IELTS Practice Tests

IELTS Speaking. Part Three Question Type 4: Advantages

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IELTS Speaking. Part Three Question Type 4: Advantages

These questions sometimes appear in Part One, but they are much more common in Part Three. Look at the following question and answer:

What are the advantages of travelling by train?

I think there are many advantages; for example it is quite cheap, it’s usually faster than road travel, you can usually take a train to any destination and you can sleep on the train.

Although this answer describes some advantages, it does not use appropriate language to express these advantages. In fact, the only word used “advantage” is recycled from the question. Now look at a different answer to the same question:

Well I suppose that there are quite a few clear benefits, but I would probably say that for the most part, the one thing that really stands out is that trains are really cheap, especially for long distance travel – you can travel from one side China to the other for a few hundred yuan. I guess that another obvious plus point is that it is much faster than travelling by road – so you can save time by travelling on trains. Along with this, a further merit is that you can sleep quite comfortably on long train journeys.

In this answer, the candidate has used appropriate language to express “advantages”: clear benefits, obvious plus point, further merit.

Now create your own “advantages” structure. (You will build a structure that develops each advantage.) Begin with an opening linking phrase that explains that “there are many advantages”.

  • Well I suppose that there are quite a few clear benefits.
  • Clearly there are a number of obvious merits.
  • Sure there are a few favorable aspects.
  • Obviously there are a number of positive features.

Now highlight the most obvious:

  • But I would probably say that for the most part, the one thing that really stands out is that…
  • But it goes without saying that the most apparent would be that…
  • Although I guess that the most visible would be that…
  • However, I guess that the most evident would be that…

Add a simple sentence which describes the advantage: “…trains are really cheap…” Now develop this advantage with one of the following structures:

  • This is obviously favorable because…
  • This is undoubtedly positive for the simple reason that…
  • This is without doubt beneficial because…

Add a simple sentence to explain why it is an advantage: “… you can travel from one side China to the other for a few hundred yuan.”

Now introduce your second advantage:

  • At the same time a second bonus might be that…
  • Besides this, a second plus point could be that…
  • As well as this a further favorable aspect would be that…

Add a simple sentence to explain the advantage and develop it with one of the following:

  • This is clearly advantageous because…
  • This is definitely valuable since…
  • This is surely a positive feature because…

For most questions, two advantages should be enough to produce a good quality answer. There is no need to list every advantage.

A common problem for this type of question is when candidates also try to describe disadvantages in their answer. This is unnecessary because usually (not always) the examiner will ask about disadvantages in the next question. Now use your advantages structure to practise answering the following questions.

  • What are the advantages of travelling by air?
  • What are the advantages of having a private car?
  • What are the advantages of zoos?
  • What are the advantages of playing team sports?
  • What are the advantages of being famous?
  • What are the advantages of watching films in a cinema?
  • What are the advantages of living in cities?
  • What are the advantages of using a public library?
  • What are the advantages of spending time in a foreign country?
  • What are the advantages of getting news from newspapers?
  • What are the advantages of online (Internet) shopping?
  • What are the advantages of listening to the radio (compared with TV)?
  • What are the advantages of advertising?
  • What are the advantages of hand-made products?

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