50 Sample Letters for IELTS General Training Task 1

General Training Task 1 Writing Tips.

General training task 1 requires you to write a letter, which can be formal, semi-formal, or informal.  You must write at least 150 words and complete the task in 20 minutes.  You will not be asked to write about a data chart if you do the general training module, but you must prepare carefully to get a high band score.


1. What is IELTS?


2. Which organisations accept IELTS?


3. Who owns IELTS and who writes the tests?


4. What are the two versions of the test?




1. What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the worlds most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration, with 3.5 million tests taken in the past year. For more information, please visit http://www.takeielts.org.




2. Which organisations accept IELTS?
IELTS is accepted by more than 10,000 organisations worldwide. These include universities, immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies.




3. Who owns IELTS and who writes the test?
IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. International teams of writers contribute to IELTS test materials. Ongoing research ensures that IELTS remains fair and unbiased. Test writers from different English-speaking countries develop IELTS content so it reflects real-life situations.



4. Why are there two versions of the test?
There are two types of the IELTS test: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training.The IELTS General Training test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts. Listening and Speaking are the same for both tests, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections differs depending on which test you take.


3 Different Types of Letters.

  1. Formal letters are about a serious or official matter to a person you don't know, and these letters require academic English words to make them as official and correct as necessary.  Examples are a letter to your bank about your account, a letter to a university to enquire about a course, a letter to a newspaper, a letter to an airline you recently travelled with, a letter to apply for a job and so on...


  1. Informal letters are the opposite of formal letters.  These are written in an informal style, so they do not require academic English.  This makes them the easiest to write, but students need to be careful not to use formal academic language in the wrong context.  This could lose you marks as it probably won't be appropriate to the situation of writing an informal letter. Typically, these are letters to friends and family.  Examples are a letter inviting a friend to stay with you, or a letter telling a friend how you are doing on a new course you started studying, or a friend's wedding you attended  recently.


  1. Semi formal letters are closer to formal letters than informal letters.  These are written to people you know but about a serious subject matter, such as a job offer from a friend, or a request from a friend to look after her children for an afternoon while she at a hospital appointment, or a letter to a friend asking her to lend you a deposit for a new car.  Some informal language is appropriate here (because you are writing to someone you know personally), but the letter needs to show a serious 'tone' to address its serious content matter. 



1.1. The Reason for Writing a Letter of Complaint.

When you write a letter to complain about something, your objective is usually to get some kind of redress to compensate for whatever you are complaining about (otherwise you probably wouldn't complain in the first place).  Even if someone has insulted you or caused you inconvenience or damage, you must respond in a polite and professional manner. Therefore, it is important to be as respectful as you can whilst still making it clear that you feel unhappy about the situation. Also, you must state clearly (i) why you feel you have been wronged; and (ii) exactly what you expect the responsible person (or organisation) to do to make the situation right.

Example Task 1. Letter of  Complaint.




Watch the video ...

Practice Test 1. Letter of Complaint.

Practice Test 2.  Letter of Complaint.

Practice Test 3.  Letter of Complaint.

Practice Test 4.  Letter of Complaint.

Practice Test 5.  Letter of Complaint.

 Vocabulary · a recalled product: a defective product that is taken off the market ·malfunctions: failures in operation · faulty: defective · apology: an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret e.g. public apology · annoyance: Being bothered by something or someone e.g. She expressed annoyance at the slow service ·dissatisfaction: a feeling of unhappiness or disapproval, e.g. She expressed her dissatisfaction with the service Letters of Complaint Useful Phrases and Vocabulary · satisfaction: a happy or pleased feeling because of something that you did or something that happened to you ·attitude: the way you think and feel about someone or something · quality: how good or bad something is · to portray: to describe (someone or something) in a particular way ·incompetence: lack of the ability to do something well · to attend to: to give needed help or attention to (someone or something) · severe: very bad, serious, or unpleasant · to compensate: to give money or something else of value to (someone) in return for something ·to demand: to require (something) · hazardous: dangerous · a lawn mower: a machine used for cutting the grass on lawns · assembly: the act of connecting together the parts of something (such as a machine) · to chuckle: to laugh in a quiet way · a welded edge: to join pieces of metal together by heating the edges until they begin to melt and then pressing them together · a coupler: something combined with something else · to misuse: to use (something) incorrectly · hassle: to bother or annoy (someone) constantly or repeatedly

Common Expressions.

