Succeeding in the IELTS Language proficiency test is quite crucial to accomplish your dream of studying abroad. Almost all the universities abroad accept IELTS to assess student’s ability to speak, listen, write, and read English. Now, one of the most crucial parts of the IELTS test is the writing task and IELTS letter writing task. Many students find it difficult to score good bands in IELTS writing tasks, especially when it comes to writing a letter. Therefore, in this guide, we will explain some tips and methods to score well in IELTS letter writing within General IELTS writing task 1.
You have 20 minutes to attempt a question by composing a letter to an individual, business, or organisation. Basically, you can get three types of letters to write, i.e., formal, semi-formal, and informal, depending on the situation. Moreover, your response, which is judged separately from the Task 2 essay, accounts for around 30% of your writing score.
Let’s get a sneak peek into all three types of letters below.
Basically, a formal letter is written to somebody whom we don’t know or have never met. Generally, formal letters include:
An Application Letter
An Invitation Letter
A Complaint Letter
A Request Letter
A Review Letter
A Feedback Letter
A Resignation Letter
A Job Letter
An Apology Letter
An Arrangement Letter
An Explanation Letter
Informal Letters are generally personal letters regarding social and personal circumstances to someone you know or who is near to you, as the name implies. Unlike the formal letter subjects, it is impossible to organise or define informal letter writing topics since there are numerous alternatives for topics when addressing a friend or someone we are close to.
You must address a semi-formal letter to a person you know by name and with whom you have a professional or business relationship. They can be your professors, coworkers, accountants, etc.
Generally, an IELTS letter writing format includes the following structure:
Opening Statement - Purpose for writing the letter
Body Paragraph 1 (Describe the first point)
Body Paragraph 2 (Describe the second point)
Body Paragraph 3 (Describe the third point)
Now, let’s explore how to attempt IELTS letter writing task 1 step-by-step.
Firstly, you have to identify which type of letter it is, i.e., formal, semi-formal, and informal.
The second step is to read and analyse the task prompt carefully. Thus, understand the purpose of the letter, the recipient, and any specific instructions provided.
After reading a question properly, take a few minutes to plan your letter. Outline the main points you want to address and define the structure of your letter.
In a formal or semi-formal letter, begin with a greeting, use appropriate titles and names if available, such as "Dear Mr. Smith" or "Dear Sir/Madam." Ensure that your greeting matches the formality of the letter. Moreover, while writing a formal letter, get to the point and explain your purpose for writing.
Since you don't know the person you're writing to, don’t try to be friendly.
Whereas in the case of informal letters, before stating the purpose of your letter, first acknowledge your friendship. In fact, the opening paragraph might only contain chitchat unrelated to the topic of your essay.
The body of your letter should provide details and information relevant to the situation. Use paragraphs to organise your thoughts logically. Each paragraph should focus on a specific point wherein you should use linking words and phrases to connect your ideas.
Conclude your letter appropriately in the last paragraph. Also, in formal letters, use phrases like "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely" before signing your name. In semi-formal letters, "Best regards" is often suitable.
So, here are some tips and tricks to ace your IELTS letter writing task:
Write clearly and concisely. Further, avoid overly complex sentences or vocabulary you are uncomfortable with.
It is quite important to take a few minutes to review and edit your IELTS letter writing. So, check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and clarity of expression in the letter. In short, a well-proofread letter reflects positively on your language skills.
Ensure that your letter falls within the specified word count because exceeding or falling significantly short of the word limit can affect your score. Overall, ensure your letter is within a word count of 150 to 250.
IELTS candidates frequently make errors by putting all the points in one paragraph. However, the best option would be to break up your ideas into separate paragraphs, as the examiner tends to evaluate your proficiency with appropriate paragraphing. Make sure that you include the following points in your letter.
explain the problem
describe why it disturbs you
suggest a solution
Make sure that your letter is accurate and free of any grammar mistakes. Any type of grammar or spelling mistake would negatively influence your band scores.
Your 20 minutes should be split between planning, writing, and evaluating. Spend the first 3-5 minutes preparing, the next 12–15 minutes composing, and the final 2-3 minutes reviewing your work for errors.
Practice makes a man perfect! So, it is important to practice writing letters regularly to improve your skills. Also, seek feedback from teachers or native speakers to identify areas for improvement.
Writing a letter for IELTS can be a challenging task, but with the right strategies and practice, you can excel. Remember to analyse the task prompt, determine the appropriate formality, plan your letter, and pay attention to clarity. By following the guidelines elaborated in the blog and practising consistently, you can enhance your letter-writing skills and increase your chances of obtaining a high IELTS General Training test score.
So, if you are looking forward to appearing for the General IELTS test, then we recommend you to sign up for our IELTS Courses designed by our experts. If you need further guidance, please contact Prepare IELTS (PI) expert counsellors. Our team of education experts is dedicated to assisting you in the best possible way for the IELTS exam. You can also get a one-on-one counselling session online via our platform. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +91 9773398388.
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