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:


I'm an English teacher specializing in IELTS preparation - especially writing and reading. If you have any questions, please ask! You can also sign up for weekly tips and lessons for IELTS and English!

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