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This is an IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample Answer from the general training test based on a letter to a friend.

In the general training test you have to write a letter for task 1 writing.

It might be informal (to a friend) or more formal (to your boss or a service representative).

You can read my ultimate guide to letter writing here.

If you want to get over your IELTS fears and achieve your dreams (of going abroad or getting a better job), I now offer online lessons complete with feedback, videos, workbooks and more!

Learn more about my online courses here.

There are three keys for writing letters.

First, make sure that you get the level of formality correct. This will impact your task achievement, vocabulary, and grammar scores.

Secondly, make sure that you cover all three points fully to get full marks for task achievement.

Finally, make sure that you give all 3 bullet points equal weight/space. Lots of students focus on one of them and ignore another – that means you will get a low task achievement score, probably around band 6!

Read on to see how I handled these areas for this letter!

You can see and practice some other recent letters on IELTS here.

IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample Answer: Letter to a Friend (Real Test) by Dave

You stayed over at a friend’s house last weekend and think that you left your watch there. In your letter:

Thank your friend

Describe your watch

Tell them what you want them to do

Real Past IELTS General Training

Hi Sally,

I had such a pleasant time staying over at your place the other week and I wanted to write to say thanks and ask a quick question. The party you threw was so chilled out and I can’t wait to meet up for the next one. Please let me know if you plan on doing this type of thing again and let me know if I can help out in any way at all!

The only issue with the weekend was my fault (as usual). I had a bit too much to drink (also as usual) and I somehow misplaced my watch. It’s a brand new watch, with a brown leather band and a faux gold clock on it. The face of it is really distinctive because the hands are silver and it’s minimalistic, without any markings for the hours.

If you can locate it, I’d really appreciate if you could send it to me by mail (to the address enclosed). If that’s inconvenient for you, you could also pass it on to Mike the next time you see him because he often stops by my place at the weekend. Both those options are fine by me!

Thanks again for the party and here’s hoping you can rustle up my watch!

Regards,

Dave

Word count: 212

Analysis

1. Hi Sally,

1. You can start your letter to a friend in a number of different ways: dear, hey, hi, hello, what’s up, etc.

1. I had such a pleasant time staying over at your place the other week and I wanted to write to say thanks and ask a quick question. 2. The party you threw was so chilled out and I can’t wait to meet up for the next one. 3. Please let me know if you plan on doing this type of thing again and let me know if I can help out in any way at all!

1. Get right to the point – don’t waste any time with unrelated areas. The more you talk about each bullet point, the higher your task achievement score will be!

2. This is part of the thanking – describe why you are thanking your friend with as much detail (and as specifically) as possible. It is also fine to use contractions in an informal letter.

3. Conclude your paragraph naturally as you would when writing to a friend. Use lots of informal phrasal verbs and expressions.

1. The only issue with the weekend was my fault (as usual). 2. I had a bit too much to drink (also as usual) and I somehow misplaced my watch. 3. It’s a brand new watch, with a brown leather band and a faux gold clock on it. 4. The face of it is really distinctive because the hands are silver and it’s minimalistic, without any markings for the hours.

1. Move on to the second bullet point and cover it as fully and specifically as possible.

2. Don’t waste too much time describing how you lost it – that is not an important part of the task.

3. Notice the good vocabulary and how concrete/specific my response is.

4. You can start your letter to a friend in a number of different ways: dear, hey, hi, hello, what’s up, etc.

1. If you can locate it, I’d really appreciate if you could send it to me by mail (to the address enclosed). 2. If that’s inconvenient for you, you could also pass it on to Mike the next time you see him because he often stops by my place at the weekend. 3. Both those options are fine by me!

1. Focus the last paragraph on the last bullet point.

2. Even if it is a simple point try to make it as detailed and complicated as possible to help your task achievement score. That’s why I add the second option for returning it – to get maximum points for task achievement.

3. For an informal letter, exclamation points (!) are fine!

1. Thanks again for the party and here’s hoping you can rustle up my watch!

2. Regards,

3. Dave

1. It is a good idea to write a phrase at the end to summarise your letter such as ‘looking forward to hearing from you’ or ‘your cooperation is much appreciated.’

