Test Tips for General Training Task 1 Writing
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Why Learn Test Tips for Letter Writing?
Writing a letter might seem like an easier task than writing an academic style essay in task 2, but because there are so many different kinds of things that you could be asked to write about in your task 1 letter, it is a good idea to be prepared by learning as many tips as you can that will help you before you sit the test. Note: these tips refer to the Official IELTS Marking Criteria used by examiners when they mark your test, so they provide valuable advice about how to write higher band scoring answers.
Essential Tips for General Training Task 1 Letter Writing
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1. Timing and planning.
2. Don't plan too much. You need time to check your answer.
3. Write about 170 to 200 words.
4. Understand the format of the letter.
5. Write in clear paragraphs.
It is essential you write in clear paragraphs or you will get a low bad score. The questions require you to write about 3 bullet points, so your letter should have the following structure:
Note. Of course, you need to read the question very carefully because sometimes you will be asked to introduce yourself in the first paragraph. This makes sense sometimes, like when you are writing to someone you do not know, but it is not normally a requirement. Also, try to separate paragraphs by leaving a line in-between each one. This will make it clear when you are starting a new paragraph.
6. Understand who you are writing to.
It is essential that you think about the relationship you have with the person you are writing to because this will decide the tone of the letter and the writing style.
7. Understand the purpose or reason why you are writing.
The purpose or reason why you are writing the letter will also give you some idea of how formal or informal the letter should be. There are many different types of letters. The main categories are as follows ...
Apologising - any style - depends who you are writing to. If you are apologising to a friend, then you will use an informal tone. A student apologising to a university professor for a late assignment would use a formal tone. If you are apologising to a business friend you know very well, you would use a semi-formal tone.
Making Requests - any style - depends who you are writing to. If you make a request to an organisation for information, you would write a formal letter. However, if you write to your cousin, who is good at cooking, and request information about Italian food recipes, your letter will be informal. By contrast, if you make a request to your neighbour to pay half the cost of a new garden fence that you share, the letter would be semi-formal. As you can see, the tone of the letter depends on who the person is and what the situation involves. Therefore, a complaint to a neighbour, who you do not know very well, would be more formal.
Making an Offer / Declining Offers - any style - depends who you are writing to. If you make an offer to buy a house to a property agent, then this is a business relationship, so the tone of the letter will be formal, but if you make an offer to your brother to buy your house, the tone will be informal because it is your brother. However, if you offer the house to a friend, the tone will be semi-formal because you will be informal with your brother 99.9% of the time.
8. Use the correct greeting and salutation.
Depending on whether you are writing a formal, informal, or semi-formal letter, the following guidance is recommended. You must write a greeting and a goodbye (salutation). If you fail to do this, you will lose marks.
>>> QUICK REFERENCE for saying “hello” (GREETINGS) and “goodbye” (SALUTATIONS)
9. Include an introductory sentence.
9. Practice brainstorming body paragraph ideas.
10. Use the correct grammar and vocabulary. Depending on the type of letter you are writing, you will need to write the correct form of grammar and vocabulary. Here is a handy reference guide you can use for formal, informal and semi formal letters.
The slideshow (below), is an overview of correct writing styles for all types of letters. Essential reading if you want to write high band scoring letters. Click to expand.
Click on the links (below) for other writing test tips.
Academic Writing Task 1 Tips (Quick-view) (Extended Version)
Writing Task 2 Tips (Quick-view) (Extended Version)
General Training Writing Task 1 Tips (Quick-view) (Extended Version)
Test Day Tips (Quick-view) (Extended Version)