IELTS Letter: Sample Answer

Below is an IELTS letter with a sample answer which is estimated at band score 9 and is personal rather than formal. For the General Training Paper in IELTS, you are required to write a letter of over 150 words in 20 mins for writing task 1.

Last month you had an overseas holiday with some friends where you stayed at their house. They have just sent you some holiday photos.

Write a letter to your friends. In your letter:

  • thank them for the holiday and the photos
  • explain why you didn’t write earlier
  • invite them to come and stay with you

Band Score 9 Sample Answer

Hi John and Laura,

How are you both? I hope this letter finds you well. Although it’s just a short time since we last saw each other, it feels much longer.

Thank you so much not only for such a memorable holiday but also for the lovely photos that you sent of our holiday together. It brought it all back to me so vividly. I think, staying with you and seeing where you live, was a real eye-opener. Australia is certainly a scenic country with remarkable landscape and wildlife, particular up in the north where you are.

Sorry, it has taken me so long to write back and thank you. Almost as soon as we landed back in the UK, my mother became sick and we’ve been running around looking after her and getting carers sorted out. She seems to be improving now, though, and hopefully will be back to normal soon.

Next month, we’ll be celebrating our Wedding Anniversary and we’d be delighted if you could come over to celebrate it with us. It’ll be a chance for you to meet the rest of the family and see a bit of England. Of course, you must stay with us, there’s plenty of room and we’ll pick you up at the airport. I really hope you can make it.

Take care and write back soon.

Sandra

Recommended

IELTS Letter Writing Tips 

Sharing is caring...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest

Comments

  1. Hi Liz,

    First of all, I’d like to thank you for keeping this blog.

    I need a help on how we can separate informal and semi-formal letters according to the question??

    What are the facts to identify which letter to be written??

    • The majority of letters will be either formal or informal. An informal letter is to your friend about personal things – invitations, parties, memories etc. However, sometimes they ask you to write a letter to your close friend about work – this is a mix. Work is formal but it is your friend which is informal – hence it is semi-formal.

  2. Soniya Jagyasi says:

    Hello Liz,
    In the above letter sample, as it is an informal friendly letter, greeting should be Hello John and Laura as the signing off is with Take care and write back soon ?

    • I agree completely!

      • ethar yahya salih says:

        Hello Liz

        Thank you so much for providing such a great help for all readers. May I lease ask you why an IELTS candidate must write hello instead of hi in the above matter?

        thanks

  3. Thank you so much Liz
    you are very helpful indeed and I appreciate you so much .

  4. I wanted to ask that if we need to leave lines after every paragraph ends???

  5. Hi Liz,
    Task 1 GT,

    Please is a “letter asking for some time off from work from your manager” going to be formal, semi-formal or informal.
    Thanks.

    • If it is about work, it’s formal. Your manager is not your best friend or a close personal friend. He or she is a work colleague and also your boss.

    • Ejime Stanley says:

      Dear Liz,
      Thanks for everything. Please i want to ask if i need to include any heading for my formal letter.
      Eg a letter of application for job.

      Do i need to write thus,
      Dear Sir,
      LETTER OF APPLICATION FOR THE POST AN ENGINEER

  6. Sameera says:

    Hi Liz,
    Your teaching pattern is excellent. Please help me to find answers for your listed questions of GT task1
    Thank you.

  7. Hey
    Help me to write a letter to ur best friend who had gone to abroad a couple of months ago, recently surprised you with his letter. He wants to know how you and your friends are and telling him how u miss him

    • Please see these tips on Gt letter writing: http://ieltsliz.com/ielts-letter-writing-essential-tips/

      • Hi Liz,
        I was going through a personal letter regarding joining a college or going to job.The examiner’s comments for the letter were that the student has used disclosure markers mechanically(At first,however, also, at last, in conclusion etc).What does this mean because these i had used when i appeared for academic test should we avoid these in general training?
        Thanks

        • It is essential to use linking words (also, furthermore, firstly, however etc). If you use them mechanically, it means that you use them in same place in the sentence and in the same way all the time. This is fine if you want band 6 but for a higher score you will to use them more flexibly and naturally so that they are not so obvious.

