IELTS Letters

IELTS Letter Writing General Training Task 1

How to write IELTS letters for a High IELTS Band Score

Identify the kind of letter the questions requires as a response. There are three types of IELTS letters: formal, semi-formal and informal. Choosing the correct tone for your response is critical for a high IELTS score.

Choose the correct opening and closing for your IELTS letter. Each type of IELTS letter needs the appropriate opening/greeting and closing sentence or phrase. Here are some examples:

    Letter type | Formal
    A letter to a person you do not know/have never met.
    Opening: Dear Sir, (man) / Dear Madam, (woman)
    Closing: Yours faithfully

    Letter type | Semi-formal
    To a person you may/ may not know, but you know their last name.
    Opening: Dear Mr. Smith, / Dear Ms. Johnson,
    Closing: Yours sincerely

    Letter type | Informal
    To a person you know well
    Opening: Dear Mike, / Dear Susan,
    Closing: Best regards / All the best

Begin a formal or semi-formal letter using a formal introductory sentence. Trying to be friendly is inappropriate because you do not know the person you are writing the letter to. Use the introductory sentence to explain the purpose of your letter:

    Dear Sir, (or Dear madam,)
    I am writing to enquire about…
    I am writing in response to …
    I am writing in connection with…
    I am writing in order to…

    Dear Mr. Smith,
    I am writing to complain about…
    I am writing in relation to….

Begin an informal letter using an introductory sentence or two in a friendly tone. Then introduce the reason why you are writing to this person.

    Dear Susan,
    Thanks for your last letter with all the news. It was great to hear about everything you’ve been doing and I’m sure you’ll be really happy with the new apartment. I‘ve got some good news too – that’s why I’m writing to you …

Make the purpose of your letter clear. Is it to ask for something? Is it to enquire about something? Is it to request information? Is it to complain about something? Is it to thank someone for something? Try to learn the normal phrases people use to support such a purpose.

People often use standard phrases when writing letters (and when speaking). Many IELTS candidates find it difficult to fully complete the IELTS writing tasks in the time allowed, because they spend a lot of time thinking about what to say. Learn the standard phrases people use in real life to save time in IELTS letter writing.

The IELTS letter writing task requires you to write a minimum of 150 words. You should practice IELTS letter writing until you are confident that you can write a good letter with a minimum of 150 words and under 20 minutes, which is the time limit. If you write less than 150 words – marks will be deducted from your score, but you will not be penalized if you write more than 150 words.

Spelling in IELTS writing is important. You will lose marks for incorrect spelling, so it makes sense to learn how to spell common words used in letters correctly.

Focus on the question. If the questions asks you to do something – do it, and do not write about other things which are not relevant. You need to use a little imagination in General IELTS Task 1 letter writing; however, focus on the information given in the question and do not get distracted by overly complicating unnecessary details.

Make sure you respond to all the points mentioned in the question. If your letter does not address one of the points mentioned in the question – marks will be deducted from your final score.

IELTS Letter Writing Examples

This is a collection of Task 1 questions and sample answers from the IELTS general Training Writing Test. Task 1 requires you to write a letter of approximately 150 words in response to a situation described in the question.

The situation may be writing a letter to a frined, writing a letter to complain about something or writing a letter to request information; therefore, your writing style needs to be appropriate, either informal if writing to a frined, or formal if writing to a business or someone in authority.

Clearly, there are many possible ways to repond to these IELTS Writing Task 1 questions; however, the following examples should give you some idea of how to approach the task and what is required.

IELTS Letters | General Training Writing Test Task 1