people better understand its health benefits

Are benefits and drawbacks

Body 1: Advantages

Point: Eating a plant-based diet is proven to be good for human health

Example/Elaboration: Doctors talk of its benefit and many stories of cancer patients overcoming disease

Point: Eating less meat also helps the environment

Example/Elaboration: Eating plant-based products means eating more local produce – fewer air miles

Body 2

Point: Difficult to get enough protein into the diet – animal products high in this

Example/Elaboration: Important to get enough protein for weight management and building muscle

Point: Less demand for meat = difficult for farmers

Example/Elaboration: Could put many farmers out of work


The advantages outweigh the disadvantages – farmers could focus on growing plant-based products to increase revenue

 Practice Test: Model Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

As plant-based diets become increasingly popular, people are consuming fewer animal products than ever before. While this has been proven to have numerous health benefits, there are also some clear disadvantages to this.

On the one hand, plant-based diets are scientifically proven to be beneficial to human health. Many scientists and doctors talk of its positive impact on the wellbeing of the human body, and there are stories of patients with life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, overcoming these through eliminating animal products from their diet. In addition, consuming less meat also helps the environment. Meat from countries such as the UK, Australia and the USA has often flown thousands of miles around the globe to reach consumers. However, plant-based products can be more locally sourced, reducing the carbon footprint of the food we consume.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to the elimination of meat and other animal products from our diet. Firstly, it is challenging to obtain high levels of protein with little or no meat consumption. The human body requires a higher intake of protein for weight management and to build muscle and meat is naturally very high in protein, while vegetable products are low. Furthermore, a reduction in the demand for meat products will put a significant strain on farmers whose livelihoods rely on the purchase of such products. A continued decline in this demand could put many farmers out of work.

Overall, it is clear that, while there are disadvantages to less consumption of animal products, the advantages outweigh these. The benefits to the health of humans and the environment are key factors for moving towards a vegan diet. Rather than being forced out of work, farmers should focus on the growth and harvesting of the plant-based products that are becoming increasingly high in demand.

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