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

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.


  • 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.


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


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

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