As you may already know, the General Training IELTS Writing test has two tasks. Task 1 is to write a letter and Task 2 – an essay. In this short guide we will concentrate on writing a letter. While it may seem a simple enough task there are certain rules you should follow to get a high score.
All the various letters you may be asked to write in IELTS Writing Task 1 can be classified into the following 5 types:
1. Complaint letter
2. Request letter
3. Job application letter
4. Formal business letter
5. Personal letter to a friend /acquaintance
Letters of types 1 – 4 should be written in a formal tone, and letters of type 5 are informal. Writing in formal tone requires using some vocabulary that can’t be used in an informal letter. In addition to vocabulary, a letter should also have a well-defined structure, consisting of 3 to 4 paragraphs. There is no need to indent anything – start writing at the left margin, but leave a blank line between every two paragraphs for a clear separation. Keep your handwriting legible and if you made a mistake cross it out once, neatly.
Use no more than 20 minutes to plan, write and proofread the entire letter, to ensure you have enough time left to write Task 2 (Essay), which is longer and more challenging. Task 1 (letter) must be at least 150 words long, otherwise you may lose marks for under length.
The task statement gives you a number of points to include in your letter and it is important that you cover every single one of them. Don’t copy the task statement word for word – it is fine to use parts of it, but only if you rephrase them.