What is IELTS?
IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System. IELTS is the most popular form of test where you are evaluated in English proficiency.
It is planned for those people who want to settle or study abroad in an English-speaking country. There are two different kinds of IELTS test:
Academic IELTS is for international students who want to study at a university or complete their studies in higher institutions.
General IELTS classes emphasize English basic skills, language, intended for those who are planning to migrate to English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The result of IELTS is valid for two years.
IELTS is an internationally approved system for assessing English language abilities in four sections. In these four modules, the individual’s abilities are evaluated and judged. These include:
Here we are going to discuss writing.
In IELTS General Training, two tasks are given to the candidate. The candidate is given one hour to complete these two tasks. The first task is the letter and the second task is an essay. The letter must comprise 150 words. IELTS suggests spending only 20 minutes on task 1. Task 1 which is the letter is 33% of your total writing marks. You will be judged on:
- Task Achievement (25%)
- Coherence and Cohesion (25%)
- Vocabulary (25%)
- Grammar (25%)
Types of Letters
Three types of letters can be asked. These are formal, semi-formal and informal. All of these letters must have a different tone while writing. It is important to know the difference between them:
Formal letters are those where you are writing to the company or organization and do not know the name of the person you are writing to. Examples include bank, university etc. The most common examples of formal letters are complaints, resignations, applications etc.
Tips for Writing Formal Letter
- For formal letters, the greetings must start like ‘Dear Sir/Madam.’
- Letters should end like ‘Yours faithfully’
- Write your family name with your first name, like Peter Brown.
- The style of the letter is formal. It must show politeness.
You write semi-formal letters when you know the other person by name. You can have a business or professional relationship with the person. It is the person you may know but he/she is not close to you. For instance, teachers, managers, neighbours, colleagues. Example of semi-formal letters is invitations, apology, explanations etc.
Tips for writing a Semi-formal letter
- Start the letter with greetings like ‘Dear John’
- End the letter with ‘Yours sincerely’, avoid writing ‘Yours truly’
- Write family name with your name like Peter Brown
- The tone of the letter should be polite. You can use some phrases that show informal.
Informal letters are those written to family members or friends that are close to you. They are written to discuss a personal situation. The most common examples of personal letters are apology, explanations. Semi-formal letters can be an informal one.
Tips for writing Informal Letter
- You can start the letters by greeting like ‘My dear friend’
- End the letters with ‘Take Care, All the best, See you soon etc
- There is no need to write your family name, just write ‘Peter’.
- The style of this letter must be informal. Academic writing must be avoided.
Points to Remember In IELTS General Writing Task 1
The following points must be kept in mind to get a good score in letter writing:
Identify the main idea
The first and foremost thing is to find the main purpose of the letter. Is it an apology or an invitation, a request or an application? If you are successful in finding the purpose in the question asked, then you will be able to decide which type of letter you have to write. Set the tone of the letter accordingly.
Use Standard Phrases
The candidate finds it hard to complete the writing task on time. It happens because the candidate is writing everything in detail. The solution is to use Standard English phrases and put them in sentences for effective communication. It will help to save time. By learning about these English phrases, the letter-writing task can become easy.
Write 150 words
The best way is to practise before the actual test. It will help to know what 150 words look like in the letter. You will lose if you are unable to write 150 words.
Use Correct Spellings
Another way to lose marks is to write the incorrect spellings of commonly used words in English. Sometimes you will be surprised to see that you are writing the spellings wrong with very common words. If you learn the correct spellings, then that can help to prevent losing marks.
Remain on Topic
It is important to stay on the topic. Give reasons and viewpoints by sticking to the topic. In this way, you will be able to complete the task in 20 minutes. You can make a body of the letter with reasoning but do not move away from the topic.
Include all the Bulleted Points
You must include all the points they have given on the asked questions. If you include even one point you will lose marks. Practice writing letters that must include all the points and go back and check to confirm.
Grammar and Vocabulary
The grammar in the formal letter must be formal. In a formal letter, you must write like ‘ I am writing this letter with regard to…’. In a semi-formal letter, you can write ‘I am writing this letter about…’. In an informal letter, you must write like ‘I want to say…’
The usage of vocabulary in formal and informal letters must be different. The vocabulary should be composed in formal letters. No slang or informal vocabulary should be used in formal letters.
Letter writing is a simple task. You can get a good score if the letter is well written. All types of letters contain greeting, reason, explanation, request, closing and signing off. The above-mentioned tips will help you write a good letter in IELTS General Training.