In task 1 of the General Training Writing, you will have to write a short letter using informal or semi-formal style. As suggested, you should spend 20 minutes on this task.
In this task, you are given a problem or situation which requires a written response in letter format. What you are expected to do is:
ü Respond to task
ü Show familiarity with letter style
ü Use appropriate and accurate language.
For more information about how your writing is assessed follow this link
Here, you have some two samples of Task 1 of the General Training Writing:
How to deal with Task 1 (GM)
Task prompt analysis
Firstly, you need to know how to analyze the task prompt; this is perhaps the most important part as it tells you what you have to do in your letter. Let’s take a look at the following sample:
As you can see, I have underlined some key words in this task prompt; notice that by doing this, I have identified who I should write to, therefore, I have also recognize:
ü the style of the letter I need to produce;
ü the language I may use and the appropriate opening and closing of the letter;
ü the verb tenses I need to use.
The style of the letter and language to use: in this case, you have to write a letter to a friend; this means that the style can be semi- formal and the language can be more relaxed and friendly than in a formal letter (friendly does not mean rude).
Opening and ending of the letter: the way you start and close your letter will depend on the style of the letter I am required to write. Here -because the prompt calls for a semi-formal letter- you may start asking your friend some personal questions such as how is your family? How is your life these days? Or you could apologise for not writing as much as you wish (this is very common between friends). For your ending, also, you need to find the proper closing phrase for a semi-formal letter; in this case, you could use Kind regards, Best wishes, With love.
Verb tenses: the three bullet points are telling you what information to include; in other words, this information will be the body of your letter. Here, you need to pay attention to the verb tense of the sentences:
• say how you felt when you received the present: you need to use past tense in order to say how you felt when you received the present.
• describe what you like about it: here, you need to talk about what you like about the present which means you need to use present tense.
• explain how you will use the present: last but not least, you need to mention the future use of the present which means you need to use ‘going’ or ‘will’ structure.
It is very important to have clear the structure of your letter, in other words, you need to know how to organize your ideas into *sections. If you are able to do this, I am sure this will have a positive impact on the clarity of your writing.
*a section may contain one or more paragraphs
Carrying on with the example, you may organize your letter in 3 sections:
Section I: Letter opening
Section II: Letter body
Section III: Letter closing
Let’s have a look at the following sample answer and see how this IELTS candidate has organized his letter:
Comments: this candidate has started with an informal greeting –suitable for a semi-formal letter. He also has covered and expanded the three bullet points with good and very well linked ideas. Verb tenses and grammar in general are fine. He also has closed his letter with a friendly message and an appropriate good-bye phrase. The word count is perfect (within the advised word count 150-165). I would expect Band 7 -7.5 for this letter.
N.B. this letter has been graded by an IELTS teacher no by an IELTS examiner.
POINTS TO REMEMBER