IELTS General: Writing Task 1 – 14 Top Tips!

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I’ve trained thousands of students for success on their IELTS exam by using these 14 tips! Now it’s your turn. You’ll learn what you MUST do to get the highest score on your IELTS General Writing Task 1. Find out how to easily identify the type and purpose of each letter, and how to start and end your letter perfectly. Learn to save time and effort by using standard expressions. Understand the scoring criteria, so you know exactly what to do and what NOT to do. Visit for a free guide to the IELTS, and download my free resource at with sample letters, sample topics, key expressions, tips, and much more. Good luck!

Take the quiz on this lesson:


Hi. I’m Rebecca from engVid. If you need to do the IELTS general exam, I’m sure it’s for a very important reason. Perhaps you’re trying to immigrate to another country, or get admission to a college program, or join a professional training program. Whatever your reason, I know you want to get the highest marks possible. Right? Of course. So I’m going to help you to do exactly that in one particular area of the exam, and that’s in your writing section. Now, in the writing section there are two parts, one is a letter and one is an essay. In this lesson we will focus on how you can get the highest marks possible in the letter-writing section. Okay? The 14 tips that I’m going to give you I promise you, if you apply each one of these things, step by step you’re going to get more and more marks. Okay? So stick with me and we will go through them. Let’s get started.

So, the first thing you have to identify when you read the letter-writing task is: What type of letter am I being asked to write? Is it a formal letter, is it a semi-formal letter, or is it an informal letter? Well, how do you know that? Well, you can know it in a few ways and I’m going to explain them, but one of the ways that you can know it is to look at the second point that you need to understand, is to identify the purpose of the letter because some purposes are more formal than other purposes. All right? For example, some formal letters might ask you to request information; or apply for a job; or complain about a product or a service, maybe to an airline, maybe to a store, something like that; or to make a suggestion or a recommendation. All right? To a shopping mall, to a restaurant, something like that. These are more formal situations. These are when we are writing to people or companies that we don’t know. All right? That’s the clue: You don’t have anybody’s name, you just have the name of the company.

All right. Semi-formal letters might include things like this: Complaining to a landlord; or explaining something, a problem or a situation to a neighbour; or asking a professor for permission to miss an exam or to submit your assignment late. Whatever it is. Okay? The details vary. Doesn’t matter. And here, what’s…? What identifies the semi-formal? The semi-formal we know it’s still a kind of a formal situation, but here we usually do know somebody’s name. You would know the name of your landlord, or your professor, or your neighbour, for example. Right? So that means something in terms of the way that you write the letter, the language, the tone, the style. All of this is affected by whether it’s formal, semi-formal, or informal. And I’ll explain more to you as we go along.

Now, examples of informal letters might be where you’re being asked to invite a friend, or thank a friend, or apologize to a friend, or ask for advice from someone that you know. Okay? Here what’s important is that you really know this person well and you’re probably going to call them by first name. So I’m going to explain exactly how all of this translates into the next step, which is how you begin your letter.

So the first step was to identify the type of letter. Second step, the purpose. Now the third step is to open and close the letter correctly. Once you’ve done steps one and two, you will know how to do this step. Because if it’s a formal letter then you start with: “Dear Sir” or “Madam”, and you end with: “Yours faithfully”. Okay? That’s how it is. If it’s a semi-formal letter, you will start with something like: “Dear Mr. Brown” or “Dear Ms. Stone” or “Mrs. Stone”. “Ms.” Is when you don’t know if a woman is married or not, or if she’s just a modern woman. And you end the semi-formal letter with something like: “Yours sincerely”. Okay? What we’re trying to do is to match up the formality of the situation with these terms that we’re using. Okay? The opening and closing salutations they’re called, these are called. All right? Next is the informal one.


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40 thoughts on “IELTS General: Writing Task 1 – 14 Top Tips!

  1. Want to increase your IELTS score? Check out my course, "Correct Your English Errors in 10 Minutes a Day". You will correct 150+ speaking and writing mistakes that can lower your IELTS score. Here's the link: . As always, I wish you all the best!

  2. After watching your video I got confidence on letter writing. Thank you but I always scared about listening and reading tests. Please do help me😕😕😕

  3. Hello Miss Rebecca , you are a perfect teacher who can make anyone learn in a perfect way. I know few things but the way you respond of every thing in the video have made he understood it very well .Thank you very much .

  4. Thank you very much for your video ma'am. I am planning to take IELTS. I get some ideas I hope you continue gives some tips for a newbie like me.

  5. You are definitely one of the best IELTS teacher. This is an amazing IELTS class that you gave us for free. Congratulations. You have a very special gift on teaching.

  6. Hi,Ma'am Rebecca! What punctuation mark should we use after opening letter-for formal,semi-formal and informal? Thank you.

  7. Very informative and to the point explanation. Thank you for such detailed information and great specifics about writing different types of letters.

  8. I have a question for the formal letter you have used I'd be grateful if you could…… but I have learned that we cannot use contractions in the formal letters.

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