  8. Thank you for this advices but I want to ask you one question .

  9. Hi
    Plz help me
    If we are attemptinng all our reading section answers in capital letters then how do we write a date like 27th august in capital ???
    And also how will we write Mrs. Tim in capital letters ???

  10. Hi Liz.
    Thank you for all your help.
    I’m going to start IELTS classes.
    There are about 5 students who want to study.
    But their grammar and vocabulary levels are different.
    What book should I start with?
    Looking forward to your reply.

    • Most students who do not have good enough English, will not start with IELTS. They will develop their English language up to the right level and then focus on IELTS. So, it’s best to look at English language books rather than IELTS books. Or look at the IELTS Target 5 books.

  11. Ahmed Shawky says:

    Hi Liz,

    Let me thank you for the huge amount of videos you are published for the IELTS training

    But I see that there is no more exercise for General IELTS task 1 writing

    Could you guide me from where I can get more example for thes kind of letter band 8 and higher

  12. Hi Liz,

    Your training have been very helpful in preparing for my IELTS . Pleas as regards the number of words 150 to 170 as advised…i want to confirm do we have to count our words because i noticed the sample above is up to like 200 words. Is there a penalty for too much words ?

    • There is no penalty for more words, only a penalty for under the word count. However, for the majority of students, I recommend aiming for between 160 and 180 words – more or less. Writing more is ok for letters but if your English is not excellent, it will only present more grammar errors or vocabulary errors. So, go for controlled in length and accurate in vocab and grammar.

  13. Sumanth SV says:

    Hi Liz,
    I would really appretiate if you could post few more General Training task 1 sample examples.

    Regards,
    Sumi

  14. Taghrid Osman says:

    hi can you help me to write this task 1
    when yu had a problem at an airport recently, an employee was very helpful to you. You decide o tell the airport manager about this.
    write a letter to the airport manager, In your letter :
    explain what your problem was.
    describe how the employee helped you
    say what you want the manager to do

  15. Hello Liz,

    I would be highly obliged if you can put o some more samples for GT Writing1.
    Your blog is indeed a great source of learning and it would be great if you ca help me up with this.

    Thanks
    Kanupriya

  16. I will tell her i can’t live without my family

  17. Hi Liz,
    I visit you blog almost daily for last 2 months and i found your lectures very helpful.
    i’ve just started writing task 1 practice and i wrote an invitation letter ,if you could please
    give me some feedback on the areas that you think i should work on.
    Invitation to attend a public event
    explain the event
    describe other plans while visit

    Dear Saima,
    How are you?Hope you doing well.

    It’s been long time since we last met and spent some quality time together.
    we are having an event,the spring festival ,on April 6th 2017.i thought i’d drop you a line if you could make it.

    The spring festival starts on every April in the capital of Pakistan, with aim to bring culture of every province at one place to be observed by tourist as well as the local people who don’t get a chance to go to different places.Beside getting a chance to know about the variety of cultures you’l have chance to buy traditional items and a chance to have the traditional dishes too.

    I’ve other plans for us ,it’s a visit to Nalter Valley ,which is in the north of Pakistan and has recently been developed skiing resort where national level skiing competitions are held to promote skiing as well as tourism in the area.

    Looking forward for you to come over and staying with us while your visit.

    Take care,write back soon.
    Meher

  18. Topic:your mother’s friend has just returned from abroad and requests that you live with her. Thank her for the offer but politely reject it, giving her three reasons for not accepting her offer.

  19. Janhvi Srivastava says:

    Hii maam
    Could you please give me some ideas for writing a letter on this topic-
    Write a letter to your friend whom you have not met from very long time, asking him/her what they are currently doing and informing them what you are doing.

    • My attempt at writing a letter for the topic that you have mentioned (You can say, I have let my imagination run wild!).

