IELTS General Writing Task 1: 2023 IELTS Writing Samples, Tips & More

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IELTS is a widely accepted and recognised English language proficiency test taken by students intending to study in foreign institutions across the world. It assesses the ability of a student to communicate in English on the basis of 4 parameters: reading, writing, speaking and listening. 

The Writing section of IELTS is a crucial part of the proficiency test wherein one has to answer two questions. The Writing section of IELTS is different for the Academic and General Training test. In the IELTS general writing task 1, a candidate is required to write a letter in not more than 150 words.  Here is a comprehensive guide on IELTS general writing task 1, along with sample letters, tips and much more. 

Types of Letters in IELTS General Writing Task 1

For task 1 of the IELTS Writing sections, students can expect any of the three types of letters:

  • Formal letter
  • Semi-formal letter and 
  • Informal or personal letter

Formal letters are usually drafted and addressed for business dealings, editors or individuals in certain professional positions. Semi-formal ones are meant for colleagues, while informal ones are drafted for friends, family or acquaintances. 

Major Tips and Guidelines for IELTS General Writing Task 1

One needs to adhere to a particular format while drafting a letter for IELTS general writing task 1. Students can go through the following tips and guidelines to nail task 1 in the IELTS Writing section:

  • Make sure to keep the word count within 150 words.
  • Use appropriate phrases for signing off different types of letters. For instance, end a formal letter with ‘Yours faithfully’, an informal letter with ‘Regards or Best Wishes’ and a semi-informal letter with ‘Yours Sincerely’. 
  • Read the question for writing task 1 and identify the type of the letter. Thereafter, find the purpose of the letter. For instance, the purpose of a letter can be ‘thanking a friend’, ‘making a request’, etc.
  • The letter should be completely free of grammatical or spelling errors. The use of grammar should be appropriate for the type of letter that is being drafted. 
  • The sentences should be crisp and convey a clear meaning. 
  • One needs to start the letters with proper salutations. For example, a formal letter should begin with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’. In the case of informal or semi-formal letters, the salutations can be ‘Dear Samuel’ or ‘Dear Susan’. 
  • It is essential to employ the proper choice of words and tone that is suitable for a particular type of letter. A formal letter should contain any words or phrases that make the tone personal. Similarly, a personal letter should not contain a heavy vocabulary. 
  • Break the letter into multiple paragraphs so that it becomes easier for the examiners to go through. 
  • In case the letter contains a part wherein a student is requesting or suggesting something, phrases such as ‘I will be grateful if you…’ should be employed. 

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IELTS General Writing Task 1: Structure

A test taker needs to follow a particular structure while drafting a letter for IELTS general writing task 1. One needs to use the following structure while drafting a letter for the IELTS test:

  1. Salutation (Dear Madam, Dear Sir, Dear Susan)
  2. Opening Statement (Should include the reason or purpose of writing the letter)
  3. Paragraph 1 and 2 (These paragraphs should contain various details explaining the provided situation)
  4. Paragraph 3 (Should have an elaborate discussion of the final point before the letter ends)
  5. Closing statement (in case necessary for the letter)
  6. Signing off (Yours sincerely, Yours faithfully, and more)
  7. Name

IELTS Formal Letter Samples

To help candidates prepare for the Writing section, the following IELTS sample letters can be highly useful:

Sample Letters to Make a Complaint

You ordered an item online which has arrived in damaged condition. Write a letter to the product retailer to complain. In this letter, one needs to include the following points: 

  • Clearly explain the condition in which the product arrived. Explain precisely the reason why you are unsatisfied.
  • Make sure to request a refund for the damaged item.
  • Inform the retailer to make suitable arrangements to take back the product.

Your internet connection has been quite slow and fluctuating lately. Write a letter to the internet service provider to complain about the issue. Here’s how the letter has to be structured:

  • Explain the issues you are facing with the internet.
  • Ask the provider to arrange for an engineer to visit for a quick check.
  • You can also ask for a reduction in the internet bill due to unsatisfactory service.

The neighbour next door has a dog that keeps barking constantly throughout the day. Draft a letter addressing the neighbour asking to do something about the noise. In the letter:

  • Explain why you are writing the letter.
  • Suggest a solution for the same.

Try to be polite and respectful in your tone and choice of words.

Sample IELTS Letters to Make an Application

You are going to apply for a job that requires you to attach a cover letter along with the Resume and qualification certificates. The cover letter has to include why you chose the particular company and why you would be a perfect pick for the company. Here’s what the letter should contain:

  • Educational qualifications and why you are suitable for the said job role.
  • Explain how much you are looking forward to joining the company.
  • Discuss your previous experiences.

A local school requires volunteers for its upcoming school trip. Draft a letter to the school authority and apply to be a volunteer. It should consist of the following pointers:

  • Provide a proper introduction about yourself.
  • Show the reasons why you are interested in being a volunteer for the said trip.
  • If you have any relevant experience with children, make sure to mention it.

