Are you good at writing letters? May it be for a friend, a loved one, your boss, or your landlord? Are you taking the IELTS test soon? If your answer to the first two questions is ‘no’ and ‘yes’ to the third question, this article is for you.
If you plan to take the IELTS General Training module, this is the time for you to get your IELTS letter writing skills practiced and developed. We have gathered every detail there is to know about the IELTS Letter Writing task in this article, so please keep reading.
- What is IELTS Writing Task 1 Letter Writing?
- What is the Difference Between Academic and General Training Writing Task 1?
- Essential Tips for IELTS Letter Writing
- What is the Difference Between a Formal, Semi-formal, and Informal Letter?
- How to Structure Your Response the IELTS Letter Writing Task?
- Formal and Informal Vocabulary and Phrases
- Useful Expressions for the IELTS Letter Writing task
- Useful Ways to Improve your IELTS General Training Letter Writing
- Sample — IELTS Writing Task 1 Letters
- Practice Questions for General Training Writing Task 1
- Additional FAQs – IELTS Writing Task 1 Letter Writing
What is IELTS Writing Task 1 Letter Writing?
The IELTS Letter Writing task is the first of two tasks in the IELTS Writing Test that you have to take if you are taking the IELTS General Training module.
It requires you to write a letter responding to a given situation. You need to have at least 150 words and are advised to spend a maximum of 20 minutes on this task because the IELTS General Training Writing Task 2 has more weight.
The IELTS Letter Writing task appraises your ability to:
- provide facts or examples to back up ideas
- speak with a tone and language that is appropriate for the situation
- convey needs, wants, likes, and dislikes through personal correspondence
What is the Difference Between Academic and General Training Writing Task 1?
The IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 requires you to describe and explain the data presented either in the form of a graph, chart, diagram, or table.
On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, the IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 asks you to write a letter in response to a given predicament.
Both tasks require you to have at least 150 words, and it is recommended that you spend a maximum of 20 minutes on this part of the test.
Essential Tips for IELTS Letter Writing
To get high marks in the IELTS Letter Writing task, we have gathered for you the most essential and effective tips and techniques that you should employ to be able to help you give your best performance in this part of the test. Here they are.
- Read and follow the instructions:
The general instructions will assist you in determining the letter type. Every letter has a goal, which you should determine before writing it. This will help you understand the topics to cover, the style of letter you should write, and other details.
- Identify the type of letter:
The type of letter you will write will set the tone of how you write your letter. Decide whether the given topic calls for a formal, semi-formal, or informal letter. This will help you draft the letter.
- State the purpose of the letter:
Begin your letter by describing the reason for your writing or the purpose. The reason for drafting your letter should be stated clearly in the first paragraph. Make sure the letter’s goal is to respond directly to the problem described in the question.
- Plan effectively:
Even before you start writing, you should start planning. It is not a bad idea to spend the first 3-5 minutes planning to write a letter because once you start writing a letter, there is no going back to change your strategy.
- Manage your time wisely:
Your 20 minutes should be divided into three sections: planning, writing and evaluating.
Spend the first 3-5 minutes planning, the next 12-15 minutes writing, and the final 2-3 minutes checking your work for errors.
Also, do not go over the 20-minute time restriction because you will need the last 40 minutes for IELTS Writing Task 2, which is your essay writing task.
- Structure your letter well:
Your capability to employ effective paragraphing will also be assessed by the examiner. This is the most used typical structure for the IELTS Letter Writing task, which you can also employ in the test.
Some IELTS candidates frequently make the error of condensing all of the points into a single paragraph. It is a great idea to separate your thoughts into paragraphs.
- Be mindful of spelling and punctuation:
You will receive a low IELTS Writing band score if you use incorrect spelling and punctuation. Spend the last two minutes of your time reviewing your letter for any spelling or punctuation issues.
- Do not forget the opening statement:
Your letter’s introductory statement should clarify why you are writing it. The letter’s purpose will vary depending on the letter type, which you will recognize easily.
Do not elaborate too much on your opening statement, be brief and precise.
Formal: "I came to know about opening a new branch of your restaurant. I’d like to ask if there is a job opportunity for an Operations Manager and if there is, I would like to take this opportunity to apply for it."
