How To Do IELTS General Writing Task 1

IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 is very different to the Academic Writing Task 1. Some people think it is much easier. You have to write a letter which is either formal or informal in style and that is of at least 150 words in length.

You should spend no more than 20 minutes on this task as it is only worth a third of the overall marks in the writing test which means you need to leave 40 minutes to properly answer task 2.

This is a short guide on 'How To Do IELTS General Writing Task 1'.  There is a lot of useful information here, so you may wish to bookmark this page and comeback to it again.


 The 5 Step Writing Process

Follow this step-by-step process to produce well structured letters that please the examiners.

  1. Analyze the question. You will see a background sentence saying who you need to write to and then you’ll see three bullet points that help you write the letter. You should underline keywords and phrases to help focus on what you need to write about. Read a full explanation of how to analyse a question here.

2. Consider the tone you need to write in. If it says write to a friend, you can use informal language. If it does not say you are writing to a friend then write in a formal way. Do not worry about semi-formal language just use either formal or informal language. If you follow this procedure you will be clear straightaway about what you need to do. Keeping it simple is key here and will help in the pressure of the exam. Read how to get the correct tone in your IELTS letter here.


3. Plan your paragraphs. This prevents you from going ‘off topic’ and losing marks for poor Task Achievement and also gives you a focal point to keep you on target. Read a full explanation on paragraph planning here.


4. Write your paragraphs. You must ensure that you cover the bullet points you were asked to, that you use the correct tone/level of formality, that your letter is structured correctly, that it flows well, and that you use a range of vocabulary. Read more on how to write your letter body paragraphs here.


5. Check your work. Finally, you must take some time to check your spelling, punctuation and grammar. This can significantly boost your band score when done properly. Read exactly how to check your letter here.

The more you practice this process the more confident you will become. Following the same process each time helps to eliminate nerves on exam day, it prevents you from making silly mistakes and means you will produce a well structured letter every time.

Once you have mastered this process you may want to take a look at how to do IELTS Writing Task 2 here.

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