IELTS Writing General Task 1

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Whether you’re taking the IELTS academic or general exam, writing task 1 is the first section of the IELTS writing task. Our website contains numerous online resources to help you prepare for this part of your IELTS exam, with different IELTS vocabulary, writing exercises and task 1 sample essays.

It is important that you focus your preparation on the right information so that you’re able to write a well-structured letter for your task 1 exam.

Important information about IELTS General Writing Task 1

  • General writing task 1 takes the form of a letter. Here candidates are asked to respond to a complaint, request information or explain a certain situation.
  • You should spend no more than 20 mins on this test and you should write at least 150 words.
  • Task 1 forms 33% of your total writing mark
  • There are four marking criteria that you will be assessed on:
    • Grammar - 25%
    • Vocabulary - 25%
    • Task achievement - 25%
    • Coherence and cohesion - 25%
  • It is very important that candidates are able to express their ideas, provide general factual information and express opinions in this section of the exam.
  • To get the best possible band score for your GT writing task 1, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the possible types of letter for this task.

Two main different types of letters : 

  • Formal letter - This could be to complain about a product/service or provide an apology or apply for a job,
  • Informal letter - This type of question can require you to ask for advice, thank a colleague/friend or invite a friend to vacation with you. Remember that you should write at least 150 words.

Practising the various types of letters is important so that can understand what the right vocabulary, style and tone is for each kind of letter.

Preparation tips for IELTS General Writing Task 1 

  • Practice spending no more than 20 minutes on this task. If you practice enough beforehand, you’ll be able to stay within these limits during your exam.
  • Make sure that you always read the question thoroughly and understand what you need to do. 
  • The general task 1 normally comes with 3 bullets, requesting information, for example: “You moved to a new country and you want to write a letter to your former colleague.

In your letter, you should:

  • tell him/her where did you go and what you are doing there (job)
  • describe your feeling
  • invite your friend to come.”

Be sure that you have mentioned all three of these bullet points. The best is to write a paragraph about each of these to make sure that you have covered all the information.

  • Leave yourself some time at the end to check your paper so that you don’t lose any unnecessary points.
  • It is important to learn new IELTS vocabulary before your exam. Keep a notebook of new words, phrases and idioms that can help you improve your vocabulary score. Make that you know how to use these new words accurately, in the right context.
  • NEVER use shortened versions of a word like you would in a text.

Here we have some sample general task 1 essays and useful English phrases to use in your exam.


The following tutorials will help the IELTS candidate prepare for their general exam. This part of the exam differs from the academic section and you will be asked to write a letter instead of interpreting a graph.

We also have useful tutorials to help you prepare for the IELTS Academic: