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IELTS General Writing Task 1: Letter Writing

In IELTS General Writing Task 1, you are given a task to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation in the form of a formal, semi-formal or informal letter of at least 150 words.

Here is an example how the task prompt looks like:

WRITING TASK 1 (General)

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

There have been several complaints about the reception area where visitors to your company arrive. Your manager has asked you to suggest how the reception area could be improved.

Write a letter to your manager. In your letter

  • describe the complaints that have been made
  • say why the reception area is important
  • suggest how the reception area could be improved

Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin as follows:

Dear ... ,

Sample answer

How to write a letter for IELTS General Writing Task 1?

You must start with spending some time reading the instructions. You should spend at least 2 minutes planning your letter:

  1. Read the instructions thoroughly
  2. Identify appropriate style (formal, semi-formal or personal)
  3. Brainstorm, make up your story, write down the main keywords and make sure you cover and clearly address all the points
  4. Decide how to open the letter
  5. Organise your letter into paragraphs
  6. Use cohesive devices to link your ideas
  7. Decide how to close the letter

Once you have quickly sketched a story in your head and also made supporting notes, it becomes easier to write exactly in response to the writing prompt and ensure that you fully follow the instructions.

Letter Writing
letter writing

Important notes:

How IELTS General Writing Task 1 is scored?

IELTS General Writing Task 1 gives you 1/3 of your total writing score, whereas the Task 2 is worth 2/3 of your score. Hence the recommended time for both tasks: for Task 1 it is 20 minutes, for Task 2 it is 40 minutes.

Your writing will be evaluated on the four marking criteria:

  • Task achievement
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy

Each criterion gives 25% of your total score for the task.

For more detailed information, see the IELTS Writing Task 1 band descriptors.

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IELTS Letter Topics & Sample Letters

Instead of providing hundreds of IELTS letter topics, we have categorised them into 5 different IELTS letters, based on the purpose of writing.

Under each IELTS letter you will find:

  • Letter structure with useful vocabulary
  • A sample letter on related topic that has been corrected and evaluated by an IELTS examiner

It is a lot easier to concentrate on different IELTS letters (such as complaint letter, request letter and so on) one by one as the structure, style, openings and closings vary.

Therefore, depending on what topic you are asked to write, use any relevant IELTS letter page respectively and the IELTS General Writing Task 1 letters will become much easier to write.

However, in case you do not know exactly what the differences are between formal, semi-formal and informal letters, we suggest you start reading about different types of letters first.

IELTS LETTERS

IELTS General Writing Task 1: Letter Sample (Corrected)

There have been several complaints about the reception area where visitors to your company arrive. Your manager has asked you to suggest how the reception area could be improved.

Write a letter to your manager. In your letter

  • describe the complaints that have been made
  • say why the reception area is important
  • suggest how the reception area could be improved

Dear Mr Brown,

There have been quite a number of complaints from our visitors regarding the reception area recently. After doing some research, I am writing this letter to talk about the complaints and my suggestions on how to improve the area.

Some visitors said that our reception area was too darkas there was not bright enough, so they felt our company iswas dull and monotonousmundane. They also said that there were no seats for people when they were waiting for someone from our office and that, as a matter of fact, it iswas rude to let our guests stand and wait in our office.

The reception area is very crucial to a company, because it is the first impression that visitors have about a company, it represents the souls as well as style of a company, and itwill certainly affect whether our customers want to do business with us.

I would like to suggest thatadding more windows around the reception area for natural light or installing some better lighting on the ceilingwill help. BesidesFurthermore, it willwould be beneficial to put some sofas there so that visitors can sit down whenwhile they are waiting. I look forward to receiving your comments on my suggestions.

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

Edmond Stafford

(213 words)

7.5

Band Score Estimate
(prior to corrections)

Brief comments:

  • "Monotonous" means repetitive and boring. "Mundane" has a similar meaning with less emphasis on the repetition. However, “uninspiring” could be a better option.
  • I would like to suggest that ... - "That" is not needed here and nor is "will help" as, by their nature, suggestions offer help in solving problems.
  • "Besides" can mean "in any case" or "with the exception of" and neither of these fit the context. The idea needed here is "in addition" and "furthermore" does this.
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