IELTS General Writing Task 1 – Letter

IELTS General Writing Task 1

The IELTS general writing task 1 is a letter. You have to write a letter to someone whom you may or may not know. You should write a minimum of 150 words to achieve a high score.



IELTS General Writing Task 1 – Requirements and Instructions

You have to follow the below points to achieve a high band in the IELTS general writing task 1:

  1. Try to write at least 150 words. Not less. All words are counted; even an article is counted as one word.
  2. Structure the letter with paragraphs. Failing to do this can lead to a lower score.
  3. Spend 20 minutes on writing your letter. Furthermore, check out this link to see how to manage your time for the IELTS writing test.
  4. IELTS General Writing Task 1 is ⅓ of the overall wiring test score. Writing Task 2 is ⅔ of the total score.
  5. The IELTS writing task is assessed by four criteria, each of which counts for 25% of the total score.
    • Task Achievement
    • Coherence and Cohesion
    • Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
    • Grammar

IELTS Letter Type – Formal or Informal

The first thing to do when writing an IELTS letter is to determine the letter type.

There are two possible types of IELTS letters in this task, one formal and one informal. The tone you should use in your writing will depend on the letter type.

Now, let’s move on and find out how to understand which type of letter it is, and how to write the letter.

IELTS Formal Letter

When you need to write to someone whom you don’t know or know but you are in a professional relationship, it is a formal letter. For example, if you are given to write a letter to your local council or make an insurance claim it is a formal letter because you don’t know the recipient personally. Another example is when you need to request a vacation from your manager. This is a formal letter because you are in a professional relationship with your manager. You are not friends. In the formal letter, you have to use a formal tone.

Another example of a formal letter is when you need to request vacation from your manager. You are in a professional relationship with your manager, so consider this a formal letter and use a formal tone.

IELTS Informal Letter

When you need to write to someone you know personally, and you are in a personal relationship, it is an informal letter. For example, if you have to write to your friend and ask him to come and stay with you over the weekend, this is an informal letter. He is your friend, so you should use informal language.

IELTS Letter – Opening and Closing

Every letter must have an opening and closing section. You need to use an appropriate opener and closer based on the person you are writing to. For example:

  1. If you are writing to someone you don’t know, you should open the letter with Dear Sir or Madam and close it with Yours faithfully
  2. In case you have to write a formal letter to someone you know, you should open the letter with Dear Mr/Mrs (Name) and close it with Yours sincerely

How to Structure The IELTS General Writing Task 1

Now, we will learn how to structure the letter to achieve the best possible score. If you want to learn more about how the IELTS writing task is assessed, please check out this link.

IELTS General Writing Task 1

Take a look at the above IELTS letter. Each IELTS letter has a topic question and bullet points. You should be able to understand the letter type by the topic question. In this case, it is an informal letter because you have to write to a friend.

We recommend that you write five paragraphs:

  • The first paragraph should explain why you are writing. For example, in this case, you should write to a friend and say that you are writing to give him advice or suggestion.
  • The next three paragraphs should cover all three bullet points. We recommend that you write one paragraph for each bullet point.
  • The last paragraph should conclude the letter. For example, you can say that you hope your suggestion could be helpful.

How to Write the IELTS General Writing Task 1

We recommend that you spend 20 minutes writing the letter. So, let’s look at how 20 minutes could be used for writing it.

  1. Make sure to understand what type of letter it is — formal or informal. Once you know the letter type and what you should write, you are ready to start planning.
  2. Spend up to 3 minutes on planning the letter. You have to plan your ideas, what you are going to write, and how you will cover all the bullet points.
  3. Open the letter appropriately. How you do this depends on the letter type. The first paragraph should clearly outline the purpose of the letter. Write one or two sentences in the first paragraph.
  4. Make sure to write three paragraphs to cover all bullet points. Write 2-3 sentences for each paragraph.
  5. Write the letter conclusion and close the letter appropriately. How you do this depends on the letter type.
  6. Proofread your written letter. Make sure you are not missing this step. You don’t want to lose score because of silly mistakes. For example, you could have a spelling problem while you are aware of how the word is written, or you could have a missing article which is easy to fix. So spend 2-4 minutes on proofreading.

How to study the IELTS General Writing Task 1

Let us give you some hints, how you can study further and get a high score.

  1. Vocabulary: The vocabulary counts for 25% of the writing test score. This is less about IELTS and more about English. If your English language level is good enough, and you can use a wide range of vocabulary, this part should not be challenging. Keep expanding your vocabulary.
  2. Grammar: The grammar section counts for 25% of the writing test score. Again, this is all about the English level. If you can produce error-free sentences, it will be easy to achieve a high band from the grammar part.
  3. Task Achievement and Coherence and Cohesion is something that can be achieved by structuring your letter well. We provided tips and ideas on how you can structure your letter on this page.
  4. You can start writing letters. Initially, you can spend more than 20 minutes on writing a letter; then gradually reduce the time to 20 minutes per letter.
  5. Once you have your first letters written, you want to know what score they will likely get. You should have an experienced IELTS teacher who can give an accurate score. However, if you don’t have someone who can review and correct your letter, we can help you with it. Our experienced IELTS examiners can provide you with a score that will be similar to the one which you will get in the real IELTS exam. Additionally, they will also let you know which areas you can improve and why you got a particular score. If you want to submit your letters to us for checking, please check out this link.

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us: support@ieltsprofi.com.


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