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Writing Task 1 GP: Write a Letter Practice 2 (Formal Complaint Letter)

It is important to practice the writing tasks ahead of your IELTS test to ensure that you do well. Read through my top tips for success in IELTS Writing Task 1 and then have a go at the practice test below.

TOP TIPS FOR WRITING TASK 1

  • Spend no more than 20 minutes on this part of the writing test paper
  • Ensure you write over 150 words
  • As you read the task, carefully consider whether you should be writing a formal or informal letter.
  • Remember, informal letters are letters to people you know really well, such as your friends and family, and will include more ‘casual’ language (e.g. Hi! How are you? Speak soon.).
  • Formal letters have a more serious tone and will not contain abbreviations, e.g. I am writing to inform you that…
  • Follow our suggestion for using your time best in this IELTS test:
          • 3 minutes: Planning
          • 14 minutes: Writing
          • 3 minutes : Editing and improving
  • Use the 3 minutes of editing time at the end to carefully read through your writing, checking for spelling mistakes, punctuation mistakes, capital letter mistakes and ensuring that the letter makes sense and reads well.

QUESTION

You are writing to a restaurant you recently ate at to complain about the food and the service.

Write a letter to complain to the restaurant manager and be sure to:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Explain the problem
  • State the action you hope for from the restaurant

MODEL ANSWER

Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is Amy Johnson and I visited your restaurant, The Flaming Lion, on the evening of Saturday 27th March. I am writing to express my disappointment with the food and the service received on this visit.

Firstly, I found your waiting staff to be impatient and rude. On several occasions, I attempted to seek the attention of a waiter, but I was completely ignored. When, finally, the waiter responded to my request for assistance, he rolled his eyes as I asked for additional napkins. This made me feel very offended and unwelcome at the establishment.

In addition to this, I was also highly disappointed with the quality of the food. When my dish was served the potato was stone cold. My youngest child ordered chicken nuggets and chips, and I was horrified to discover that the chicken was not fully cooked. Having informed the waiter of this, I received no apology and was simply asked whether we want the nuggets to be cooked some more or cooked again from scratch.

I understand that the waiting staff and kitchen were very busy on that particular evening, but I do not think that our experience was acceptable. I hope you will recognise the negativity of our experience and issue an apology in due course.

Yours faithfully,

M.D. Smith 

Word count: 221 words

Writing Task 1 GP: Write a Letter Practice 1 (Informal Invitation Letter)

It is important to practice the writing tasks ahead of your IELTS test to ensure that you do well. Read through my top tips for success in IELTS Writing Task 1 and then have a go at the practice test below.

TOP TIPS FOR WRITING TASK 1

  • Spend no more than 20 minutes on this part of the writing test paper
  • Ensure you write over 150 words
  • As you read the task, carefully consider whether you should be writing a formal or informal letter.
  • Remember, informal letters are letters to people you know really well, such as your friends and family, and will include more ‘casual’ language (e.g. Hi! How are you? Speak soon.).
  • Formal letters have a more serious tone and will not contain abbreviations, e.g. I am writing to inform you that…
  • Follow our suggestion for using your time best in this IELTS test:
          • 3 minutes: Planning
          • 14 minutes: Writing
          • 3 minutes : Editing and improving
  • Use the 3 minutes of editing time at the end to carefully read through your writing, checking for spelling mistakes, punctuation mistakes, capital letter mistakes and ensuring that the letter makes sense and reads well.

QUESTION

You are writing to an old family friend to ask him/her to attend your birthday party.

Write a letter to invite your friend and be sure to:

  • Tell your friend about the party you are having for your birthday
  • Explain how important it is for you that he/she attends
  • Suggest that your friend can stay at the hotel next to the venue during the visit

MODEL ANSWER

Hi Sam,

How is everything with you and the family?

I wanted to drop you a line to let you know about the party I am having next month for my 40th birthday.

As it is a milestone birthday, I decided to do something a bit different. I’m renting out an entire sports hall where we will play bubble football! Have you ever tried it before? I did it once at a work team building event and I thought it’s be so fun doing it with all of my closest friends. There’ll be a selection of food and drinks there too – don’t worry, I’ll make sure we have some of your favourite hamburgers!

There’s a great hotel located next to the sports centre. In fact, its only a five minute walk between there and the party venue, so I’d recommend that you book there. It also has a restaurant that serves a great breakfast. You might be grateful of that the morning after!

It would mean the world to me if you are able to attend. You’re my oldest friend in the world and it really wouldn’t be the same without you there.

Let me know as soon as possible.

Katie

Word count: 202 words

Writing Task 1: General Path: Write a Letter

In the IELTS Writing Task 1 for General Path, you will always be asked to write a letter. You will have approximately 20 minutes to complete this task and it is recommended that you spend no longer than that on this section, otherwise you are compromising valuable marks in Task 2.

You must write a letter of over 150 words for this task. Examiners will be looking for task achievement, coherence and cohesion, vocabulary and grammar when marking the test. Each of these areas contain an equal weighting of 25% of the overall score.

The letter will generally be specified as formal or informal. Therefore, you must carefully consider the style of writing and the type of language required before you start writing.

In the test, you will be given the task and three bullet points that will specify content that must be included in the letter. This will help you to plan and structure the letter. You must ensure you cover these points, otherwise you will lose marks.

It is advised that you take time to both plan and edit you work. Practise structuring your time on this task in the following way:

3 minutes: Planning

14 minutes: Writing

3 minutes: Editing

Planning for Task 1

As mentioned above, there are three main points you will need to cover in this letter. Therefore, I recommend that you plan for a 3 paragraph letter, with each paragraph covering on of these points. When writing the plan, also consider and note down clearly whether it is a formal or informal letter so that you have this in mind from the start.

For example:

Task

You recently visited your friend’s house for dinner one evening. Write a letter to your friend. In your letter you should:

  • Thank your friend for the dinner
  • Tell them what you enjoyed most about the evening
  • Explain that you are sending photos of the evening with the letter

Plan

Style: Informal

Hi Ian,

Paragraph 1: Express thanks

Paragraph 2: Tell Ian I most enjoyed the prawn cocktail starter and the chocolate cheesecake dessert. Also: catching up.

Paragraph 3: Photos are enclosed.

Speak soon.

Katie

Editing in Task 1

Checking through your work after writing is hugely important in any writing tasks. Points will be deducted for mistakes in grammar and vocabulary, including spelling and punctuation mistakes. Once you have finished your letter, take the time to read it though slowly, carefully check for capital letters, correct punctuation and correct spelling. As you read, you also want to ensure that the letter makes sense and that you have included a good range of vocabulary.