IELTS General Writing Task 1: Online Practice Tests and Resources

Tips for IELTS General Writing Task 1

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Tips for IELTS General Writing Task 1


Having finalised dates for the IELTS exam, you must search for tips and how to score well in your IELTS writing test. You will find two tests – academic and general, depending on why you opt for this exam. Here you will be exploring IELTS General writing task 1 in detail.

General training writing task 1 requires you to pen a formal, semi-informal or informal letter on a given topic. Its rubric usually involves three bullet points you must address in the letter. To frame your letter in 20 minutes, you must use around 150 words. IELTS general training writing aims to assess your functional writing skills and check whether you can write various kinds of letters. Some examples include to apologise, thank, complain, suggest, present or ask for information using proper tone, structure and language.

As soon as you read the question, you must decide what type of letter you should write. Ensure you address all three bullets and use the right format and language. Furthermore, you should also understand the key elements of the assessment to structure the letter you’ll be writing. The first and foremost tip for writing letter task 1 for general IELTS is ODAC [Opening, Details, Action, and Closing] formula. Planning with these elements correctly, you will get to achieve higher band scores. Look at the elements briefly and how language should be used in each section.

IELTS General Writing Task 1 Tips Using ODAC


After reading the question, you need to identify the letter's type, purpose, and context. When the topic asks you to write for a manager or business, it’s formal; when asking for an office colleague, you must write a semi-formal letter; whereas writing for a family or a friend, you must write an informal one.

The next step is to check its purpose, like if it’s a complaint, apology, invitation, etc. letter. Formal letters’ purpose can be signposted, for instance, “I am writing to inform you about…”, “I would like to inform you about…”. While semi-formal and informal letters need not be a direct and formal tone. Like, “I am sharing some exciting news…”, “I just want to thank you for…”. 

The most crucial tip you must always remember is to use the appropriate tone for the purpose of the letter. If you want a higher band score, the key is to strike the right tone throughout the letter.



In IELTS general writing task 1, three usual bullet point checks are provided in the prompt. Make sure to address them when you are writing your letter. Firstly, read them carefully; each point will need you to do two things.

For example, in a letter recommending a particular course, the bullet point could be "Describe the course and why you believe it's right for him/her". A higher band will only be achieved if you only describe the course and explain why you're recommending it.

Aside from this, you will find a paragraph to itself in every bullet point, where you also see a central topic to be the 1st sentence of the paragraph. It will follow with 2 or 3 sentences to support the central idea, then add specific examples to validate your ideas. Paragraphs typically end with a transition sentence that links to the next one.



Actions usually come under the final bullet point, asking you to suggest, take some action or present instructions. Here, you are supposed to state what you want the reader to do clearly. Formal letters can get framed as “Please let me know” or “I would like you to ensure…” whereas informal or semi-formal can be more casual like “Let’s see if we can…” or “I hope you can make it…”, etc. A call for future contact usually follows it.

References in formal letters can be like, “I look forward to meeting you in person” or “I look forward to working with you in the future”. In contrast, references to future contact in semi-formal and informal terms like, “Let's meet soon” or “I look forward to hearing from you soon”.


The crucial advice for you here is to refrain from using abbreviations in semi-formal or informal letters. Remember these things to score higher in IELTS general writing task 1.



Now that you’ve understood the opening, detail section and action part, let's move on to the table below for some guidelines on the closing of the letter in consonance with the formal, semi-formal or informal letter:

Salutation Complimentary Usage

Dear Sir/Dear Madam

Yours faithfully


Dear Mr. Sharma/Dear Ms. Shah

Yours sincerely


Dear Rajiv/Dear Neha

Warm regards, Best regards


Avoid common mistakes in IELTS letter writing, as you’ll be marked down for not following conventions along with the appropriate opening and closing here. While closing the letter is the most important part, not having a conventional closing part can make you lose band scores in IELTS general writing. If you’ve written only “thanking you”, it will not be considered appropriate, but “yours faithfully” and “yours sincerely” can be taken into consideration.


To conclude, use the ODAC formula for structuring your letter to achieve a higher band score in general training writing task 1. Make sure you practice before the test. Try writing a response to some previous year’s questions. You should time yourself when you write and then assess it. Check if you addressed the question and responded appropriately.

We hope we have provided you with helpful insight into the IELTS General Writing Task 1. If you need further guidance, please contact Prepare IELTS (PI) counsellors. Our team of education experts is dedicated to providing you with the best guidance in preparing for the IELTS Exam.

You can get on a one-to-one free counselling session online via our platform. Contact us at or call us at +91 9773398388.


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