Informal: "It’s been a little over a year since we last met at the festival we both attended. I wonder if you could take some time out of your busy schedule to meet with me when I visit my relatives in time this summer. I hope to hang out with you again."
- Include the signing off.
The signing-off is an important part of the letter-writing process, and it is entirely on your writing style and the letter’s goal. Familiarize yourself with the letter’s concluding statement, which you can use in the IELTS Letter Writing task. If you do not know the addressee’s name, use ‘Sir/Ma’am.’ While writing a formal letter and knowing their names, use either ‘complete name’ or ‘Mr (last name).’ When writing an informal letter, do not mention their last name.
Formal: Yours sincerely, Peter Smith Respectfully yours, Susan Brown
Informal: See you soon! John All the best! Jane
What is the Difference Between a Formal, Semi-formal, and Informal Letter?
Before you begin planning your IELTS Letter Writing task, you should first identify the kind of letter you need to write. Formal letters, semi-formal letters, and informal letters are the three categories of IELTS Letter Writing. Each letter has a different purpose and is written differently.
Each letter has its beginning and ending, depending on the style. You can concentrate on the terminology and contractions to be used once you have identified the type of letter by reading all of the instructions.
You write a formal letter to someone you do not know personally but with whom you have a formal relationship or someone you have never met regarding a serious and formal problem.
You lost an item of great value on a recent holiday. Fortunately, you have travel insurance that will cover the cost of anything you might lose. Write a letter to your insurance company. In your letter,
- Describe the item that you have lost
- Explain how you lost it
- Express what you want the company to do
You are working for a company. You want to take some time off and go on a holiday with your family. Write a letter to the company’s manager. In your letter,
- State why you want to take time off of work
- Tell the amount of time you would be away from work
- Explain how your work could be covered while you are away
You write a semi-formal letter to someone you know well, such as friends or neighbors, or to someone with whom you have a formal relationship, such as coworkers. Writing a semi-formal letter indicates that you are acquainted with the recipient but do not have a formal relationship with them.
You were absent from an important gathering hosted by your firm. Write a letter to your manager. In your letter,
- Ask for an apology for your absence
- Explain why you were not able to be there
- Describe how you plan to catch up
You and your next-door neighbor have had a squabble. You have not been able to discuss this with your neighbor. Write a letter to your next-door neighbor. In your letter,
- Describe the issue
- Make a suggestion for a solution
- Describe what you will do if the situation does not improve
You write a formal letter to someone you do not know personally but with whom you have a formal relationship or someone you have never met regarding a serious and formal problem.
You want to apply for a scholarship at a foreign university for your post-graduation studies. Inquire about the course by writing a letter. In your letter,
- Describe your interest in a particular course
- Explain what you like about the university
- Express why you wish to attend that university
You have recently started working in a new company. Write to your friend about your new experience. In your letter,
- Explain why you decided to change jobs
- Describe what your new job entails
- Explain how you feel about your new job
How to Structure Your Response the IELTS Letter Writing Task?
Getting the IELTS score you need is simple if you put in the effort. We have compiled a list of helpful hints to help you stay one step ahead. Here are the key points to take into consideration when writing a letter for an IELTS Letter Writing task.
Part 1. The Beginning
You should address your letter to the person to whom you are writing. Make sure to adapt your style based on the given information.
Part 2. The Purpose
Have an explanation of the main reason why you are writing the letter. This is also the part where you introduce the topic.
Part 3. The Body (1st Bullet Point)
This is where you will begin by writing on the first point in your IELTS Letter Writing task. Make each bullet point approximately the same length. Your objective and your body may require similar information in some circumstances. Avoid repetition of ideas.
Part 4. The Body (2nd Bullet Point)
Next, you will write on the second point. Make your topic phrase as clear as possible so that the reader understands what you are talking about.
Part 5. The Body (3rd Bullet Point)
Finally, you will write on the third point in your IELTS Letter Writing task. Make sure to cover everything that is required. Otherwise, you will lose marks. Use transition words as well to illustrate coherence and cohesion in your letter.
