Writing Task 1 General Training Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

Let’s look at some tips for how to achieve a good band score for IELTS Writing General Training Task 1. Remember, this task is always letter writing.
  1. By far the best way to prepare is to do writing practice. With us you can receive personalized feedback from a highly qualified and experienced tutor at IELTSTutors.org, so contact us today and let’s work together to achieve your IELTS goals.
  2. Before writing anything make sure you understand what you have to write about. Think about; who you are writing to, why you are writing to them and what will be the outcome of the letter, e.g. do you expect the person to write back or meet with you?
  3. Is it a letter of complaint, application for a job or course, suggestion, or thanks? Think about what language you can use in English to express each function.
  4. Be prepared to use your imagination to create names or situations.
  5. You will be given 3 points to include in your letter. Make sure you give equal attention to each of the three points in order to get a good Task Achievement band score.
  6. Write in paragraphs. Each paragraph must have a clear topic. Each point which you must include (see above) can be a separate paragraph so your letter should have 3 paragraphs. Doing this will boost your band score for Coherence and Cohesion.
  7. It is very important to get the tone correct when letter writing in English. This means you must decide how formal the writing should be before you start writing. A letter can be formal, semi-formal, or informal. If you are writing to someone you don’t know or someone at work or in a position of importance, such as a professor or manager, then you must write formally. If you are writing to a close friend, then you should write informally. Getting the tone correct is important for Task Achievement.
  8. If you don’t know the name of the person who you are writing to then use ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ as your salutation (greeting).
  9. If the letter is formal, state why you are writing using a sentence like this ‘I am writing to you regarding ___________’.
  10. If you know the person you are writing to and the letter is informal, it is polite to ask how someone is or wish them well, e.g. ‘Dear Tim, I hope this letter finds you and your family well’.
  11. If you expect a reply from the person then add ‘I look forward to hearing from you’ before you end the letter.
  12. If the letter is formal and you don’t know the person’s name you can end your letter ‘Yours faithfully’ but if you know their name you should use ‘Yours sincerely’.
  13. In the body of the letter try to use some vocabulary which is specific to the topic. For example, if the topic is complaining about a hotel room you could use hotel vocabulary such as accommodation, en-suite, reception, etc. Using specific vocabulary will boost your band score for Lexical Resource.
  14. Make sure you write at least 150 words. When you do practice tasks always count how many words you write so you get an idea about how much writing you have to do in the test.
  15. Don’t take longer than 20 minutes because you need more time for doing Task 2. When you practice, be strict with yourself. The best practice is timed practice under exam conditions. You might find it difficult in the beginning but it will help you to achieve your IELTS goals.
What do you think of these tips? Do you have any extras you want to share with us? Please leave a comment below.