The IELTS Writing General Module requires candidates to write two set of tasks: A Letter and an Essay. In this lesson, we are going to discuss in full details the IELTS Letter Writing (Task 1).

    • 20 minutes time limit; at least 150 words (excluding the words of the question title and the salutations)
    • You will be required to write either a formal, semi-formal or informal/personal It is therefore important that you follow the required test format and the tone of the letter as per instructions.
    • The instructions include 3 points. You must include all these in your letter. Take a look at an example letter writing task below:

letter_3 points

    • You are going write at least 150 words but there is no restriction on writing more. However, you must bear in mind that writing more means consuming more time. You do not want to compromise your remaining time for the other writing task (essay). Remember you will lose points if you write less.
    • There is no 20 minute timer for the letter writing task. You will be given 1 hour to write both Task 1 and Task 2 and it is up to you to manage your time between the tasks.
    • The letter writing task is worth 33% of the entire writing module. Do not spend too much time on this task.
    • You will lose points if you do not meet the 3 required points. It is important for you to read the instructions carefully. Underline the keywords if necessary. Give yourself time to review your letter when you finished.


  1. TYPES OF LETTER – It is important for a candidate to identify which type of letter is required. Based on the requirement, you will need to choose appropriate words and phrases to write a formal, semi-formal and informal/personal You must learn how to close and open each type of letter. We have a separate lesson dedicated to provide instructions and tips on How to Identify Types of Letter for IELTS Writing Task 1.


  1. SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF A LETTER – You must bear in mind that each letter writing task has a specific purpose or aim. You could be asked to write a complaint letter, an invitation letter or a request letter. You must be able to spot the keywords to identify which purpose you are supposed to write about. It is essential to practice writing different letters before your test. Here is a list of the most common letter purposes for Writing Task 1:


  • Letter of Apology
  • Letter to Request for/Make Arrangements
  • Letter of Resignation
  • Application Letter
  • Letter of Complaint
  • Request for and provide information
  • Invitation letter


  1. GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION AND SPELLING – Depending on the letter style and tone required, grammar and spelling matter. For example, in formal letters, you are not supposed to use contractions like “can’t” and “won’t”. You must also write with correct spelling of words so beware of commonly misspelled words. Grammar of course is a basic requirement in any type of writing. These will all fall under “accuracy” assessment criterion.


   6. ORGANIZATION – You will also be assessed on how well you organize your letter      into effective paragraphs. Below is the general structure of the letter in the writing task 1 of IELTS General Module:

  • Introduction
  • Point 1
  • Point 2
  • Point 3
  • Closing statements/paragraph
  • Signing off/Farewell
  • Your name or a made up name (as the writer)


We have published a dedicated article discussing tips on How to Organize Your Letter for IELTS Writing Task 1.


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