Part 6. The Closing
This is where you put the final touches on your letter. For formal letters, statements like “Thank you for your assistance.” and “I look forward to hearing from you.” are typical. You might use lines like “Talk to you soon.” or “I hope you enjoy the remainder of your week!” in informal letters.
Part 7. The Ending
This is the very final section, as well as your name. Make sure you do not misspell anything. What you write here will be determined by the letter’s style.
Formal and Informal Vocabulary and Phrases
Knowing the right words to use in the IELTS Letter Writing task is crucial and could mean the difference between a high and a low band score. That is why you should identify the right tone when you write your letter, whether formal or informal.
Introduction of the Letter
- I am writing to inform you that …
- I am writing to ask/inquire …
- I am writing with regard to …
- I am writing in connection with …
- I am writing with reference to …
- I would like to raise my concern about …
- It’s been a long time. I am writing to…
- I’m simply writing to inform you that…
- We haven’t seen each other in a long time.
- Please accept my apologies for not writing in such a long time. I’ve been quite busy…
Closing of the Letter
- I eagerly await your response.
- Thank you so much for your assistance.
- Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
- I’m hoping for a quick resolution to the matter.
- Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information.
- Please stay in contact!
- I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.
- Thanks a lot for your assistance, send me a message soon.
- Anyway, I have to go now. Should you require additional details, please write again.
Useful Expressions for the IELTS Letter Writing task
Having a wide array of vocabulary will aid you in getting high marks in the IELTS Letter Writing task. It accounts for 25% of your overall marks. That is why it is helpful to know some useful words and phrases that you can use in the IELTS Letter Writing task.
Asking for Information
- I’d like for you to…
- Could let me know if…
- I’d appreciate it if you could…
- I’m hoping you could inform me…
- I’d want to seek your opinion on…
- I’d appreciate it if you could let me know…
- This letter is to express my dissatisfaction…
- I’m writing to express my displeasure with…
- I’m writing to voice my disappointment with…
- I’m writing to let you know that I am disappointed…
- I am thankful for…
- I’m very grateful for…
- I very much appreciated…
- I’d like to thank you very much for…
- I really regret that/about…
- Please accept my apologies for…
- I’d like to express my regret for…
- Please accept my sincere apologies for…
- You should…
- You ought to…
- Why don’t you…
- If I were you, I’d…
- If you like, I can…
- Do you want me to…
- What do you think about…
- I believe it would be fantastic if you…
Useful Ways to Improve your IELTS General Training Letter Writing
One of the most effective ways to prepare for IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 is to practice your English as often as possible. This appears to be straightforward and general.
However, there are a few specific things you may do to prepare.
- Practice your grammar and vocabulary every day: It is critical to invest in a solid grammar book. Meanwhile, commit to learning 15-20 new vocabulary terms every day.
- Read English daily: The more newspaper articles, periodicals, and web content you can practice with, the easier it will be to find IELTS materials. In general, try for roughly 75 percent of this reading to be simple to comprehend and 25 percent to be challenging.
- Use dictionaries that translate from English to English: It is more difficult than utilizing dictionaries in English-to-native-language translation. However, it will greatly assist you in finding synonyms and learning how to describe terms.
- Write as often as you can: You will get more fluent as you write more. Journaling, practice questions, and emails to pals are good ways to practice. Practice as much as you can.
Sample — IELTS Writing Task 1 Letters
Before taking the test, you are advised to read and study IELTS letter writing sample responses. This will give you an idea of how to draft, plan, and structure your letter. It is essential that you study all three types of letters because you do not know the type of test that will be given to you.
You recently stayed in a large city hotel. The weather was remarkably warm at that time of year, and the hotel’s heating and conditioning system was woefully inadequate.
