Before getting into General Training writing task 1, try our fun, quick quiz to see how much you know about the IELTS Writing test.

Click on the links below for information on different aspects of General Training writing task 1. I hope these will answer your questions but, if they haven’t, you can contact Total-IELTS via email. Just click on the email link below. 

GT Writing: Sample Answers

The must-read page. Band 8.0 sample answers of formal and informal letters using real IELTS past papers.

Download the free PDF copies of each sample answer.

GT Writing: Information & Grading

Essential information on the GT writing task 1 task requirements.

How your answer is graded according to the public band descriptors.

GT Writing: Planning & Formal vs Informal

Strategies on how to plan with emphasis on how to organize your answer.

The importance of getting the style right and how it can impact on your band score

GT Writing: Purpose of the Letter

Learn how to state why you are writing the letter in the correct style.

The importance of getting the purpose right and how it can impact on your band score.

GT Writing: Bullet Points, Closing & Sign Off

Learn how to paraphrase and expand each bullet point.

How to write a formal and informal closing and sign off to your letter. 


  • Is it OK if I use a name after the Dear…?

         Yes it’s perfectly acceptable to use a name. Quite often the name of the recipient is included in the instructions.  In informal letters you can write, for example “Dear Jane”. In formal letters if you’re asked to write to someone, like the manager or supervisor, you can write “Dear Mr Jones or Sir / Miss Jones or Miss”. However, if you are writing to a company or organization, you should write “Dear Sir/Madam”

  • Is it better to write my answer in capitals or lower case?

      Writing in capitals is certainly easier for the examiner to read and there is no IELTS regulation that forbids capitals. However, if you write in caps, it’s impossible to assess your punctuation and it takes considerably longer than writing in lower case.

  • I heard that General Training writing task 1 is a lot easier than Academic task 1. How accurate is that?

          I guess it depends on how you define “easier”. GT writing task 1 has a lot of possible task types and you need to be careful when you decide what tone/style the letter needs to be in and consistent in your use of the appropriate grammar and vocabulary needed for the tone. Also, there is the purpose and the bullet points you need to include and making mistakes in those could mean a low band score in Task Achievement. 


  • Is it possible to combine 2 bullet points into 1 paragraph?

        Yes, it’s acceptable to do that but be careful not to combine all three into one paragraph or it’ll affect your Coherence and Cohesion score.

  • Would I be penalized if I wrote over 200 words in task 1?

       There is no “penalty” for writing above the required word count. However, it’s unnecessary to do so and eats up your time. Aim for 150 – 170 words. What you should be concerned about it being under length because there are penalties in the Task achievement criteria. Specifically, 110 – 139 words is minus 1 band and under 110 words is minus 2 bands in Task Achievement.