Category Archives: IELTS Writing General Training Task 1 (lessons)

Task 1 the basics (General Training) Page 2


Task 1 the basics (General Training) Page 2

Before starting this lesson, make sure you’ve seen page 1.

On the previous page, we have looked at the aims of Task 1, what you need to do and why you should avoid writing too few or too many words. On this page, we will look at what the examiner is looking for in your Task 1 answer.

Video 3/3

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The examiner is looking for your essay to demonstrate 4 different aspects in order to get a good result: task achievement (have you completed the task?), cohesion and coherence (does your answer make sense?), lexical resource (have you used academic vocabulary?) and grammatical range and accuracy (is your grammar correct and have you shown a number of different structures?).

First is whether you have completed the requirements of the Task. That is, have you written at least 150 words but not more than about 170? Also in this section, the examiner will be looking to see if you have given an accurate description of the graph. Transferring information incorrectly will lose marks. The second area the examiner will be looking at is whether what you have written actually makes sense. This means that when you plan and write your essay, you must have a logical presentation with ideas that are linked together.

You should also have a clear sentence and paragraph structure. For lexical resource, you are being judged on whether the vocabulary you use is accurate and academic. You should avoid repeating vocabulary – especially using words taken from the question title. The final area you are being marked on is your grammar – again, you should use an academic level of grammar and avoid repeating grammar structures. In this IELTS writing course, you will have plenty of practice in order to improve your skills in all of these areas.


Now check your understanding by answering the following questions.

Which of these four marking criteria would the aspects below be related to?

Task achievement
Coherence and cohesion
Grammatical range and accuracy
Lexical resource

Linking your ideas

Show answer

How you link your ideas will be assessed under ‘Coherence and cohesion’.

Avoiding using words from the question

Show answer

Avoiding using words from the question will improve your result for ‘lexical resource’.

Using a variety of different grammar structures

Show answer

That one was easy! Using a variety of different grammar structures will improve your result for ‘Grammatical range and accuracy’.

Writing at least 150 words

Show answer

Writing at least 150 words is essential for getting a good result under ‘Task Achievement’.

Task 1 the basics (General Training)

Task 1 the basics (General Training)

Before you begin this lesson, you will need to know the meaning of the words below as they are part of the lesson.

INSTRUCTIONS: What you have to do. For example: His instructions were to deliver the package to Mr Jones.

ACADEMIC: (adjective) Something or someone showing a high level of education. Example: ‘University students have to write in an academic style’.

TRANSFER: (verb) To move from one place to another or from one type to another. Example: ‘In the IELTS reading test, candidates have to complete the test and transfer their answer to the answer paper in 60 minutes’.

AIM: (verb) To direct towards a particular goal or target. For example: ‘I am aiming to get a 7.5 on my IELTS test’

CATEGORY: (noun) A division or class of something. For example: There are several categories of cars – family cars, sports cars, 4 wheel drives…

LOGICAL: (adjective) Makes sense, is reasonable. Example: ‘It is important to take a logical approach to the IELTS exam’.(adverb: logically)

LIMIT: (noun) A top or bottom point. For example: If you drink three bottles of beer, you are over the limit to be able to drive.

ERROR: (noun) A mistake. Example: ‘There are a number of common errors made by IELTS candidates’.

DEMONSTRATE: (verb) To show. Example: ‘It is important to demonstrate a range of accurate grammar in your IELTS essay’.

COHESION: (noun) Joining ideas together. Example: ‘A good essay will be easy to understand because of its cohesion’

COHERENCE: (noun) Able to be understood. Example: ‘An essay needs to show coherence; that is, a logical flow of ideas’.

LEXICAL: (adjective) Talking about vocabulary (words). For example: ‘He has a good lexical ability – he knows a lot of words’.

Video 1 of 3

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An introduction to Task I writing for the General Training test. The aim of Task 1 in the General Training test is to write a letter in response to a problem or situation. The letter may need to be written formally, semi formally or informally. In the test you may have to show an ability to use the following types of language.