The local college requires applications for a job in the library over the summer vacation. Draft a letter to the concerned authority. Focus on the following pointers:

  • Introduce yourself, providing all the relevant details
  • Mention previous experiences along with relevant skills
  • State why you wish to take up the job in question.

Samples of Letters for Invitation

You will be graduating from college soon. Write a letter inviting your family to attend the graduating ceremony. Here, it would help if you used the following pointers:

  • Mention that you have completed your graduation.
  • State the date, time and venue, dress code and other necessary details about the ceremony.
  • Inform about the number of passes or tickets available and who they are for.

You have won a free trip to a foreign destination with an extra ticket. Draft a letter asking a friend to join you on the trip. Include and discuss the following:

  • Discuss the trip, mentioning that you would like to invite them.
  • Provide the details of the trip and how you have planned for it.
  • Mention the things that you would require for a successful trip. 

Samples of Letters to Provide an Advice

Your friend is considering buying a house in an area that you have recently left due to increased incidents of theft. Write a letter asking them to avoid the neighbourhood. The letter structure should include the following:

  • Advise your friend not to purchase a property in the neighbourhood.
  • Provide reasons behind such a suggestion.
  • Offer alternative options to look for.

Write a letter to your favourite restaurant providing them suggestions for improvements. Here, you can mention and explain:

  • The reason why you are writing the letter 
  • What you like about the restaurant
  • Things that it needs to improve 

Sample Letters to Make a Request

You would want to shift your workplace to a new city to be closer to your family. Request your employer to authorise a transfer to a new office. In this letter,

  • Mention why you would like to shift to a new place.
  • Request your employer to let you move to a specific city. 
  • Request the employer to complete the transfer within a specific period.

You have recently taken a taxi where you have left some of your important documents. Draft a letter to the taxi manager requesting help:

  • Describe where the incident took place and the documents that you have left.
  • Mention how important it is for you to get them back as soon as possible. 
  • State what you would want the manager to do about it. 

Sample Letters to Apologise

You have received a letter from the college asking for an explanation as to why you were absent on the day of an examination. You were suffering from a medical condition but failed to provide a medical certificate as evidence. Draft a letter to the concerned committee. Include the following in your letter:

  • Provide your student number and case number for identification.
  • Provide an apology for not being able to submit the evidence. 
  • Explain what happened and submit a piece of evidence to support your claims.
  • Ask the authority to offer possible solutions. 

You had recently appeared for 2 job interviews. You have been chosen by one, so you have to write a letter to the other explaining why you cannot take up the job. In the letter, provide:

  • An apology 
  • Explanation of the situation 

Sample Letter of Resignation

You wish to leave your job in order to try your hands in a new field. Write a letter to your employer asking him to accept your resignation. Here, you need to include the following points:

  • Inform your employer of your decision and explain the reason behind it. 
  • Discuss what you have taken up from your job and how you are feeling about leaving.
  • Request for a letter of reference
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IELTS General Writing Task 1: Informal Letter Samples 

Apart from formal letters, students can also expect informal or semi-formal letters in the Writing section of IELTS. Although the structure and format of an informal letter remain the same as that of a formal one, the tone and language are distinctly different. Here is a sample informal letter that students can follow:You borrowed a book from your classmate. However, you had failed to return the book before they left for the hometown. Write a letter to inform them of the book. Here’s what you are required to include in the letter:

  • Inform them that you failed to return the borrowed book.
  • Apologise for not being able to return on time
  • Mention what you are going to do in order to return the book. 

The letter would look something like this:

Dear Sam,Hope you are well. It has been more than 3 months since you moved back to your hometown. It suddenly occurred to me yesterday that I borrowed Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress from you during the last semester in college. The book has been with me since then, and I apologise for not being able to return it to you before you left. Let me know whether you intend to stay in your hometown for a longer period. I will send it to your address via courier at the earliest. Take care and reply back soon.

Susan Gomes

The Writing section is one of the most challenging areas of the IELTS test. However, this comprehensive guide on General writing task 1 will allow candidates to prepare for the said section easily and more efficiently. Students aspiring to pursue a foreign degree can now finance their dream with ease and convenience. Leap Scholar provides financial assistance in the form of educational loans with simple and flexible terms to help students fulfil their study abroad dream. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the provided time for answering the Writing section in the IELTS General Training test?

Ans: The Writing section of the IELTS General Training test lasts for 60 minutes. One has to complete two tasks within the time frame.

2. Can I extend beyond the word limit set for the IELTS General writing task 1?

Ans: Yes, you can extend beyond the set word limit of 150 words. However, make sure that you have ample time to complete task 2 within the time limit. 

3. How are the letters marked in General writing task 1?

Examiners mark the letters on the basis of the following parameters:
a. Tone of the letter
b. Appropriate format and structure
c. Appropriate vocabulary and sentence structure
d. Properly presented bullet points

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Manisha Angre

Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.

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