Write to the manager of the hotel. In your letter,
- Describe what went wrong in detail
- Explain what you did to solve the situation at the time
- State what action you want the manager to do
Sample Response: Dear Sir/Madam, I'm writing to voice out to you about my recent stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in London, England. Unfortunately, I spent three unpleasant nights at your hotel from April 26 to 29, 2010, owing to a failing heater in my room. There was an unexpected snowstorm when I arrived in London. Although I realize that it does not generally snow in April, there was no heat in my room when I arrived. After I complained, a technician was dispatched, who informed me that a new heating unit would be required. When I requested to be relocated to a different room, I was informed that the hotel was fully booked. Unfortunately, I arrived home each night after work to find the situation had not been resolved. I eventually spent three terribly miserable nights in the unheated room, wearing my coat to bed, wearing socks around the room, and catching a nasty cold. I didn't have time to protest because I had to catch a flight home immediately following my conference. This appalling service astounded me. For $400 a night, this is not what you'd expect! To make up for this major inconvenience, I request that you immediately refund my money and provide me with a complimentary, more comfortable stay in one of your finer suites in the future. If not, I will file a formal complaint with a higher authority. I really anticipate hearing from you as soon as possible. Sincerely, John Smith
Your bank has sent you a letter requesting that you acknowledge receipt of a new bank card. The card, however, was not in the envelope.
Write a letter to the head office of the bank. In your letter,
- Explain why you are writing
- Convey your concern about the lost card
- Inquire about their plans about the situation
Sample Response: Dear Sir/Madam, I'm writing to you because your bank's debit card has gone missing or has been stolen. This is a critical problem because the bank card could be dangerous in the wrong hands. I received a letter from your bank's headquarters just yesterday. My new bank card came enclosed, and I was requested to acknowledge receipt. The envelope, however, was damaged when it arrived in my mailbox. What's more, the debit card that was supposed to be included was missing. I looked all around the mailbox and couldn't find anything. I'm worried that someone has rummaged through my mail and taken the card. As a result, I recommend that you cancel your existing debit card right now. The debit card in question is linked to my Bay and Bloor branch account number 64729401. Please arrange for a new one to be sent to me when it has been cancelled, as I need to go overseas in the coming week and will need to bring the new bank card with me. Please accept my sincere gratitude in advance. Respectfully, Sarah Lee
You are looking for a job and need a recommendation letter from someone who knew you in high school.
Write to one of your teachers in high school. In your letter,
- Describe the position you have applied for
- Express why you desire it
- Advise the teacher on what material he or she should provide
Sample Response: Dear Ms. Parker, How are you doing? I hope things are going well at school and that you are feeling well. I recall the lively manner in which you taught grammar to me and the other teacher candidates in your English class. Thank you once more for those invaluable lessons. I'm writing in regards to a letter of recommendation that I require for a job that I recently applied for. I applied for a position as an ESL teacher at a private language school in Tokyo, Japan, because I am graduating next month. You may recall that I expressed my excitement about teaching and traveling throughout the world. Now I'm in a position to do so. I am confident in my ability to make a difference in the lives of students who require English instruction. I'd love it if you could include information in the letter of recommendation on my trustworthiness, enthusiasm, and cross-cultural understanding while in teacher education college. Because the position is in Japan, they won't be able to interview me and will rely heavily on my letters of recommendation. By July 1st, I would need the letter in two weeks. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude in advance. Yours sincerely, Adam Dills
You are going to a college in Sydney, Australia, for a brief training course. You will need a place to stay while you are there.
Write a letter to the officer in charge of the accommodation in the college. In your letter,
- Explain your situation
- Describe the type of lodging you will need
- State when you will need it
Sample Response: Dear Mr. Todd, I'm writing to inquire about your college's upcoming training session in Sydney, Australia. I'll be there for three weeks, from July 2nd to July 22nd, 2022, to attend Victoria College's Brain-Based Learning program. I'm hoping that you'll be able to help me with my lodging arrangements. I would like it if you could find me a private studio apartment close to the college, as I am slightly older than the majority of the other participants. If I could walk to school every day, it would be perfect, but if not, I would require public transportation. I understand that some parties on campus end late, so I'd rather not go for a walk after dark in a new neighborhood. All I need in terms of an apartment is a bed, a desk, a TV, internet access, a kitchen, and a bathroom. For three weeks, my budget is roughly USD 1000. Because I will be arriving on July 1st, the flat must be available from that night until July 23rd, when I will depart. The 22nd of July would be my last night in the apartment. Please let me know if you are able to locate such an apartment and, if not, what other options you have. I eagerly await your response. Yours sincerely, Jessica Lee
You took a vacation to another country last month and stayed with some friends. They have just emailed you some pictures from your vacation.