      Dear ABC,

      How are you doing? I hope this letter finds you in the pink of health.

      The other day, I was going through our College year book and it struck me that we haven’t spoken or met in a long time. To think of it, we were best buddies during Undergrad days and also had participated as a team in many a Inter-University Quiz competitions. I am not sure how we lost touch but this is my sincere attempt at reviving our friendship.

      After my graduation, I joined a Software development firm in India and currently deputed to United States on an assignment. I intend to stay here for the next couple of years after which I would move back to India. If you happen to use an iPhone, I was a part of the team that developed many a applications that run on the device.

      Please write back telling me what you are upto nowadays. I would also like to know where you are located and if possible come up with a plan to meet up soon.

      Keep in touch,
      XYZ

  20. hi ma
    pls can i get a letter on this topic ma?
    A letter to your friend telling requesting for a post of manager in his company.
    And also is this letter a Formal or Informal?

  21. jeffther bonney says:

    please Mam i want the answer for this question
    you have left home for foreign country . write a letter to your brother telling him about your experience in your environment

  22. Hi Liz
    How can I improve my writing ?

    Could please advise me

    Thank you

  23. Amin Chowdhury says:

    Today, I took a mock test in a IELTS learning center. I used contraction such as I’m, I’ve in informal letter to a friend. The teacher told that I shouldn’t use contraction in IELTS. I’m confused. Please let me know I’m correct or. not?

    Also they told I shouldn’t use Mr. Amin Chowdhury in formal letter as my name.

    • It is fine to use contractions in informal letter writing (never in formal writing such as formal letters or essays) and you can also use it in speaking.
      All the best
      Liz

  24. Please I want to write a letter to a friend about something I lost quite small but important how do I write it

  25. Hi Liz,

    If i am writing letter in all Capital letters, then can i write contractions, like I’m, I’ve, I’d, also in capital letters, like I’M DOING WELL, I’D LIKE TO APOLOGISE FOR?

    Thanks,
    Chandra

  26. hi mam,
    I always worry in starting a paragraph. don’t know wether to start the first line of the paragraph from the begining of the margin or from the middle of the page.
    Ex:
    When a country develops its technology, the traditional skills and the ways of life die out. It is pointless to try and keep them alive.

    When a country develops its technology, the traditional skills and ways of life die out. It is pointless to try and keep them alive.

    Please tell me which one i have to follow. Also let me know wether i can leave a line of gap between the paragraphs. Because i feel it looks clumsy after finishing my letter and essay.

    thank you.

    • You leave one empty line between paragraphs so the examiner can clearly see your paragraphs. There is no need to indent the start of any sentence. You write it exactly as you see my model essays written.
      All the best
      Liz

  27. T A Sheikh says:

    Hi

    I have been told by one of the assessors that they penalize if word count exceeds 180 words for Task1 letter. I have seen your letter is around 215 words , would it not be wrong to cross 150-180 words range as I have been told ? I had 7.5 in my writing last time and I have been told that all parts of letter exceeding around 180 words for Task1 and around 280 words for Task2 will be stricken off by examiner and not read at all. Is that true ? Kindly comment. Thanks

    • There is no penalty for a long essay or long letter because there is no upper word count. There is only an lower word count (over 250 words for task 2). However, both tasks are marked based on focus and relevancy in task 2 and the ability to avoid insignificant detail in task 1. For that reason, it isn’t recommended to go over 300 words in task 2 or over 200 in task 1. Band score 9 students usually write with more complex language which might result in slightly longer writing but that doesn’t mean it should be an aim. The aim should be between 160 and 180 words for task 1 and 260 to 280 words for task 2. See the marking system: http://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-2-band-scores-5-to-8/
      All the best
      Liz

  28. Dear Liz,

    I am preparing for the IELTS and for the same following your this website since last two months. I appreciate your wonderful work which is helping people like me to know about IELTS exam in details.

