IELTS Writing Task 2: an advantage-disadvantage essay on taking a gap year before starting university education; with plans and model answer

IELTS Writing Task 2: an advantage-disadvantage essay on taking a gap year before starting university education; with plans and model answer

This IELTS Writing Task 2 post offers the insights of writing a great answer to an advantage-disadvantage essay. This task 2 question asks the candidates to provide their personal opinions on taking a gap year before starting university education. In this post, you will find a plan that can help you to write this answer effectively along with a mind-map or brainstorming ideas.  You will also find a great 7.5-band model answer written by two candidates who took my IELTS Writing Correction Service. I am hopeful that these answers can help you construct your own answers for other opinion topics.

Let’s have a look at the question first.

In some countries young people are encouraged to work or travel for a year between finishing high school and starting university studies. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for young people who decide to do this.

What kind of essay structure should you follow?

In most IELTS Writing Task 2 essays, a 4-paragraph structure is followed. For this specific problem-solution essay, we should also follow a 4-paragraph essay structure.

Paragraph 1: Introduction (Introduce the topic with some background information and your thesis on the topic in 40/60 words)

Paragraph 2: (Explain the advantages – with examples in around 120-130 words)

Paragraph 3: (Explain the disadvantages – with examples in around 120-130 words)

Paragraph 4: (Conclude the essay with a personal opinion on what decision can be made about taking gap year – 40/50 words)

How to plan for your answer to a descriptive topic:

When you start writing your task 2 answers, what strategies do you follow? Do you have a plan that you arrange beforehand and apply it accordingly?

It is always a very good idea to plan before you write something; even it takes 5/7 minutes of your time. A good plan reduces your pressure of real-time thinking and writing together. It also improves your power of thinking and arranging ideas. So, utilize the opportunity of thinking beforehand and take some necessary notes that can help you to present your thoughts in an organized way.

For this kind of opinion topic, we need to analyze the question and try to understand what the task requirements are. Let’s look at this question again and find out what they want us to write:

In some countries young people are encouraged to work or travel for a year between finishing high school and starting university studies. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for young people who decide to do this.

As you can see, there are two points on this topic and we should answer the question effectively by explaining the advantages and disadvantages. We should also remember to write a minimum of 250 words to illustrate our ideas, thoughts, suggestions etc.

So, here is a plan that I’ve made to establish my ideas, thoughts, and suggestions. You can do the same by doing some brainstorming and taking some notes. You need not be accurate to do this, just put down your thoughts and do some regular practice.

Now, let’s have a look at the plan:

Description of the pros and cons of taking a gap year before starting university education:

Advantages of taking gap year:

  1. Expand horizons by traveling new places; learn about new customs and cultures
  2. Learn about the value of hard-work; change of perspective about being lavish

Disadvantages of taking gap year:

  1. Feel homesick; miss family and friends
  2. Earning money makes disillusionment about studies; risking job career.

Now, here is a model answer prepared by an IELTS candidate who scored 7.5 in IELTS Writing. In my opinion, the answer is quite organized and you can easily get a band score of 7.5 or more if you write your answers like this one.

Model answer:

Many people in various nations of the world advocate taking a year gap with the purpose of working or traveling before embarking on one’s third-level education. While this offers a number of benefits, there are also some pitfalls which are worth considering.

Traveling or working before starting university education includes two primary advantages. At the initial point, young learners will be able to expand their horizons through visiting different places. When students set out for their overseas journey, they will be eventually open to the elements of different cultures and customs. This will provide them with a deeper perceptive of the world as a result. Besides, students who decide to work for 12 months ahead of their university classes will be taught to realize the value of earning money due to the fact that they will appreciate the struggle involved here. As a consequence, they will be able to control their desire to spend money lavishly and may become more selective in spending the hard-earned money in a more productive way.

On the flip side, some drawbacks of taking a gap year must not be ignored. Primarily, traveling is a well-documented reason of homesickness and many students, who have not been apart from their loved ones before, may pine for these people and if the case gets more serious, they may even turn out to be troubled and depressed. Moreover, students earning a handsome amount of money may suffer from disillusionment to return to their studies because they may take pleasure in becoming financially independent and growing some sort of self-identity. Hence, they may jeopardize their future career as in recent times it is vital for every person to graduate with a good degree in order to compete in the job market or business world.

To conclude, gaining invaluable experience and learning to become more independent in relation to money are the prime benefits of taking a gap year. Nonetheless, young learners may also feel homesick and wind up discontinuing their studies. In my opinion, weighing the advantages against the drawbacks carefully before coming to a decision is crucial or students may go for an extremely risky adventure.

(340 words)

Here are some other model IELTS Task 2 questions and answers:

Click here for two model answers to an Opinion essay on the use of fossil fuels and its threats

Click here for a model answer to Cambridge 14 Test 4 Writing Task 2

Click here for a model answer to agree-disagree topic: elderly or young people as company leaders

Click here for a model answer to advantage-disadvantage topic: online shopping

Click here for a model answer to opinion essay: urbanization in countryside/ problem of housing

Click here for a model answer to opinion essay: qualities of a good supervisor/boss

Click here for a model answer to opinion essay: on the use of fossil fuels

Click here for a model answer to descriptive essay: adopting a local culture by people all over the world

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Umesh Khadka
Umesh Khadka
7 months ago

One of the best IELTS learning site ever. Thank you admin.

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