IELTS Writing Actual Test & Band 9.0 Advantage/Disadvantage Essay – Topic: take a Gap Year

IELTS Writing Actual Test & Band 9.0 Advantage/Disadvantage Essay - Topic: Gap Year

Academic IELTS Writing Task 2 Topic (in February, 2015):

Some students take a year off between school and university, to work or to travel. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

Band 9.0 Model Essay:

It is true these days that many high school leavers choose to start their work or take a trip before going to university. While a gap year can bring some immediate drawbacks, I am convinced that it is more likely to have long-term benefits for their lives.


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On the one hand, young students are very likely to encounter several difficulties when delaying their university study. One of these problems is the delay in academic progress caused by spending one year off school. It is understandably almost impossible for young people to enjoy their experiences in doing a job or travelling to a new place but still arrange a certain amount of time for revision. As a result, gap-year takers may have to face the challenge of becoming familiar with the knowledge at school again, receiving more pressure of catching up with their peers. Besides, the life out of university campus may prove to be mentally and physically overwhelming for inexperienced school leavers. They, for instance, may be at risk of being exploited in an exhausting job or face potential dangers on their trips to a new country. If not well prepared for such possible obstacles, young high school graduates can suffer from unintended consequences.

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On the other hand, I would argue that these disadvantages are outweighed by the positive effects. A gap year is an ideal opportunity for students to learn about what is not taught at university. Working with other people who are experts in a particular field can give these newcomers not only understanding of the job but also valuable practical lessons to help them become more mature. When it comes to applying for a position in a company, employers tend to favourably consider applicants who possess extensive experience in life and the occupation. Furthermore, in terms of recreation, having a year to relax can be advantageous as students can have a chance to relieve stress in study. With a comfortable and willing attitude, undergraduates can acquire knowledge more effectively in comparison with those who go to university straightaway.

In conclusion, despite some negative aspects, it seems to me that the benefits of a gap year are more significant for the reasons mentioned.

(By 365 words – by Bao Nguyen)

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Useful Expressions

  • Long-term (adj): continuing for a long time into the future
    ==>The long-term effect of education should not be neglected.
  • To encounter sth (v): to experience something, especially something unpleasant
    ==>Young graduates commonly have to encounter great difficulty in seeking employment.
  • Progress (n): movement to an improved or more developed state
    ==>By adequately rewarding the students who have made significant progress in study, the school administration can recognise the achievements of these diligent students to others, encouraging many more students to devote more effort to study to obtain similar rewards.
  • Peer (n): a person who is the same age, or has the same social position or the same abilities as other people in a group.
    ==>In some developing Asian countries such as Vietnam, baby girls are usually less appreciated than their peers due to the remnants of feudalism that favoured men more than women.
  • Overwhelming (adj): too great or large for somebody
    ==>High school students in Vietnam, ranging from primary to high school ones, are obliged to learn an overwhelming amount of knowledge at school, not to mention loads of homework and other extra classes.
  • Inexperienced (adj): having little knowledge or experience
    ==>Many companies, for fear of arising expenses on training inexperienced new employees, tend to refuse the applicants who have just graduated.
  • Extensive (adj): having a great range
    ==>Society certainly benefits from the intellectual workforce who possess extensive knowledge in scientific areas.
  • Occupation (n): a person’s job
    ==>On the other hand, manual occupations are of fundamental importance to society.
  • Advantageous (adj): giving advantages or helping to make you more successful
    ==>The ability to speak foreign languages fluently can prove to be very advantageous for job seekers in the competitive job market.

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Written By

Nafia Zuhana is an experienced content writer and IELTS Trainer. Currently, she is guiding students who are appearing for IELTS General and Academic exams through With an 8.5 score herself, she trains and provides test takers with strategies, tips, and nuances on how to crack the IELTS Exam. She holds a degree in Master of Arts – Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has worked with The Hindu for over a year as an English language trainer.

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