    I read your tips to write formal and personal letter and evaluated that we should use word Hi.. while writing a personal letter and Dear Sir/Ma’am or Dear Mr. X for formal one.

    In my point of view, your above written sample answer is of personal type.
    So why did you not write Hi John and Loura instead of Dear John and Loura?

    I am so sorry if bothered you.

    I am looking forward for your kind reply.

    • It is fine to use “Dear” with informal letters because it is a term of endearment which means the people are dear to you (you have an emotional attachement to them). But it is people you know but you are not close to, then use “Hi”.
      Liz

  29. Hello Liz,
    First of all thank you so much for the excellent help and guidance you provide through this blog. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. Just a request if you could please add a few more model letters for apology, arrangements and the other possible letter types.

    Thank you once again!

    Kashmira

  30. Hi Liz, i recently took ielts exam. In letter i did not use the correct title. It was letter to your teacher but i addressed as dear sir. How much will it affect my band score

    • It will only have a margin impact on your score. It is just one mistake in one marking criterion.
      All the best
      Liz

  31. Liz i found this website very useful and helped me improve my band score

    Thanks
    Didi

  32. Hii liz,
    I am writing this comment to clear my doubts about writing task GT 1. I want to know that where do we have to write about why we are writing the letter? Is it compulsory that we always have to write it in the first introduction paragraph? Because I saw one example for the personal letter about the photograph on this website in which i didn’t see the reason for the writing the paragraph in the first introduction paragraph.
    Hope to get a reply from you soon,
    Hiren
    Hiren

    • If it is a formal letter, you write “I am writing regarding …”. If it is informal to a friend, you might start with “How are you?” or “I hope this letter finds you well.” Each letter should be adapted for the purpose and style. Your score in task 1 is based (25%) on your style and your ability to understand the difference between writing formally and informally.
      All the best
      Liz

  33. sukirty joshi says:

    Really a best site..I find no scepitical to clarify that this site is is so gud.It is helping alot to me.

  34. Hi Liza,
    I had given Ielts 2 times on both occasion my Writing score was 5.5, i am desperate to get at least 6 band, please suggest me tips for that. However, my listening and reading bands 8 and 7.5 respectively. Only problem is with writing. Please suggest, My examination is on 29th Aug 2015.

    Thanks
    Uday

    • Take time to learn more about how writing is scored. On each of the main pages for writing, you will find links to band score information – read those pages and then start reviewing model essays to see structure, linking devices and content of each paragraph.
      Liz

  35. Hi Liz,

    I tried to make an answer for one of your sample tests. I hope you could make some comments or correction on my work. Thank you.

    You are applying for a job and needs a letter of reference

    Write a letter to a former teacher. In your letter:

    -give details of the job
    -explain why it is important to you
    -suggest what information your teacher could put in the reference

    Dear Miss Smith,

    I am writing this letter to request for a letter of reference which is a requirement for the job I am applying.

    There is an open job position for an interior designer in the Ayala Interiors and I found that I have the knowledge and skills of the employee that they want to hire. They also specify that they want someone who is flexible to travel due to many projects they are having for this year and me being single, there is no hindrance for me to travel from time to time.

    This job is really important for me. Ayala is one of the biggest companies in our country. This job will be a great step in the success of my career.

    Kindly put in the reference letter how passionate and dedicated I am in designing. Please also include how good I am in time management and handling pressure. It would be a great factor in my application.

    Thank you and regards,
    RJ

  36. Hi Liz, I would really like to thank you for your help on your lesson tutorials and preparation materials for the IELTS.
    There are two practice letters I wrote. Could you check for their mistakes?

    Formal

    Dear Sir or Madam,
    I am writing this letter with regards to the schollarship program to study at London University which I read in the United Kindom’s consulate’s website.
    I would like to apply for the full schollarship to take the Writing and Directing course. I am graduated at University of Buenos Aires with a degree on Image and Sound Designer, and I would want to continue developing my academic career with a specialization on Writing and Directing.
    I discovered London University in my search for schollarships and I found that this University provides the courses I want to take. It is highly recommended and I would be delighthed to take part of the student body.
    Since I am passionate on those subjects, and admire many british writers and directors, I look forward to learn the most of the teachers who I believe to be immerse in an industry I admire. I am a hard worker and I want to take the most of this experience.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Yours sincerely
    Miss Jane Smith.

