Need some IELTS letter writing tips?
Read on for tips and tricks that will help you to nudge your score up a band or two.
What is IELTS General Writing Task 1
IELTS General Writing Task 1 assesses your ability to respond to the kind of practical issues you come across in everyday life.
The task begins with instructions on completing the letter within 20 minutes, followed by 2-3 sentences introducing the situation.
You recently stayed in a large hotel. During your stay, you had some problems with members of staff.
The test writers then give you 3-bullet points telling you what your letter should include…
Write a letter to the hotel manager.
In your letter
- give details of your stay
- describe the problems that you had with staff members
- say what actions you would like the manager to take
After that, the instructions tell you how to begin your letter.
For formal letters, the instructions tell you to begin…
Dear Sir or Madam,
For informal or semi-formal letters, they will tell you to begin…
Dear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .,
You should not literally write Dear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ., instead, insert either the first name or the family name of the recipient.
Below you will find a link to a gift containing several Task 1 questions.
Tips For Scoring Band 7.0+
I’ve divided the following tips under the separate marking criteria found in the IELTS Descriptors…
IELTS Letter Writing Tips For Task Achievement
Tip 1: Make sure you write at least 150 words.
Writing any less means you failed to develop your response as much as you should. A short essay will not meet the criteria for Band 6.0 or above.
Tip 2: Make sure you write on-topic.
Misunderstanding the question or writing a memorised answer for a different question will lose you marks.
Tip 3: Make sure you answer every bullet point fully!
If the bullet point says you had problems with members of staff, then your letter should mention more than one issue, and more than one member of staff. Otherwise, you will have only partially answered the question.
Tip 4: Keep an appropriate tone
The IELTS marking criteria don’t like you to mix praise with criticism. Don’t offer any praise or wish the recipient a wonderful weekend in a complaint letter.
Finish the letter in an appropriate way. You shouldn’t finish a formal letter with Best wishes or an informal letter with Yours sincerely.
IELTS Letter Writing Tips For Coherence and cohesion
Tips 5: Include at least two paragraphs – and make sure every paragraph has at least two sentences.
This part of the marking descriptors assesses how well you group and link your ideas. The examiner assesses how well you have used paragraphs and how well you have linked sentences with these paragraphs.
Instead, reference the word a second time or use a pronoun. Repetition of words within a sentence often show bad cohesion.
IELTS Letter Writing Tips For Lexical resource
Tip 7: Use the highest level of vocabulary you know.
A lot of native speakers lose marks here. Many people simplify their language when writing a letter since they either don’t know the recipient or don’t want to sound pretentious.
However, the examiner marks Lexical Resource in the same way as for a Task 2. Scoring a Band 8.0 or higher means using uncommon lexical items.
For example, instead of saying my house roof leaks, write: this property is a Victorian terrace and runoff from a blocked drainpipe next door has leaked through the porch roof.
Tip 8: Variety of vocabulary is essential.
Try to avoid using a word more than three times. You can find tips on how to include more synonyms in our video course.
IELTS Letter Writing Tips For Grammatical Range and Accuracy
Tip 9: Use a wide range of grammar structures.
Your essay is marked for accuracy AND range.
Tip 10: Keep your sentences to between 11-25 words.
Your grade depends less on the number of mistakes and more on the ratio of correct to incorrect sentences.
You will get a better mark with two 15-word sentences and one mistake, than with one 30-word sentence and one mistake.
Click here to download five free IELTS General Task 1 questions.
If you would like someone to correct your answers, use our Writing Correction Service.
Visit the General Writing Home Page
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