Tips & Writing Practice Test for IELTS General Writing Task 1: Write a semi-formal or formal letter - tips and writing practice test for Writing task 1 - tips and writing practice test for Writing task 1

This post will give you a rich variety of useful tips for IELTS General Writing Task 1 to help you achieve Band 7.0+ for IELTS Writing.

Test Tips:

  • You do not have time to write a detailed plan for your letter so think about drafting (writing in rough) the opening line of each of the sections:

– Opening

– Main paragraphs

– Closing

with notes on one or two main points. This will give your writing a sense of direction.

  • Think carefully about who you are writing to and how well you know them. Look at how the letter begins (this is given in IELTS Task 1) and decide how semi-formal/formal the letter should be
  • Think carefully about why you are writing. Consider the three points you are asked to cover in the task and decide what kind of functional language e.g. making requests… suggestions,etc.. you need to use.
  • Do not spend more than the recommended 20 minutes on this task Remember the second task is much longer and needs more time and is worth twice as many marks
  • Do not repeat the exact words given in the task. Candidates that do this usually find it difficult to fit this language to what they want to say. For example, if the questions says give details, you might say…
    – Just to let you know…
  • Always read through your writing when you have
    finished. Check for things such as spelling, grammar
    endings, repetition, etc.
  • In this task you are assessed on four things:
    – Task Achievement
    so read the question carefully and answer all the points, and keep everything you say relevant to the task
    – Coherence and Cohesion
    so open and close the letter appropriately and link your ideas well.
    – Lexical Resource
    so use a range of words linked to the topic of the question
    – Grammatical Range and Accuracy
    so use a range of grammar structures, and afterwards read your writing to cut out errors

Preparation tips:

  • Find someone to correspond with – perhaps a teacher or another student. Write to each other in different imaginary roles: friends, colleagues, etc. asking about and requesting different things.
  • Look at letters written in newspapers and magazines. Note down how they open and close. Also note down language that seems typical of a semi-formal or formal register.


Let’s make use of the above tips to write a formal letter for the following topic:

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task

You are going on a short  course to a training college abroad. It is a college that you have not been to before. Write a letter to the accommodation officer, In your letter
– give details of your course and your arrival/departure date
– explain your accommodation needs
– ask for information about getting to and from the college

Write at least 150 words
You do NOT need to write your own address
Begin the letter as follows:
Dear Sir/Madam,

Sample Answer:

Dear Karen,

I am writing to introduce myself and thank you and your family for offering me the chance to stay with you next month. I am really looking forward to the experience.

As you probably know. I have been with the company for seven years. I moved to Mandara to join the company and now live here with my husband and daughter. We are quite an active family and all love travelling. This is why coming to Australia is so exciting for me.

I’ll be arriving on 16th August at 16.30. My flight number is KTW 403. Thank you for agreeing to meet me. I was worried about getting lost.

I am really looking forward to visiting the countryside In your region of Australia and also hoping to visit Sydney and some other cities at
weekends. I would be grateful for any information you can send me on things to do.
Many thanks once again,


Examiner’s comments:

– covers all 3 points well
– polite expressions for thanking/requesting
– good development of information in paragraphs
– give clear reason for writing

==> Band 7.5

Hope you find this post useful for you!

Tips & Writing Practice Test for IELTS General Writing Task 1: Write a semi-formal or formal letter
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