Opening a letter of complaint.

Introducing your complaint.

- I am writing this letter to protest about the plan to ...

- I am writing this letter to express my disappointment in relation to the proposal to ...

- I am sorry to have to inform you of the following unfortunate situation:  Last week when I visited your ...

- I am writing to express my unhappiness about your decision / plans to ...

- I am writing to make clear / to lodge my displeasure (show my irritation / frustration)  at your plans to ...

- I am sorry to have to complain in relation to the following unfortunate situation, which occurred at your ...

- I am writing in connection with an unfortunate experience I had when I visited your store / business etc...

- I am writing this letter to bring to your attention my disapproval of  your decision / proposal to ...

- I am writing this letter to complain about an incident that happened on (date) at (time) at (place)

- I am writing this letter to express my dissatisfaction with the poor service I experienced when I ...

- I am writing in connection with ...


Developing your complaint.

- The reasons for my complaint / objections are three-fold: First of all, ... Also, ... In addition, ...

- Unfortunately, I found the standard of professionalism and workmanship to fall well below what I had come to consider to be an acceptable level in regard to ...

- I am very disappointed with the poor standard(s) of service / workmanship / professionalism I encountered when I visited your ...

- Something that I feel particularly aggrieved about is that ...

- Another source of real dissatisfaction is that ...

- This was not what I had expected.  In fact, it is quite the opposite; 

- Although, according to your staff, I should have got / the product should have / the service should have included, in fact it fell short of this expectation...

- Notwithstanding the fact that I was assured by your sales assistant / employee that ...

- On using your service / product, I was quite surprised to discover that, despite being assured by your company employees that it would work perfectly, when I got it home, in fact the product failed to ...




Asking the recipient to take action:

- I sincerely hope that you will take my complaint seriously

- I trust you will take appropriate action to remedy this situation in the immediate future so that we can put this unfortunate incident / event(s) behind us.

- I am fully confident that we can overcome this unfortunate situation and come to a mutually agreeable resolution.  I trust it would not be inconvenient for you to now act to redress this problem by ...

- I would be sincerely grateful if you could ...

- I hope you will give your immediate attention to this matter...

- I fully anticipate that you will take remedial steps to resolve this matter to our mutual satisfaction.  I therefore expect you to ...

- In view of these circumstances, I trust you will see that it would be unfair if I were not given some kind of compensation for my loss / inconvenience ... Therefore, it only seems fair that you provide me with ...

- As a valued customer, I fully expect that you will provide me with ...


- In order to satisfactorily address my grievance, I feel that what would be fair (what would suit me best) would be if you were to ...  


Task Achievement

Coherence & Cohesion

Lexical Resource (vocabulary)

Grammatical Range

& Accuracy



-  fully satisfies all the requirements of the task


-  clearly presents a fully developed response



- uses cohesion in such a way that it attracts no attention 


- skillfully manages paragraphing


- uses a wide range of vocabulary with very natural and sophisticated control of lexical features; rare minor errors occur only as ‘slips’



- uses a wide range of structures with full flexibility and accuracy; rare minor errors occur only as ‘slips’



- covers all requirements of the task sufficiently 


- presents, highlights and illustrates key features / bullet points clearly and appropriately


- sequences information and ideas logically 


- manages all aspects of cohesion well


- uses paragraphing sufficiently and appropriately


- uses a wide range of vocabulary fluently and flexibly to convey precise meanings


- skillfully uses uncommon lexical items but there may be occasional inaccuracies in word choice and collocation