2. Some other options include: best, best regards, thanks, sincerely, your friend.

3. Include your name at the end!

Word count: 212 (Try to keep your writing between 175-200 words)

Vocabulary

Try to figure out the meaning for the following vocabulary and then check my definitions below.

Hi Sally,

I had such a pleasant time staying over at your place the other week and I wanted to write to say thanks and ask a quick question. The party you threw was so chilled out and I can’t wait to meet up for the next one. Please let me know if you plan on doing this type of thing again and let me know if I can help out in any way at all!

The only issue with the weekend was my fault (as usual). I had a bit too much to drink (also as usual) and I somehow misplaced my watch. It’s a brand new watch, with a brown leather band and a faux gold clock on it. The face of it is really distinctive because the hands are silver and it’s minimalistic, without any markings for the hours.

If you can locate it, I’d really appreciate if you could send it to me by mail (to the address enclosed). If that’s inconvenient for you, you could also pass it on to Mike the next time you see him because he often stops by my place at the weekend. Both those options are fine by me!

Thanks again for the party and here’s hoping you can rustle up my watch!

Regards,

Dave

Word count: 212

Vocabulary Answers

such a pleasant time: a very good experience

staying over: sleeping over

place: home

quick question: fast question

threw a party: had a party

chilled out: relaxed

can’t wait: excited for

meet up: see each other again

plan on: do in the future

type of thing again: this sort of thing

help out: help

any way at all: in any aspect

only issue: one problem

as usual: typical

bit too much to drink: drank too much alcohol

somehow misplaced: lost by mistake

brand new: just got it

leather band: strap made from tanned animal skin

faux: fake

face: front of the watch

distinctive: unique and separate

hands: the moving symbols on a watch

minimalistic: simple

markings: designations

locate: find

appreciate: thankful for

enclosed: included

inconvenient: not easy to do

pass it on: give to

stops by: comes to see

fine by me: it’s ok

here’s hoping: I hope

rustle up: find

Pronunciation

sʌʧ ə ˈplɛznt taɪm 
ˈsteɪɪŋ ˈəʊvə 
pleɪs 
kwɪk ˈkwɛsʧən
θruː 
ʧɪld aʊt 
kɑːnt weɪt 
miːt ʌp 
plæn ɒn 
taɪp ɒv θɪŋ əˈgɛn 
hɛlp aʊt 
ˈɛni weɪ æt ɔːl
ˈəʊnli ˈɪʃuː 
æz ˈjuːʒʊəl
bɪt tuː mʌʧ tuː drɪŋk 
ˈsʌmhaʊ ˌmɪsˈpleɪst 
brænd njuː 
ˈlɛðə bænd 
fəʊ 
feɪs 
dɪsˈtɪŋktɪv 
hændz 
ˈmɪnɪməlˌɪstɪk
ˈmɑːkɪŋz 
ləʊˈkeɪt 
əˈpriːʃɪeɪt 
ɪnˈkləʊzd
ˌɪnkənˈviːniənt 
pɑːs ɪt ɒn 
stɒps baɪ 
faɪn baɪ miː
hɪəz ˈhəʊpɪŋ 
ˈrʌsl ʌp

Listen and repeat:

Vocabulary Practice

Fill in the blanks then listen and check:

Hi Sally,

I had _____________ _____________ at your _____________ the other week and I wanted to write to say thanks and ask a _____________ . The party you _____________ was so _____________ and I _____________ to _____________ for the next one. Please let me know if you _____________ doing this _____________ and let me know if I can _____________ in _____________!

The _____________ with the weekend was my fault (_____________). I had a _____________ (also as usual) and I _____________ my watch. It’s a _____________ watch, with a brown _____________ and a _____________ gold clock on it. The _____________ of it is really _____________ because the _____________ are silver and it’s _____________, without any _____________ for the hours.

If you can _____________ it, I’d really _____________ if you could send it to me by mail (to the address _____________). If that’s _____________ for you, you could also _____________ to Mike the next time you see him because he often _____________ my place at the weekend. Both those options are _____________!

Thanks again for the party and _____________ you can _____________ my watch!

Regards,

Dave

Listen and check:

Video Link

When you watch the video you can use some of the ideas here to help you to practice: Should you Use Subtitles when Watching Videos?

Comment your writing or any questions below!


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