In this IELTS General Writing Task 1 lesson (click here if you’re looking for academic lessons), we look at the different elements that make up a complete IELTS letter. We introduce what to write in each of the 7 parts and include a sample essay to demonstrate.
Basic Guidelines for IELTS General Writing Task 1 Letters
- 150 words
- 20 minutes
- Respond to a situation by writing a letter, for example, requesting information or explaining a situation.
- Formal and informal styles (semi-formal can be formal)
The 7 Essential Parts of an IELTS General Writing Task 1 Letter
- Beginning (Dear…)
- Purpose (I’m writing in regards to…)
- Body Paragraph 1: describe the situation
- Body Paragraph 2: explain your problems and why it is difficult to work
- Body Paragraph 3: say what kind of accommodation you would prefer
- Closing (Thank you for your help/I look forward to hearing from you/etc…)
- Ending (Yours….)
Part 1: The Beginning
- Address the person you are writing to. Be sure to change your style based on the information given.
- Look at the task for help.
- Make sure you’re writing in the correct style.
Part 2: The Purpose
- Explain the reason you are writing this letter.
- This is where you “introduce the topic”.
Part 3: Body 1
- First, you will write about the first point in your Task.
- Try to make each bullet point about the same length.
- In some cases, your purpose and your body 1 may require similar information. You don’t need to repeat yourself.
Part 4: Body 2
- Second, you will write about the second point in your Task.
- Try to make your topic sentence clear so that the reader knows what you are writing about. This can help your Coherence and Cohesion score.
Part 5: Body 3
- Finally, you will write about the third point in your Task.
- Notice in my sample answers that I am answering each bullet point directly.
Part 6: Closing
- This is where you finish your letter.
- It’s common to use phrases like “Thank you for your help.”, “I look forward to hearing from you.” for formal letters.
- For informal letters, you could write phrases like “Talk to you soon.”, or even “I hope you enjoy the rest of your week!”
Part 7: Ending
- This is the very last part and your name.
- Don’t make any spelling mistakes here.
- What you write here will depend on the style of letter.
Full Sample Answer:
Dear Sir or Madam,
My name is John Smith. I live in your college accommodation and am writing in regards to some problems I have been having recently that have made it difficult for me to concentrate on my work. (Part 2, 36 words)
I am in my second year now and currently share my room with a person who is in his fourth year. While I understand that sharing a room is required for all residents in this accommodation, my roommate has been making it very difficult for me to study. (Part 3, 48 words)
The problem is that he often invites people over for parties without telling me in advance. This was true even last week during the exam period. I have tried to reason with him but I doubt that things will change. (Part 4, 40 words)
I am hoping that you will be able to place me in a quieter room for the next semester. I apologize for the trouble, but I need to be able to study in my residence. (Part 5, 35 words)
Thank you very much for your help. (Part 6)
John Smith (Part 7)
(174 words total)
That’s it for this lesson on IELTS General Writing Task 1! Now, using your knowledge of each of the 7 steps of the letter, find a new task and try to follow each of the 7 steps.