The Writing Task1 of the IELTS General Training Test is pretty simple compared to the Task1 of the Academic Writing Test. For the General Training Task 1, you would be given a topic, in the form of a problem or a crisis, and you would have to write a letter in response to that in not less than 150 words. Actually, you would have to show your English writing skill through ‘Reporting a problem/Asking for help/Explaining how to solve an issue, etc.
Though it sounds simple, it does not mean that you won’t need to practice or you won’t need to learn how to score high by following proper ways to write a ‘Genuinely’ good letter meeting the IELTS Standard. You should also keep in mind that you should not take more than 20 minutes because you would need at least 40 minutes time to complete the Task 2.
Your marks would be given depending on how expertly you handle the four criteria, which are:-
1) Task Achievement: Through ‘Task Achievement’ your expertise in responding and performing the given task following every single bit of instruction is measured and marks are given accordingly.
2) Cohesion (It indicates the togetherness of your writing) and Coherence (Logical and Sequential Interconnection): These two words are interrelated and used together. Let’s cite how the lack of ‘Cohesion and a Coherence’ destroys the meaning of a sentence. Follow the example: “I jumped into the deep lake because I didn’t know swimming.” Does it make sense? Do the idea and content flow logically?
If, Instead, we alter the sentence as: “I jumped into the deep lake, though I didn’t know swimming”, now it makes sense. In the first sentence, there was an error of cohesion and coherence. The funny thing is that, If you don’t commit any mistake in ‘Cohesion and Coherence’ in a sentence, it would go unnoticed and you won’t get any extra credit for that, but if you make a mistake you would be penalized.
3) Lexical Resource: In simple words, it indicates the depth of your vocabulary, which would bring 25% of your marks. The wider the range of your vocabulary, the better for your score. Your writing should have a natural flow, unnecessary showcasing of your vocabulary by using strange/very uncommon words would interrupt the natural flow of your writing and thus impact your writing negatively. So you have to use your vocabulary wisely and appropriately.
4) Grammatical accuracy: Grammatical Accuracy is a prime need for your success. If you want to achieve a ‘High Band Score’, apart from being accurate in grammar, you would have to exhibit your grammatical knowledge skillfully. The range of your grammar needs to impress the examiners and thus enable you to score higher.
Important: Write the letter or report, breaking into paragraphs. Often, students/candidates continue writing using no paragraph at all. You should know that doing this would have a negative impact on your score. Both ‘Paraphrasing’ and ‘Paragraphing’ are important for your score. Now let me present a letter written in three different ways: The first one is a bad example, that would bring poor marks (Lower Band). The Second one is an example of a mediocre performance and the Third one is a good example, which would enable you to Score Higher Band.
Sample Letter 1: General Training Writing Test Sample Task1: You should not spend more than 20 minutes for completing the task.
You live in a ‘College Hostel’ and you share your room with another student, who is alcoholic and causes a lot of turmoil by playing music at high volume, dancing and shouting with drunk friends.
Write a letter to the ‘Hostel Super’, requesting him to allow you to share a room with your friend who is sober and gentle.
You should write in not less than 20 minutes for the task. Now see the letters and read the explanations provided:
Bad example first:
I am living in a horrible situation. My room No: is 210. My roommate drinks and plays loud music in the night creates a lot of noise disturbing my study and sleep. So, I want to shift to Room No: 212, and share my room with my friend Sanjib. I am too annoyed with the problem. Take immediate steps so that I can change my room. Don’t waste time in the proceedings, I am running out of patience.
How much can you expect from writing such a letter? Band 2 or Band 3, definitely not more than that, but might be lower than that.
Let me explain why: Firstly, Rahul has shown a total noncompliance with the instructions. He has completed writing in just 83 words, which is far below the instructed word limit. Read the letter, minutely and I am sure that a few questions would appear in your mind – ‘Is it a request or an order?’, ‘Is this a formal letter at all?’. In fact, however angry Rahul is, he should have written to the ‘Hostel Super’, humbly and explaining his problem properly. The tone of the letter expresses a total disregard to the ‘Super’ and shows the arrogance of Rahul. So, no way an examiner would provide good marks for this.
Now let me cite an average example, showing how to write the letter in a proper way and Score Band 6 or higher.
With due respect, I want to convey you a grave problem that I have been facing for the last few weeks. Few boys of the ‘College Hostel’ and Dipak (my roommate) are making my life miserable. Dipak and his friends drink alcohol regularly and then shout, dance, play loud music in the room after 10 pm. Neither I can study, nor I can sleep during the night. I requested them to stop doing all these inside the hostel. In reply, they have threatened me, saying, “Just keep your mouth shut, or we’ll break your bones into pieces.”
Hence, I am requesting you, please allow me to shift to room no:212, and share the room with Sanjib, a good friend of mine and a real gentle boy. With a hope that, you understand the problem and expecting you to take a step at your soonest.
What do we see in the above letter?
Let me explain from the examiner’s point of view:
Rahul has addressed the ‘College Hostel Super’ with due respect. He has completed his writing in 153 words, that means he has obeyed the minimum word threshold of 150 words. Rahul has portrayed the problems he has been facing in minute details maintaining ‘Cohesion and Coherence’. Though his ‘Lexical Resource’ is not appreciable enough, but in ‘Task Achievement’ he should get 10 on 10. No grammatical/spelling mistakes are there and the writing is nice and simple. So, he can hope to secure at least Band 7.
