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!

Posted in IELTS Writing, Uncategorized, Writing Task 1 Tagged with: , ,

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