Write a letter to your friends. In your letter,
- Thank them for the pictures and the holiday
- Explain why you did not write sooner
- Invite them to stay with you for a holiday
Sample Response: Dear Cindy and Jane, Thanks a ton for your thoughtful note and the gorgeous images of my Mumbai vacation. Sorry for the delay in responding to your email; your package arrived just as I was ready to leave town on business. Today is my first day back in Toronto. Looking at the images reminds me of how much fun we had together and how generous you were with me. Both of you made me feel utterly pampered! You surrounded me with loving people, delicious cuisine, breathtaking views, fantastic shopping, incredible cultural events, and laughter-filled nights. Without you, I would have been lost. I can't express my gratitude enough. These pleasant recollections inspired me. I'm sure you've always wished to travel to Canada. Why don't you book a vacation with me this summer? At that time of year, the weather is pleasant, all tourist attractions are open, and I could take two weeks off work. We may drive to Niagara Falls, Thousand Islands, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City in addition to viewing Toronto. If you could make it, it would be fantastic. Thank you again for a wonderful holiday and the wonderful images, which I have already hung on my wall. Now I'm waiting for a response from you. Hope to see you soon, Mara
An English-speaking friend has written to seek information and recommendations about spending a two-week vacation in your area.
Write a letter to your friend. In your letter,
- Offer to help your friend find a place to stay
- Give suggestions for things to do
- Tell your friend what clothes to bring
Sample Response: Dear Carol, Thank you very much for your most recent letter. I'm ecstatic to learn that you're planning a trip to Toronto. It will offer me the opportunity to show you around, as you did for me in Amsterdam last year. Regarding your visit, I would be delighted to assist you in any way I can. First and foremost, unless you enjoy cold weather, I recommend visiting during the summer months of July and August. Despite the fact that most hotels were pricey at the time, we had several lovely guest suites available in our high-rise building for approximately $50 per night. They are completely furnished studio apartments with a kitchen, allowing you to cook your own meals. Simply inform me of your travel dates, and I will book a reservation for you. Summer is also when all of the tourist attractions are open. The Science Centre Canada's Wonderland, Niagara Falls, the Royal Ontario Museum, Centre Island, the CN Tower, and the Thousand Islands are among the places we can visit. Bring your casual summer clothing, a swimsuit, and an umbrella because the weather will be warm and comfortable, at 25 - 30 degrees Celsius. Summer showers are common in our area. I'm looking forward to seeing you! Please respond as soon as possible with additional information. Warm wishes, Patty
Practice Questions for General Training Writing Task 1
Reading and studying for possible questions and topics that might be given in the IELTS Letter Writing task will help you achieve a high band score in the IELTS Writing Test. It will assist you in planning and thinking about what strategies to use. Here are some of them.
Sample Practice Question 1
You passed a job interview with flying colors. You are scheduled to begin on November 15, but you will be unavailable at that time. Write a letter to your new supervisor. In your letter,
- Describe your predicament
- Express your worry
- Providing a solution about the problem
Sample Practice Question 2
When you went to Australia for a business seminar, you stayed at a friend’s residence. In your room, you left a file containing critical documents. Write a letter to your friend. In your letter,
- Describe the file
- Explain how important it is to you
- Ask your friend to send it to you by post
Sample Practice Question 3
You and your family are thinking of spending a weekend holiday at the beach. Write a letter to a hotel for the arrangements needed. In your letter,
- Tell them when you will be arriving and departing
- State what kind of rooms you want
- Inquire about nearby activities and points of interest
Sample Practice Question 4
You recently ordered an item via online shopping. However, you are not satisfied with the product. Write a letter to the online store. In your letter,
- Describe what you bought
- Explain why you are unhappy with it
- Tell them what you want them to do about it
Sample Practice Question 5
Your internet connection has been sluggish and sporadic. You have complained a lot of times but to no avail. Write a letter to the internet provider. In your letter,
- Describe the issue and the reasons for your dissatisfaction
- Make an appointment for an engineer to come to your house
- Make a request for a bill decrease
Sample Practice Question 6
A member of your family will be staying with you. He will arrive in the morning by train, but you will not get home until the evening. Write a letter to your relative. In your letter,
- State how you have made arrangements for them to receive keys and enter the property