Note: If you want to get a Score of Band 8 or 8+, your ‘Lexical Resource’ and ‘Grammatical Skill’ should be more impressive. Let me have a try to make it more impressive.
With due honor, I wish to bring an extremely serious issue to your kind notice. I am a student of your college and I stay in the College Hostel at Room No:210. Sir, for the last few weeks I have been experiencing a dreadful situation. Could I have gathered enough courage I would have reported it much earlier.
My roommate Dipak with his friends, drink alcohol, play loud music, shout and dance in the room almost every night after 10 pm, precisely they have made my life a hell hole. I can neither sleep nor study during the night. I requested them to stop doing all these inside the hostel. But, in reply, they have threatened me to break my bones into pieces if I dare to lodge any complaint against them. I am very much scared and frightened.
Therefore, I request you, sir, kindly allow me to shift to Room No:212, and share the room with my friend Sanjib. He is a very gentle boy and ready to accommodate me in his room. If you please initiate an urgent step, I shall be highly obliged. Thanking you,
With Best Regards,
How is the letter from the Examiner’s point of view?: In this letter, the student has to get full marks in Task Achievement. He has performed his task with absolute perfection. In the letter, he has shown due respect to the ‘College hostel Super’, which is desired by a student. There is no error of ‘Cohesion and Coherence’. What he is supposed to write he has written thoroughly exhibiting a perfect example of ‘Cohesion and Coherence’. His ‘Lexical Resource’ is good enough, the choice of words and application of them is appreciable. He has also maintained ‘First line Indentation’ while starting each paragraph, which follows the format of writing official letters. Rahul has broken the letter in paragraphs, perfectly and logically. He has completed writing in 194 words, writing a few words more doesn’t matter, as long as it fits the context.
He has maintained the flow of the letter nicely. His overall execution of composing the letter is perfect, so he deserves getting a High Band Score. Hopefully, the examiner would reward him with a Band Score 8 or 8+.
So, you have got an explanation with ‘Sample Proofs’, the difference between, Bad – Good – Very Good. Now see that, ‘Rahul’ has written the letter in complete formal language, which is absolutely befitting the need of the topic. The tone of the letter should comply with whom are you writing and for what you are writing.
You are supposed to write a letter to the ‘Principal of a college’, using formal English and a very humble tone. But when you are writing a letter to a friend, you are not supposed to write in the same tone and same formal language at all.
Depending on, what are you writing in your letter and whom it is being addressed, you might use a combination of words, like:
While writing a letter seeking for help or consent of a person:
I shall be highly obliged if you please…..
I need your advice before proceeding further…
I am looking for your ..
Would you please send me your ..
While writing a letter complaining about some undesired incident (Writing to some authority):
I can’t but express my deep dissatisfaction about all the ongoing……..
I just can’t suppress my anger anymore and I want to intimate you……
Please, let me know what are the steps you have thought about taking………………
While you are writing a letter thanking someone or expressing your gratitude to someone you should start like:
I would like to thank you a lot for the…….
I shall be really grateful for…..
I can’t express in words, how to thank you for all the help………
While you are writing a letter apologizing to someone for some reasons, you should start like:
Please accept my sincere apology for the ……………
I am extremely sorry and I apologize on behalf of my employee……..
Would you please forgive me/ or my representative for the awkward incident…..
While you are writing a letter appreciating some action of somebody, you should start like:
At first, I must appreciate you for your wonderful service ……………
I am in all praise of your wonderful performance…………
I admire you for your sincere effort that led you to achieve such a great ..
While you are lodging a complaint, try to write it with a little bit of politeness, don’t burst into anger and don’t forget that official letters should adhere with official decorum. The examiner certainly wouldn’t like your aggressive writing, because doing that is disobeying the instruction of writing in the formal language.
Write in a way informing that you are very angry, but suppress your anger as you cannot insult the authority or a representative of the authority. Make your letter look like a ‘Real Life Written’ Communications’.
Whether you are asking for help or lodging a complaint or apologizing or giving some instructions to somebody, the introductory statement of the letter should comply with that. Often students or candidates take the Task1 very lightly and don’t practice enough, this is a big mistake. If one manages to score high in the Task1, it would become beneficial for his overall score, as the ‘Band Score’ is always an average of ‘Marks Secured’ in all types of tests.
For example: if you get a band score 8 in writing Task1 and Band Score 6 in writing Task 2, your Band Score in writing would be (8+6)/2 or Band Score 7. But if you score 6 in writing Task1 and you score 6 in writing task 2, your average Band Score would be (6+6)/2 or Band Score 6.
Just keep it clear in your mind and don’t ignore any section of any part of the total four types of tests. Though the GT Task1 is easier if you compare with Academic Writing Task1, but it does not mean that for the GT Task1 you do not need any preparation. In both the cases you should work hard to achieve a Band Score 6+ and should work harder to achieve Band Score 8 or 8+.
You need to know and work on every minute detail of all the tests and it is always better to have the help of a ‘Professional Coaching center’ or a ‘Genuinely Good Teacher’ reputed and specialized for teaching the ‘IELTS’ students