    Semi-formal

    Dear John,
    I am writing to say thank you for the offer of joining your company. I’ve been following the news regarding the company and I learned it recently won an international award on the advertisement department. Congratulations on that! I find the company very interesting respecting the way they manage news and ads and I’m a big fan of the chief creative director.
    I’ve been looking forward on working at your company for very long time, and that’s one of the reasons I would love to accept your offer. I believe we could achieve big things toghether and I also think it’s the best place to continue developing my career.
    As you well know, my partner and I were also awarded at Cannes Advertising Festival. We both have been creating and planning some brand new ideas that could help your company to reach a greater achievement. I would like you to meet him, he does a brilliant job and we share the enthusiasm and working rithm.
    I hope we’ll get in touch soon.
    All the best.
    Jane

    Thanks!
    Irene

  37. Rana Naz says:

    Hi Liz,

    Thank you so much for your kindest endeavors regarding making such a excellent website for IELTS preparation at all.

    would you mind please posting or getting a lecture on punctuation about when or not commas to b used i do’t have any understanding regarding punctuation.
    and please make a full video lecture about tips on letter covering whole the aspects of writing general task 1

    warm regards
    RANA ASIF NAZ(PAKISTAN)

    and i have been following your website since last over 2 month i am afraid i am not good with English but after following your blog i realized that i can do it after putting extra efforts.

    Thank you so much

    • I’m glad your confidence in growing and your understanding of IELTS. Thanks for your suggestions of lessons – I’ll put them on my list.
      All the best
      Liz

  38. Khurram says:

    Hi Liz! I am really grateful for your tips and lessons. You are making commendable efforts for the students worldwide.
    Can you please comment on my letter answering the same question?

    Dear John,
    How are you all? I am fine and hope my letter finds you in greatest of spirits I left you with. I am still lost in memories of the holiday I spent with you and want to say thankyou for such a wonderful time and remembering to send those cheeky photos.

    As I got back, my inbox was full of important e-mails referring to deadlines and had a few reminders too about various pending tasks. It took me so long to get over the backlog that I cold find time to get in touch only now. I remained busy for whole of the time in back to back meetings, reports and all that stuff you know pops up from nowhere.

    Thanks God its over now and I am back to normalcy. The weather is awesome these days and is forecasted to remain as it is over the month. So why don’t all of you come over for a few days during the cultural festival starting next sunday? It will really be a great fun time and I guarantee that you won’t get bored.

    Do call me to confirm your visit. I will wait anxiously. Take care

    Yours’ sincerely
    Tim

    • You have the ability to do well in task 1. However, you will need to do two things to improve:

      1. Be careful with your vocabulary. While you use some excellent words, you also are making errors. You are using occasional incorrect or inappropriate words = cheeky, thanks god, normalcy.
      2. “Yours sincerely” is for formal letters. sign off “Take care” or something that is friendly.
      Liz

  39. You’ve got the right content and the right tone – well done! However, you need to organise your paragraphs to follow the instructions of the letter content. You have three things to put in your letter which means three main body paragraphs, not two. Also you really need to check your grammar. There are quite a lot of mistakes which will reduce your score.
    All the best
    Liz

  40. Dear Liz,

    What do you think regarding the word count of that perfect sample you have provided in this forum? Actually, it’s 212 word which seems that so long for Ielts exam.

    I have also an strange question. Do you honestly think it is possible to write a letter like this at an such a stressful situation (Ielts condition) and within just 20 minutes?