- Describe how to get from the railway station to your home
- Advise him when you will be home and what you would want to do together that evening
Sample Practice Question 7
There is no cafeteria for employees at the workplace where you work. Write to your boss requesting that a cafeteria be put up for the employees. In your letter,
- State what you heard from the personnel regarding the inconvenience
- Express how you feel about it
- Suggest for setting up a cafeteria
Sample Practice Question 8
\Next month, the manager at your place of business will retire. The manager’s assistant has requested suggestions for a farewell event. Write a letter to the assistant of the manager. In your letter,
- Describe the type of event you are planning
- Describe why you liked him/her as a boss
- Suggest what kind of gift should be given to the manager
Sample Practice Question 9
For the past few days, some construction work has been taking place on the street where you live. The work is making a lot of noise, which is bothering you. Write a letter to the council of your neighborhood. In your letter,
- Introduce yourself
- Describe how the noise is bothering you
- Offer possible remedies
Sample Practice Question 10
You recently dined at a restaurant to commemorate a significant occasion, and the food and service were excellent. Write to the manager of the restaurant. In your letter,
- Describe your visit to the restaurant in detail
- Mention why you are celebrating
- Express what you liked about the food and service
Sample Practice Question 11
You work for a multinational corporation and want to spend six months at its headquarters in another country. Write a letter to your manager. In your letter,
- Explain why you want to work in the company’s headquarters for six months
- State how you will get your work done while you are gone
- Ask for his/her assistance in making the arrangements
Sample Practice Question 12
The trash/garbage collection system in your neighborhood is not working properly. This is giving you and your neighbors problems. Write a letter to the local council. In your letter,
- Describe how the garbage collection system is not working effectively
- State how it is affecting you and your neighbors
- Suggest what you think should be done to fix it
Sample Practice Question 13
You have a large extended family, and every year you all gather together for a week-long family vacation. This year, your uncle is in charge of the planning, and you would want to offer a spot you have just visited. Write a letter to your uncle. In your letter,
- Propose the location you suggest
- Describe your impressions about this location
- Explain what you might be able to do there
Sample Practice Question 14
Your new neighbors have recently asked you to a party that will take place on Saturday. You, on the other hand, have other arrangements for Saturday evening and will be unable to attend the party. Write a letter to your neighbor. In your letter,
- Express your gratitude about the invitation
- Mention any existing plans you may have
- State when you might be able to meet with them
Sample Practice Question 15
You hold a local bank account as an international student in Germany. Due to an issue at your parents’ bank, the monthly bank transfer you get from them has been delayed this month. Write a letter to the bank. In your letter,
- Introduce who you are
- Describe why you require the funds
- Explain how you plan to repay the loan
Additional FAQs – IELTS Writing Task 1 Letter Writing
How Can I Improve My IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 in IELTS?
You can improve your IELTS Letter Writing task by improving your English skills. Enhance your grammar and vocabulary.
Read and study previous papers also to have an idea on how to structure your letter. It is also helpful that you study the elements of letter writing.
Learning the differences between formal, semi-formal, and informal letters will also help you achieve the band score you are aiming for.
How Can I Get 8 in IELTS Writing?
Achieving a band score of 8 in the IELTS Writing Test is not impossible. A lot of candidates have done it, and you also can.
The key factor is for you to prepare and practice a lot. Make yourself ready as early as 6-8 weeks prior to taking the IELTS test.
Follow and apply the tips and strategies we have listed in this article and use the different materials available online and you will be good to go.
What is the Format of IELTS Letter Writing task 1?
In your IELTS Letter Writing task, you need to have the following: beginning, introduction, explanation of the three bullet points, closing, and ending.
Ensure that you have your letter in different paragraphs. This will allow the examiner to understand your letter better and aid you in getting a high mark in the coherence and cohesion criteria.
Make it a point to meet the minimum number of words required, at least 150 words.
Is 6.5 in IELTS Writing Bad?
No, a 6.5 band score in the IELTS Writing is not bad. It indicates that you are competent and will do better in a classroom.
However, there may be a few small linguistic misunderstandings or errors. Many overseas colleges require a band score of 6 or 6.5 to select applications.