IELTS Practice Tests

IELTS Speaking. Part Three Question Type 5: Disadvantages

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IELTS Speaking. Part Three Question Type 5: Disadvantages

An advantage question is often followed by a disadvantage question.

What are the advantages of train travel?

(Your answer)

Are there any disadvantages?

Your disadvantage answer should be similar to your advantage answer. You need to use appropriate vocabulary to describe the disadvantages. Begin with a linking structure to explain that there are some disadvantages:

  • I think it’s fair to say that there are a few negative aspects.
  • I’m sure most people would agree that there are some drawbacks.
  • Of course there are a couple of shortcomings.

Now introduce your main disadvantage:

  • I guess the most impractical characteristic would be that…
  • I suppose the most unfavorable quality might be that…
  • Unquestionably, the most adverse feature would be that…

Describe the main advantage with a simple sentence, for example: “…trains are often overcrowded…”

Now use a linking structure to develop this disadvantage.

  • Most people would agree that this is problematic because…
  • This is an obvious weakness because…
  • This is a clear limitation because…

Add a simple sentence to explain why it is a disadvantage, for example: “…on a long journey you might not be able to find a seat.”

Now describe your second disadvantage.

  • Correspondingly, an additional weak point may be that…
  • Supplementary to this, a further handicap may be that…
  • At the same time, another stumbling block might be that…

Add a simple sentence and develop it with one of the following structures:

  • And the trouble with this is that…
  • And this can be a hassle because…
  • This is usually an aggravation because…

So a complete answer to the question might look like this:

What are the disadvantages of train travel?

I think it’s fair to say that there are a few negative aspects. I suppose the most unfavorable quality might be that trains are often overcrowded at certain times of year. This is a clear limitation because on a long journey you might not be able to find a seat which means you have to stand up for hours. At the same time, another stumbling block might be that train tickets are sometimes difficult to buy, especially around Spring Festival, and this can be a hassle because it means you can’t always travel on the actual day that you want to.

When the examiner hears this answer, the first thing he will notice is the appropriate disadvantage language: negative aspects, unfavorable quality, clear limitation, stumbling block, hassle. Because you have used these words in complex linking structures, it affects your score in three ways: fluency – grammar – vocabulary.

Now use your disadvantage structure to practise the following Part Three questions:

  • What are the disadvantages of shopping in supermarkets?
  • What are the disadvantages of using technology in education?
  • What are the disadvantages of going on holiday in foreign countries?
  • What are the disadvantages of having a fixed daily routine?
  • What are the disadvantages of machine-made products?
  • What are the disadvantages of zoos?
  • What are the disadvantages of eating out in restaurants?
  • What are the disadvantages of online (Internet) shopping?
  • What are the disadvantages of being famous?
  • What are the disadvantages of living in cities?
  • What are the disadvantages of living in the countryside?
  • What are the disadvantages of living near the sea?
  • What are the disadvantages of living in an old building?
  • What are the disadvantages of advertising?

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