Video 2 of 3

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Each task one type has the same set of instructions. The first instruction is that you should spend about twenty minutes on this task. You only have one hour to complete both task I and task II, so it is important that you do not spend more than about 20 minutes on Task I. The second instruction is that you should write at least 150 words.

Writing anything over 170 words can actually reduce your final result as you are more likely to make errors and not have enough time to complete task II. The final instruction is that you do not need to write any addresses – you should just start your letter with ‘Dear…’. The question itself will give background to the situation. You will also be given three bullet points that you will need to refer to in your answer.

Now go to page 2 for this lesson to see the next video and answer some questions.

Facts about the IELTS writing test

Facts about the IELTS writing test

Facts about the IELTS writing testHere’s a collection of some of the most common questions we are asked about the IELTS writing test. If your have a question that isn’t answered here, post it in the comments section at the bottom of the page and we’ll add it to the page with an answer.

Q: Do I write in pen or pencil during the test?

Most exam centres now only allow candidates to write with a pencil.

Q: Can I bring my own writing equipment?

No – you will not be allowed into the test room with your own pen, pencil or eraser.

Q: What should I do if I make a mistake?

Just put a single line through the word or words you want to remove and then continue writing. Don’t waste time with trying to erase anything.

Q: What does the IELTS writing answer sheet look like?

Click a thumbnail below to see a larger image of the writing test answer pages (note that these pages are white, but recent changes in the test mean that you could also have yellow, blue or green pages).

Q: What if I need more paper?

No problem – simply raise your hand until the invigilator approaches, then request more paper. There is no limit to the amount of paper you request, but ALL pages will be collected at the end of the test, even if they were only used for making notes (see below).

Q: Can I get any paper for writing notes / preparing a plan?

Yes, but all the paper you are given is collected and given to the examiner when they are marking your work. We recommend writing your plan or making any notes on the question paper, not the answer sheet. Although the question paper is also collected at the end of the test, it is not submitted to the examiner.

Q: So what counts as a ‘word’ in the writing test?

Take a look at this page:

Q: My handwriting is not very good. Will I lose points?

Your writing would have to illegible (can’t be read) before you lose points, but if you are concerned then get in the habit of writing in print (single letters) instead of cursive (joined letters).

Q: Can I write all of my test in CAPITAL LETTERS?

Surprisingly, yes! We recommend it as it avoids you needing to worry about capitalisation of particular words. For confirmation of this, take a look at the official IELTS website here:

Got a question we haven’t answered? Post it below!

Ending a Task 1 letter

Ending a Task 1 letter

How you end a Task 1 letter depends on whether it was written in a formal, semi-formal or informal style. First, let’s briefly review formal, semi-formal and formal Task 1 examples.

Ending a Task 1 letterFormal: writing a job application letter, making a complaint to a company
Semi-formal: writing a letter to your teacher, booking a hotel room
Informal: writing to a friend or neighbour

Now let’s look at how the different levels of formality (register) determine the ending of the letter.

Ending a formal letter

Most formal letters end with either ‘Yours sincerely’ or ‘Yours faithfully’. Make sure you use the correct one! You should use ‘Yours sincerely’ if you have written the name of the person you are writing to, and yours faithfully if you didn’t use a name. To illustrate:

‘Dear Mr Smith’ > ends with > ‘Yours sincerely’

‘Dear Sir or Madam’ > ends with > ‘Yours faithfully’


Ending a semi formal letter

Semi-formal letters often in a shorter phrase or even a single word. For example ‘With thanks’ or just ‘Thanks’.


Ending an informal letter

The ending of informal letters often depends on the topic of the letter. For example, if you were writing to a friend who is coming to visit you soon, you could say this:

Anyway, looking forward to seeing you!


Or if the letter was about thanking a friend for something they did for you, you could say

Well, thanks again for your help,