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How to reach band score 7 in IELTS Writing Task 1

Do you know how to end a letter if it begins with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’? What about if you start the letter with the name of the person, e.g. ‘Dear Mrs Smith’?

  • Yours faithfully,

  • Yours sincerely,

If you need a band score 7 in IELTS General Training writing, it will help if you know the answers to these two questions as you may have to write a letter using one of them.

Read on to check the answers and to find out exactly what you need to do to get a band score 7 in IELTS General Training Writing Task 1.

IELTS General Training Writing Task 1

Let’s start by looking at what IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 is. In IELTS General Training Writing Task 1, you’ll be given a situation and asked to write a letter of at least 150 words requesting information or explaining a situation.

The letter may need to be more formal in style (serious and official), informal in style (relaxed and friendly) or somewhere in between.

This is important to know because you don’t want to spend all your preparation time writing formal letters only to find in your General Training test that you have to write an informal letter!

The way to decide whether the letter needs to be more formal or informal in style is to think about who the letter is to and what it’s about. For example, if the letter is to someone you don’t know and to complain about a situation, then it needs to be formal.

There’s also a clue in the task!

  • If it tells you to start your letter with ‘Dear Sir or Madam,’, you need to write a more formal letter.

  • If it tells you to write a letter to a friend and start your letter with ‘Dear …… ,’, you need to write an informal letter or a letter that’s neither too formal or too informal.

IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 example question

So, now you know what kind of letter you may have to write, let’s take a look at an example task and a band score 7 answer.

The following task from IELTS 13 General Training asks you to write a letter explaining a situation.

As you can see, the task asks you to…

  • write a letter to a manager of a hotel (someone you don’t know)

  • about something important (feedback from people who had a meeting at the hotel)

  • start your letter with ‘Dear Sir or Madam,’

So you need to write a formal letter.

As you’ll see below, to get a band score 7 for your writing, you’ll also need to include information relating to all three bullet points in the task!

IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 band score 7 example answer

The following is a band score 7 answer for the Writing Task 1 above from IELTS 13 General Training.

If you read the answer you’ll see that the writer writes a formal letter, making the purpose of the letter clear, explaining what the meeting participants liked and disliked about the hotel and suggesting what the manager should do.

(Click to enlarge)

The following features make the letter formal:

  • the opening ‘Dear Sir or Madam,’ and closing ‘Faithfully yours,’ (more commonly ‘Yours faithfully,’)

  • the avoidance of contractions, e.g. ‘I am writing...’ (not I’m writing…)

  • the use of more formal vocabulary, e.g. ‘dissatisfied’ (rather than ‘unhappy’) and ‘abdominal pain’ (rather than ‘stomach ache’)

  • the polite request ‘We would appreciate it if you...’

Other reasons this answer got a band score 7 are:

  • the purpose of the letter is clear

  • information is clearly organised

  • there is a range of linking words/phrases, e.g. ‘as well as’, ‘however’, ‘in spite of’ and ‘though’

  • there are examples of collocation (words used together in a natural way), e.g. ‘dissatisfied with’, ‘hotel amenities’ and ‘negative feedback’

  • there are different kinds of grammatical structures, e.g. ‘...reported being dissatisfied with...’ and ‘...though not leading to any serious problems.’

  • there are only a few errors in spelling and grammar

I hope you noticed too that the writer didn’t include any addresses at the top of their letter. It isn’t necessary to include addresses at the top and, if you do, they won’t count towards the 150 words and you’ll use up some of the limited time you have.

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