- produces rare errors in spelling and/or word formation



- uses a wide range of structures 


- the majority of sentences are error-free 


- makes only very occasional errors or inappropriate uses of grammar



- covers the requirements of the task

 - (Academic) presents a clear overview of main trends, differences or stages


-  (General Training) presents a clear purpose, with the tone consistent and appropriate


- clearly presents and highlights key features/bullet points but could be more fully extended



- logically organises information and ideas; there is clear progression throughout


- uses a range of cohesive devices appropriately although there may be some under-/over-use


- uses a sufficient range of vocabulary to allow some flexibility and precision 


 - uses less common lexical items with some awareness of style and collocation 


 - may produce occasional errors in word choice, spelling and/or word formation


- uses a variety of complex structures 


- produces frequent error-free sentences 


- has good control of grammar and punctuation but may make a few errors



- addresses the requirements of the task


-  (Academic) presents an overview with information appropriately selected 


- (General Training) presents a purpose that is generally clear; there may be inconsistencies in tone. 


- presents and adequately highlights key features / bullet points but details may be irrelevant, inappropriate or inaccurate



-  arranges information and ideas coherently and there is a clear overall progression


- uses cohesive devices effectively, but cohesion within and/or between sentences may be faulty or mechanical 


- may not always use referencing clearly or appropriately


- uses an adequate range of vocabulary for the task 


- attempts to use less common vocabulary but with some inaccuracy 


- makes some errors in spelling and/or word formation, but they do not impede communication


 - uses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms 


- makes some errors in grammar and punctuation but they rarely reduce communication



- generally addresses the task; the format may be inappropriate in places 


  - (Academic) recounts detail mechanically with no clear overview; there may be no data to support the description


- (General Training) may present a purpose for the letter that is unclear at times; the tone may be variable and sometimes inappropriate 


- presents, but inadequately covers, key features/bullet points; there may be a tendency to focus on detail



- presents information with some organisation but there may be a lack of overall progression 


- makes inadequate, inaccurate or overuse of cohesive devices  may be repetitive because of lack of referencing and substitution


 - uses a limited range of vocabulary, but this is minimally adequate for the task 


 - may make noticeable errors in spelling and/or word formation that may cause some difficulty for the reader


 - uses only a limited range of structures 


 - attempts complex sentences but these tend to be less accurate than simple sentences 


 - may make frequent grammatical errors and punctuation may be faulty; errors can cause some difficulty for the reader



- attempts to address the task but does not cover all key features/bullet points; the format may be inappropriate


- (General Training) fails to clearly explain the purpose of the letter; the tone may be inappropriate 


 - may confuse key features/bullet points with detail; parts may be unclear, irrelevant, repetitive or inaccurate



- presents information and ideas but these are not arranged coherently and there is no clear progression in the response 


 - uses some basic cohesive devices but these may be inaccurate or repetitive


- uses only basic vocabulary which may be used repetitively or which may be inappropriate for the task 


 - has limited control of word formation and/or spelling; 


 - errors may cause strain for the reader


 - uses only a very limited range of structures with only rare use of subordinate clauses 


 - some structures are accurate but errors predominate, and punctuation is often faulty



- fails to address the task, which may have been completely misunderstood 



- presents limited ideas which may be largely irrelevant/repetitive


- does not organise ideas logically 


 - may use a very limited range of cohesive devices, and those used may not indicate a logical relationship between ideas


- uses only a very limited range of words and expressions with very limited control of word formation and/or spelling


-  errors may severely distort the message


 - attempts sentence forms but errors in grammar and punctuation predominate and distort the meaning



 - answer is barely related to the task


 - has very little control of organisational features


 - uses an extremely limited range of vocabulary; essentially no control of word formation and/or spelling


 - cannot use sentence forms except in memorised phrases



 - answer is completely unrelated to the task



 - fails to communicate any message


 - can only use a few isolated words


 - cannot use sentence forms at all


- does not attend

- does not attempt the task in any way

- writes a totally memorised response