Tips to Score Well in IELTS General Writing Task 1

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is one of the English language proficiency tests for non-native English-speaking applicants applying for study abroad programs or immigration. The test is designed to assess and evaluate the English language proficiency of aspirants seeking admission to universities or applying for permanent residence, immigration, and visa purposes in English-speaking countries. IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. In this article, we will discuss IELTS General Writing Task 1 tips in detail. 

There are two types of the IELTS examination-IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The applicants for the IELTS test are evaluated based on their English writing, speaking, reading, and listening skills. The IELTS General Training examination is meant for applicants who are willing to work and immigrate to an English-speaking country. IELTS General has four sections, out of which Writing is a compulsory section attempted by the students. There are two writing tasks in the IELTS General Training examination. Writing Task 1 is a letter-writing task, of 150 words and the time allotted is 20 minutes. IELTS general writing task 1 contributes 33% of the total writing marks. 

The IELTS Writing Task 1 measures your ability to communicate on common practical issues. Candidates must know certain IELTS General Writing Task 1 tips to score better in this section. The applicants need to write a letter, formal or semi-formal, on a particular situation or subject. The letter writing topic focuses on testing the functional writing skills of the applicants. The task measures the efficiency of writing skills – how well the applicants can write letters of different formats and purposes. Applicants need to focus on vocabulary, grammar, writing style, format, pattern, purpose, tone, and ideas while writing task 1. The topics of the letter will be general topics based on regular occurrences, events, and purposes. 

IELTS General Writing Task 1 tips

In Writing Task 1 of the IELTS General Training Test, a prompt will be given that will provide you with a situation that requires you to write a letter of around 150 words. There will be instructions, a format, and a well-laid-out structure that the test takers need to follow while attempting the task. The section carries 33% of total writing marks, and the applicants must follow the tips discussed below to perform well in this section. 

  • Applicants attempting the section need to be attentive while reading the topic of the letter. The pattern and tone of the letter need to be correct. Identify the type of letter, and make sure the tone and style of writing match the type of letter. Three types of letters can be asked – formal, semi-formal, and informal. Flow of words should be correct, and keep a formal tone for a formal letter. 
  • The purpose of the letter should be very clear and straight. The letter writing questions will be based on apologies, thanks, complaints, suggestions, giving information, or asking for information in an appropriate tone. Use the right tone so that the purpose of the letter is well justified. A letter of apology should not have a jovial or happy tone. 
  • Striking the right tone and maintaining it throughout the letter is crucial for achieving a higher band. Keep your tone as per the question. Make sure the flow of words matches the tone. 
  • The opening and closing of the letter are very vital. Choose the right words so that the examiner can picture out the entire purpose and content of the letter by reading the introduction. Close the letter with the right brands, as without a conventional closing it becomes difficult to get a good band. 
  • Work on vocabulary. It is not important to use the longest English language words, but try to avoid using the most commonly heard regular terms. Good vocabulary knowledge is extremely beneficial. Use positive and less recognized words to give an idea about the strength of your English language vocabulary. 
  • The letter should be grammatically correct. Minor mistakes are okay, but try to avoid them. Try to draft short and crisp sentences that have good readability. In this way, one can easily avoid grammatical errors. Tense and prepositions need to be correct, one cannot get wrong with these. 
  • Organize the entire 150-word letter into small paragraphs for readability. It will help the examiners to quickly go through the entire letter. Try to avoid lengthy paragraphs. 
  • Spelling mistakes are a big no. Applicants need to take care of spelling mistakes. Avoid complicated words that one is not very confident about. It is better to write a simple word rather than making a blunt spelling mistake. 
  • The letter must have the three important bullet points in a clear and coherent manner. Explain the problem, describe why it is disturbing, and also suggest a possible solution. 
  • The IELTS General Writing section focuses on time limitations. Applicants must time themselves and practice letter writing. Practice letter writing and get the letters corrected. Get feedback and work on the weak areas. 
  • Four elements of effective letter writing are opening, details, action, and closing. All of these elements should be appropriately used in the letter to achieve a high band in writing task 1. 
  • Read the sample letter. Do not memorize them. Use them as a reference to understand the usage of words, formats, structure, and the tone of writing. Try to read different types of samples that are based on varied purposes and types. 
  • Read through the letter once quickly after completing it. This way, it will be easy to identify small mistakes and errors here and there. 
  • Try to keep your word length not more than 160 words. Do not waste time by writing a letter of more than 200 words, and fall short of time for writing task 2.
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