Tips for writing letters in IELTS General Training

writing letters in IELTS general training -magoosh
Today’s the day! You’ve come across Writing Task 1 in your IELTS prep. In this IELTS General Training Writing Task 1, you need to write a letter responding to a given situation, explaining the situation or requesting information. In this task, you should spend 20 minutes to write a 150-word letter. The letter can be personal, semi-formal, or formal based on the situation. Here are some useful tips for writing letters in IELTS General Training for you to get better knowledge on the letter format as well as on how to structure your letter.

writing letters in IELTS General Training


Read Instructions Carefully

The instruction tells you about the purpose, content, and recipient of your letter. Here is a sample task from the British Council.

A friend has agreed to look after your house and pet while you are on holiday. Write a letter to your friend.

In your letter

  • give contact details for when you are away
  • give instructions about how to care for your pet
  • describe other household duties

Obviously, the recipient is your friend and the purpose is to give detailed information on looking after your house and pet. So, the three bullet points should be the main content of your letter.

Understand Different Types of Letter

There are three types of letters in the IELTS: a formal letter, a personal letter, or a semi-formal letter. We explain these more in the Magoosh IELTS prep product.

Formal letters: writing to someone you don’t know, such as a company

Semi-formal letters: writing to someone you don’t know well, such as your professor

Personal letters: writing to someone you know very well, such as a friend.

Therefore, the previous example is a personal letter. Also, check out our post on formal and informal writing in the IELTS to learn more about the language use in different situations.

Use Proper Opening and Closing

There are different ways to open and close a letter based on who you are writing to.

Get a higher IELTS score? Start your online IELTS prep today with Magoosh.


Formal letters

Opening: Dear Sir/Madam

Closing: Yours faithfully + your full name


Semi-formal letters

Opening: Dear Mr./Miss/Mrs.+ the last name of the recipient

Closing: Yours sincerely + your full name


Personal letters

Opening: Dear + the first name of the recipient

Closing: Best regards + your first name


Structure Your Letter

Paragraph 1: Directly state the purpose of your letter in formal and semi-formal letters. Here are some useful sentences you can use in your writing.

Formal and semi-formal letters:

I am writing this letter with regard to…

I am writing to express my…

I am writing to inform you…

Personal letters usually include a greeting first and then state the purpose:

How are you doing?

I hope you are doing well.

How have you been?


Main body: In the main body, you can use three paragraphs to cover the bullet points one by one. Also, think of some relevant details to enrich the content of your letter.


Conclusion paragraph: Usually, you can use the last paragraph to call to action, express thanks or ask for a response. Here are some examples.

Formal/Semi-formal letters:

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Personal letters:

I can’t wait to hear from you.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

For more writing tips, check out Magoosh IELTS General Training here!

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

Most Popular Resources