Approaching IELTS Writing Task 1 (General)

What is Task 1?

In the Writing Task 1 of the IELTS General test, you will be given a situation and you will have to write a letter in response. For example, you may have to write a letter to a neighbour who often makes too much noise or a letter to your manager explaining why you failed to meet a deadline.

A good answer to Task 1 should be a letter that has a clear purpose, that is informative and that has a clear action point.

What kind of letter will I have to write?

You may have to write a formal or informal letter. It’s important that you are clear what kind of letter it is as you will be marked on tone – if you are using the kind of language which is appropriate for the kind of letter you are writing.

In either formal or informal letters it is important that your answer does certain things.

  • The opening of your letter should explain who you are and your purpose for writing. Bear in mind that in an informal letter you won’t really have to explain who you are as you will be writing to a friend but it will be important to explain why you are writing.
  • In the main body of the letter you should make sure you cover all of the requirements of the task. The question will probably have three bullet points of information you should include in your letter and you should make sure you explain them in your letter. Remember to be creative. If the question says ‘describe why you missed the deadline’ then make sure you give some details about the reasons why your work was late.
  • In the last part of your letter make sure it is clear if you want your reader to do something. If you’re writing to your neighbour to complain about the noise, you might end your letter telling them that if they continue to disturb you, you may have to call the police.

How do I get started with Task 1?

Look at the prompt carefully. What kind of letter is it? Who are you writing to, and why? Write notes on the question paper, highlighting key point that you have to mention in your answer. Plan what you are going to say and think about what details you can add to your letter.

Examples of Academic Writing Task 1 papers

Click on the links to see example questions, answers and explanations.