1 Task 1 (Letter) Overview
IELTS General Writing task 1 is a letter to a friend, agency, or someone else. Candidates should finish the letter in 20 minutes with at least 150 words. High score answers usually are around 200 words. However, a more extended writing doesn't get credit in finial score but spends more time. A long letter usually means less time left for task 2, the essay writing.
In General Task 1 of the writing module, candidates will see a brief description of the question, which includes some instructions regarding the letter. Letter's topic is common and understandable, easy to deal with, like:
- Writing to a teacher to ask a reference letter
- Writing to a friend to introduce your new job
- Writing to a travel agent to change your booked flight
- Writing to a dealer to inquire goods
- Writing to a landlord for defeat of heating system
- Writing to a friend to attend a birthday party
In the Topics section, we collect some popular topics and their questions that are recalled by recent test takers.
In addition to topics, question type is another critical factor in preparing letter writing. We list four main types and sample questions in the Type section.
Letter style relies on how well you know the receiver; the letter can be Formal, Semi-formal, or Informal. You must write with right style based on your understanding of the question. In the Style section, we present more details and samples.
Letter writing has own conventions that you had better follow in test:
Use standard written phrases: In letter writing, people usually use some standard expressions and sentences that help to both express and understand, like "I am writing to ...", or "I would appreciate it if you could."
Use common words correctly: Avoid using rare words in letter writing, on the other hand, spell letter vocabulary correctly, like "sincerely," "faithfully," "in connection with," "apologize," and so on.
Divide letter into paragraphs" Usually a Task 1 has 4 paragraphs: 1, Introduction; 2, Problem or Situation; 3, Solution or Action; 4, Conclusion.
Last but not least, you should reflect each instruction into letter and ensure nothing left. Miss or misunderstand any part or point of the question prompt will loss your score. Besides, the right grammar, such as capitalization and punctuation, and strong vocabulary are primary factors to get a good band.
2 Task 1 (Letter) Style
Identify the purpose of the letter and choose the right style is the first step of the task.
1. Formal: To someone you have not met, whose name you don't know.
- Requesting information from a company
- Applying for a job
- Complaining to a bank, store, airline
- Making a recommendation/suggestion
Start with: Dear Sir/Madam,
End with: Yours faithfully
2. Semi-formal: To someone you may or may not have met, whose last name you know.
- Complaining to a landlord
- Explaining to a neighbor
- Asking a professor for permission
Start with: Dear Mr Brown, Dear Ms Stone,
End with: Yours sincerely
3. Informal: To someone you know well, whose first name you know and use.
- Inviting someone you know well
- Thanking a friend
- Asking for advice
Start with: Dear John, Dear Anita
End with: Best regards, Warm wishes,
3 Task 1 (Letter) Question Type
The common question types in General Task 1 are as following:
- Personal Correspondence
- Provide Information
- Express Needs and Wants
- Express Opinions
We summarize question types is only to help your preparing and to practice. In fact, a Task 1 (letter) question may involve two or more question types. For example, Provide Information and Express Opinions are often in one letter. When working for real writing test, you must apply question types flexibly.
Samples: Personal Correspondence
Samples: Provide Information
Samples: Express Needs and Wants
Samples: Express Opinions
4 Task 1 (Letter) Topic
Select the topic you are interested in, and you will get its question list. Then you can view any question by only a click. We also present some questions' answers accordingly. This handy tool combines topic, question, and sample answer, assist you in familiarising with letter writing as soon as possible.Click topic to get sample questions