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General Training Task 1
This lesson is for General Training students only. We’re going to look at the General Training writing exam in Task 1. In this task, you will write a letter. And so, let’s look at how to do this task really well. First, some background on Task 1, for the General Training IELTS. You’re going to write a letter following a prompt.
The prompt will tell you who the letter is for, what information needs to be included in the letter, and the basic topic of the letter. It’s worth 1/3 of your writing score. So it’s recommended that you spend no more than 20 minutes on this task. You’ll need to write 150 words minimum for this task. The topics vary widely on Task 1.
You can expect things like this. Maybe you’ll get an assignment to request information from an employee at a company, or complain about something, maybe to an administrator at a school. You may need to write a letter thanking a friend for helping you or apologizing for something. There are many possibilities for topics on Task 1.
In general, the letter topics can be categorized in two ways. Some are formal and some are informal. You can imagine these first two topics are more formal. And if you’re writing a letter to a friend or apologizing to a friend, that would be more informal. And that makes a difference in some of the language you will use to write these letters.
For example, to begin a formal letter you would say something like this, Dear Sir or Dear Madam. Or you could say Dear Mr. Smith. Or if you’re writing to a woman you could says Dear Mrs. Smith,if you are writing an informal letter, you’re going to write maybe just the person’s first name. So you say Dear Betty or Dear Mike or whoever you’re writing to.
To close a formal letter, you can end with a word like Sincerely, and then you put your full name. For an informal letter, you might say something like Best Wishes, and then just write your first name, because that’s an informal thing to do. Okay, now luckily, on the IELTS Task 1, they almost always tell you how to begin the letter.
They’ll say begin your letter with Dear Sir or Dear Madam. Okay, that’s helpful. It’s good to have a plan for your formal and informal letters. At the bottom, a good way to end any formal letter is Sincerely, and then your full name. And an informal letter, I like to end them with Best Wishes and just your first name.
Okay, here’s a sample prompt for a Task 1 writing assignment. They always start at the top suggesting that you spend only 20 minutes on the task. Then, they give you the basic topic of the task you’re supposed to write about. So, in this one, there have been some problems with trash removal in your town. That’s the basic topic of the letter you’re going to write.
And then they instruct you on who you need to write it to. Write the letter to the public official in charge of waste management in your letter. Okay, we don’t know the name of the person that we’re writing to. It’s just an official. Okay, so that means we’re probably going to be writing a more formal letter. Then, below that, they tell you the details you need to include in your letter.
In a moment, we’ll see how you are supposed to write about these details. At the bottom of your prompt, they always tell you to write at least 150 words, that you do not need to write any addresses, okay? So this means you don’t need to imagine the street address to the person you’re writing to. You don’t know it.
They don’t give that to you in this task. Don’t worry about it. Even though in real life, that’s part of a letter, on these IELTS letters, you don’t need to write an address. Here at the bottom, you can expect, and it’s nice when they do this, they almost always do this, they tell you how to begin the letter.
So they say Dear Sir, begin your letter Dear Sir or Madam. So that will be the way you begin your letter as you write it for this task. Here we have a chart showing you how to organize your letter. This looks complicated but actually it’s very simple. And you can do this with every IELTS Task 1 letter that you need to write. In this lesson, I’m going to just show you a basic outline to the letter that you might write.
And then, below the screen, you can see the full letter written out. So we’ll just cover the outline form here. Okay, so at the top of your letter, you’re going to begin with a greeting. We already know our greeting from the prompt. We’re supposed to start with Dear Sir or Madam. So, that will go at the top of your letter.
Then, you have to do some kind of opening to the letter. For your opening you should say who you are and why you are writing. That information you get on your prompt. The topic of your letter is here. And so, that is what you need to paraphrase for your self introduction and the reason why you’re writing.
So a good self introduction might look something like this. I am a lifelong resident of, and then just make up a town. We don’t know the town from the prompt, so you can just make it up, or you can say this town or your town. That would be good. I’m writing to express my concerns about the city’s growing garbage problems.
There’s a nice paraphrase of the topic from the prompt. And to offer some suggestions to improve the situation. Okay, so here, we’ve given the reason why we are writing the letter in our first short paragraph at the top of the letter. Then, all you need to do is go through he bullet points on the prompt And, that would be the topic for each small paragraph, in the middle of your letter.
The first bullet points told us to describe the problems related to the situation. If you remember from your prompt, it’s right here here, okay? So some ideas in your letter you could write about, maybe the garbage truck does not pick up refuse on schedule. Or maybe litter is building up in the alleyways and streets.
You have to imagine these things. They’re not provided for you on the prompt. You just need to come up with something that would make sense for this letter. So we’ll do that here. Those are the problems we’ve described. For the second bullet point then, the prompt tells us to explain how these problems have impacted the neighborhood.
Here it is on the prompt. Again, we just need to make these up. We have to think of something that would make sense in this situation. So how about some ideas here? We could say something like the rodent population has increased. Now, there are a lot of rats and mice in the neighborhood.
Or maybe the problem is the messy environment encourages people to throw trash in the wrong places. So it really makes removal very difficult. You could include one of these ideas or both of them, depending on how much you have to say about it. All right, then for the third bullet point, you just suggest some solutions.
All right, that’s our third bullet point here. So how about two solutions. Two is a good number of solutions when they request solutions from you. How about organizing a community event to clean up the neighborhood and educating residents about garbage regulations? Or maybe, they could hire more people to remove the trash from the neighborhood.
Okay, these are just ideas, brainstorming. But as you can see, these letters really do organize themselves, cuz all you need to do is follow the suggested topics for each small body paragraph in the middle. Then, at the end, you just need to make a concluding statement, okay? The concluding statement could look something like this.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I hope you will consider these proposals and work with the community to help improve the growing trash problem. All right, see how in the concluding statement you just kind of restate the purpose of the letter. And since we gave some proposals to this administrator, we are reminding him and thanking him for his attention to those proposals.
Really, it’s just kind of summarizing what we said in the letter. At the end, you need to close the letter. And there are some options here for you. Since this is a formal letter, we’ll probably want to do something like this. End it saying Sincerely. Or, Yours faithfully is another formal close.
And then, you should give your full name, as we discussed earlier. If this had been a less formal letter, maybe you wrote to a friend and not to a public city official, you could add something like this, Best Wishes and your first name. Or a very informal way to end a letter is Take care and just your first name. So to review, General Training Task 1 is a letter that needs to be at least 150 words long.
You should pay attention to the style whether it’s formal or informal. And you just need to organize your letter by covering ALL the points from the prompt. Follow the prompt as a guide for organizing your letter in the way we showed you in this lesson. Now again, we just looked at some brainstorming ideas for each section of the letter.
Look below this lesson to see the actual letter written out as an example.
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