1. Overview of IELTS General Writing Task 1


1.1. General requirements of IELTS General Writing Task 1 


As mentioned before, the IELTS General Writing Task 1 requires you to write a letter regarding daily situations that you may encounter in an English-speaking environment. For instance, a letter to an accommodation officer, your employer, friend or neighbor. The letter may be formal, informal or semi-formal.


You have to write at least 150 words in about 20 minutes.


ielts general writing task 1


1.2. IELTS General Writing Task 1 Grading Criteria 


Your letter will be assessed based on 4 criteria: Task achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. 


Task Achievement – do everything you are asked to do

– give a fully-developed response

– cover all necessary points

– write at least 150 words

Coherence and Cohesion  – Coherence:

+ present ideas logically

+ use structured paragraphs

– Cohesion:

+ write so points stick together, make sense, and convey your message

+ use standard expressions and transition words

Lexical Resource  – use a wide range of vocabulary naturally, fluently and flexibly

– use correct spelling

– choose the right words (word choice)

– use forms of words correctly

Grammatical Range and Accuracy  – use a wide range of grammar structures

– use various types of sentences 

– use effective punctuation

– use correct capitalization


>>> Read more:  IELTS Academic Writing Task 1


1.3. IELTS General Writing Task 1 Letter Structure


A letter includes the following parts:

Opening: with a salutation (saying hello) part (Dear Sir/ Madam, Dear Helen, Dear Mr. John, etc)

Introduction: purpose of writing

Main body: comprises paragraphs for each part of the letter

Closing: with a farewell (saying goodbye) part (Yours sincerely, Yours faithfully, Best wishes, Kind regards, Love) 


NOTE: In the instructions you are told – You do NOT need to write any addresses – so do not include them. 


2. Types of IELTS General Writing Task 1 letter


There are three types of letters in the IELTS General Writing Task 1:  formal, semi-formal and informal (also known as personal letter).


Formal letter To people you do not know or have never met
Semi-formal letter  To people you may know but you are not close with them 
Informal letter To people you know well

Some common Task 1 letter topics


– Letter of apology



Write a letter to your friend. You have borrowed something from your friend and it got damaged.


  • Apologize for damaging product


  • Explain what happen


  • Say how are you going to fix the issue


– Letter of complaint



There is a problem with the changing rooms in the sports centre that you visit. You have complained several times but with no success. Write a letter to the manager of the sports centre. In your letter:

  • describe what the problem with the changing rooms is
  • say what happened the last times you complained
  • explain what you want the manager to do.

– Letter of request



You want to learn a language. There is a teacher near to where you live.

Write a letter to the teacher. In the letter:

  • say how you came to know about him/her


  • explain why you want to learn


  • ask what help they can offer.


ielts general writing task 1 letter topics


 Letter of Application 


Example: You would like a job working in a summer camp which runs sports and outdoor activities for children and young people.

Write a letter to the organiser of the summer camp. In your letter:


  • describe your personality


  • say what relevant experience and skills you have


  • explain what sort of work you would like to do.


– Letter of advice


Example: A friend has written to you asking for advice about a problem at work. You have had a similar problem in the past.

Write a letter to your friend. In your letter



  •  tell your friend you understand the problem


  •  explain what happened to you in the past


  • suggest possible solutions to the problem


>>> Practice now: IELTS Writing Practice Test


3. Steps to write an IELTS General Writing Task 1 letter


3.1. Understand the topic


The first thing you need to do before starting writing a letter is understanding the topic. The first part of the question normally tells you the topic you must write about


3.2. Identify who you are writing to


The next important step in writing a letter is identifying who you are writing to. The second part of the question normally tells you who you must write to.


3.3. Identify bullet points presented in the questions


It is necessary to cover all bullet points presented in the question. Remember that some bullet points may contain more than one element, therefore, pay attention to “and” and plurals. 


3.4. Choose the right tone


Choosing the right tone is a key step to get a high mark in the IELTS General Writing Task 1. The tone is the way in which your letter is written in formal, semi-formal or informal style. 


3.5. Generate ideas


The next step is generating ideas. Since the letter requires only 150 words, you won’t need many, but keep in mind that you write about each bullet point and develop each fully. 


4. Some tips to get high score in IELTS General Writing Task 1


4.1. Understand the assessment criteria 


To get a high score in the IELTS General Writing Task 1, you need to be well-aware of the scoring criteria, what examiners look for and how they award or substruct points. 


tips ielts general writing task 1


4.2. Read model letters (but don’t memorize them)


By reading model letters from credible sources, you can learn good ideas, vocabulary and expressions and then apply them into your letters. 


4.3. Practice regularly and get feedback


Practice makes perfect. Practicing writing with different topics would help you have a thorough preparation for the exam. It’s much better to practice under time pressure (20 minutes). Besides, seek someone who has experience in teaching IELTS to help you check your letter. 


4.5. Boost your vocabulary 


Lexical resource is one of the four important assessment criteria of the IELTS Writing and accounts for 25% of your total score. So, you need to prepare a wide range of vocabulary and fully understand their meanings to use in your letter.


Apart from the above-mentioned tips, you can download IELTS TEST PRO to be provided with tips, strategies and model letters. Use it regularly to soon achieve your goal.