How to write the Task 1 letter for General IELTS

Task 1 for the General Training IELTS is about writing a letter – either formal, semi-formal, or informal. You are given a situation with key information to include in your letter.

What’s important are the following:

  • Addressing all parts of the task question
  • Writing in the appropriate tone for the situation. This means using the suitable words and phrases that are either formal, semi-formal or informal.
  • Writing in a logical and organized manner so that it is clear and easy for the reader to understand your letter.

Structure for your formal letter:

  1. State your reason or purpose for writing the letter.
  2. Details of your situation. Address the 3 bullet points listed in the Task question. Make a paragraph for each one.
  3. A suitable closing.

Here’s a sample task from the website:

general task 1 - dorm problem letter


First, decide the tone of the context. This would be formal as you’re requesting for a transfer. This also decides how you’ll organize your letter. For example, an informal letter would start with a greeting or making a personal reference that the person receiving the letter would understand. In a formal letter, you need to make things clear and structured.

Next, make a quick plan of  what you’re going to write for each paragraph, addressing each requirement of the task. I don’t have to write these out but make a very quick guide.

  •  Your purpose; important identifying details (room number, building)
  • Describe the situation: roommate has different priorities from me and I can’t study; he parties all the time, too noisy or invites too many people over
  • I can’t study for my exams; several of my personal items have gone missing
  • Request for another room, preferably a studio apartment (no roommates); a thank you and that you’re looking forward to hearing back from them.

Now, you write your letter.

I’ll continue with a sample letter in a future post. Feel free to ask questions.

If you want to get your writing checked – see here:

Do you want to find specific information about different IELTS lessons?

Question Mark by Horia Varlan via Flickr (creative commons)

Question Mark by Horia Varlan via Flickr (creative commons)

I’ve had a lot of emailed questions and comments from students  who want to find out more about a specific lesson that they have read. If  you  want to find out more about a specific topic, please use Search by Tags . You can do this 2 ways:

  1. At the bottom of each post, there is a section that says Posted in: followed by a  list of tags (topics) that you can click on. This will bring you to all the posts that have been tagged for that topic. For example, if you want to know more about how to write introductions, click on the introductions tag.
  2. On the right side of the page of each post, you’ll see a box that says “Search by Tags” under a box that says “Check my essay”. This Search by Tags box is filled with tags (topics) of different sizes – the bigger the size of the word, the more posts there are under this tag. Click on a tag to see all the posts related to that topic.

If there are topics not covered, feel free to email me or comment and I’ll try my best to write a post on it.

Good luck everyone!

(If you see at the bottom of this post, I’ve tagged everything.)

Want to improve your writing for IELTS Task 1 and Task 2?

Happy studentThank you readers for registering for my lessons. I’ve been COMPLETELY  BOOKED!!

If you’re thinking of registering for a writing lesson, I would still love to help you though, so I  have some suggestions.

Try out my ESSAY CORRECTION AND FEEDBACK SERVICE. If you want to get thorough individualized feedback and suggestions on an IELTS essay you’ve written, try at least writing one essay to see where your current level is and what areas you need to improve.

I can email you a task, you write your essay and send back it to me. You then receive:

  • Corrections and comments directly on your essay (view your Word document with review settings)
  • A Feedback rubric that analyzes the following questions based on’s own grading criteria for Task1 and Task 2:
  1. Task Achievement:  Did you answer the question(s) and cover all the requirements that are asked?
  2. Coherence and cohesion: Structure and organization of your essay –  Are your paragraphs centered around a main idea? Is your essay logically organized so it is easy to follow?
  3. Lexical Accuracy: What range of vocabulary did you use?
  4. Grammatical range and accuracy: How is your grammar? What needs to be improved and how?

To find out more, REGISTER here.Check My Essay !

You can also read step-by-step how to write the academic Task 1 essay with my ebook. AVAILABLE HERE.

Click on same photo below to find out about this ebook!

Click on same photo below to find out about this ebook!

Due to high demand, another ebook for Task 2 will be coming! I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, good luck with your studies!

How to get a 7 on your IELTS essay – use sentence variety

Fotolia_7397306_XSIf you look at the band descriptors for both Task 1 and Task 2, you will find that under Grammatical Range and Accuracy,  you should “use a variety of complex structures” to get a 7+. You want your writing to be interesting and varied for your reader.

Here’s a checklist for creating sentence variety:

1. Vary the sentence structures and clause connections.

  • Simple sentences – one independent clause

ex.  Students need to learn about money.

ex.  Students need to learn about money, but it isn’t taught in school.

{independent clause}, but {independent clause}.

ex. Schools do not teach financial education to our children; as a result,  many young graduates today are in a lot of credit card and school loan debt.

{independent clause}; as a result, {independent clause}.

  • Complex sentences – 1 independent clause with 1 or more dependent clauses (dependent clauses begin with subordinating conjunctions, e.g. although, even though, whereas, while,if, unless, because, as, since, so/such … that, now that, once ,etc.)

ex. If  we want our children to become independent, they need to learn about budgeting and saving money.

{dependent clause}, {independent clause}.

  • Compound-complex sentences – 2 or more independent clauses and at least 1 dependent clause.

ex. Because I feel nervous, I don’t know what to write when I look at the question, so I just start to write without planning my essay.

{dependent clause}, {independent clause + dependent clause}, so {independent clause}.

2. Vary the length of your sentences. Mix short and long sentences. Sometimes a short sentence that follows some long sentences can have a dramatic impact on the meaning you intend. Too many long sentences make it difficult for the reader to follow. And too many short sentences make it too choppy and therefore unpleasant to read.

3. Use different ways to begin a sentence:

  • Begin with a dependent clause:

Although some people feel parents should teach their children about money, I believe financial education should be taught in school.

Hoping to pass their final exam, the students studied all  night. (“Hoping to pass their final exam” is an -ing participle phrase that refers to “the students”)

Driven with determination, the students studied hard all  night. (“Driven with determination” is a past-participle phrase that refers to “the students”)

Optimistic about the exam, the students were able to have a good night’s rest the night before.(“Optimistic about the exam” is an adjective phrase that refers to “the students”)

  • Begin with a prepositional phrase:

With the help of government subsidies, many first-time small business owners can grow successful businesses.

  • Begin with an infinitive:

To become truly independent, people must have some financial knowledge. 

As you practice your writing, why not revise an old essay and do a check list of sentence variety?

Want to get your essay writing checked? Here’s how: Essay Correction & Feedback 

Want to improve and check your writing for Task 1?

chalkboard - excelling

I’ve had a lot of requests on how to write the Task 1 essay for IELTS.  Aside from the many lessons and tips I have written in this blog, here is a new Lesson Package: 

Task 1 Lesson Package (30-mins. tutorial + 2 essays) at only 43 USD

  •  30-minute one-on-one tutorial where I explain and show the full process of writing Task 1 with examples. This is done via Skype. All you need is high-speed broadband and a headset with a microphone.

 – PLUS -

  • Two Task 1 essays for correction and thorough feedback. You can do the essays one after the other in your own time after the tutorial. I will give feedback within 48 hours.

Payment of 43 USD via PayPal is required to book your lesson.

Fill in your details below (please check your email address is correct!) and I’ll email you to set up a time and arrange payment.