    Regards,
    Bob

    • Don’t forget that my model is a band score 9. Band Score 9 students are capable of a letter of that quality and length. Students who are band score 6, 7 or even 8, will probably aim for between 160 and 180 words. The most important thing is to work within your own ability and level.
      All the best
      Liz

  41. Dear John and Penny,

    Hi there! I hope you’re doing well. I want to thank you for such a lovely photos you’ve sent. These remind me that enjoyable stay at your home and country. I can’t forget those moments at all. I am also so sorry that I am only writing now. Allow me to describe what happened that I couldn’t write you.

    When I came back at my workplace, my manager asked me to go to an urgent mission to Africa. So, I had no choice except going there. I had a hectic schedule when I was in Africa. Now, fortunately after three busy weeks, I have come back home, and I have a week-off. Once again, I’m really sorry that I didn’t write before.

    I’m also writing to invite you to come and stay with us for next summer holiday. As you know, Melbourne’s summer is very interesting and there are a plenty of things to do. Let me know which exact time suits you. So, I can arrange something for that particular time.

    Looking forward to seeing you soon.

    Regards,
    Adam

    • The tone and content are fine. However, there are grammar mistakes which will reduce your score. Review your prepositions and other basic grammar to fix some of the problems.
      Liz

  42. Abrar Sharif says:

    Hi Liz

    I trust you are enjoying your vocation time. I am really very sorry to writing you during your vacation period.
    Kindly note I am appearing in IELTS General Test on 18th of April.

    I have tried to write a letter on following topic and looking forward for your kind advice on it. It would be great if you grade it as well according to the IELTS rules.
    I will be very thankful for this kindness.

    Letter Topic
    Asking for a Letter of Reference
    You are Applying for a job and need a letter of reference.
    Write a letter to a former teacher. In your letter:
    – give details of the job
    – explain why it is important to you
    – Suggest what information your reacher could put in the reference

    Letter

    Respected sir,
    I trust my letter finds you well. It was really a great time with you in university. I have learnt a lot during that time. As you know, I have completed my education with good marks and now applying for a job in a multinational company.

    I saw an ad in the newspaper, after read the requirements I found that, I fit on that position very well. Actually, this is a digital marketing job and you know how much competent and passionate I was in the digital marketing subjects.

    This job is really important for me because the requirement of this job 100% suits my skills and interest. It is also a multinational company and you know for a fresh graduate how difficult it is to get a job in a multinational company.

    Kindly note, according to the job requirements I need to submit a reference to the company otherwise they will not accept my job application. According to the requirements can I request you to provide the Full Name, Designation, Contact Number, University Name?

    It would be great if you provide the required information by the end of this well.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Abrar

    • There are some errors in grammar and a few on vocabulary but otherwise it is reasonably good. When you suggest information to put in a reference, it mainly relates to classroom performance or coursework assessment rather than basic information such as name and address. Don’t forget you are writing to a teacher you know so it’s best to use a name, for example Mr Brown, unless instructions say otherwise.
      All the best
      Liz

  43. Please, Help me Liz!
    what would be the band
    You have just spent a week with a friend on holiday. When you got home, you realised you had left your wallet there.
    Write a letter to your friend. In your letter:
    • thank your friend for the holiday
    • explain that you left your wallet in their house
    • give them instructions of how to send it back to you
    Dear John,
    Hey! What’s up? I hope, you are fine.
    Firstly, thank you very much for inviting me at your home to spend a long week vacation. It was really out of the world. I couldn’t remark how fast seven days flew away.

    Actually, I have forgotten my wallet in your house. It must be on the sofa. Do you remember on the last, in the morning, when I was talking to you sitting on the sofa regarding our vacation, the milk-man had asked for money and I had paid him, and left my wallet there only.

    As you get free, please send it. You don’t have bother for it. First of all, go to the bus the bus park and meet my brother and hand over it to him since he drives to Pohar form there every day. After that, give me a call. I will go take it.

    Hope that you will make it happen as quickly as possible.

    With Best Regards
    Hem

    • Hi,

      The tone of the letter is confusing. You have written “Hey” What’s up” which is completely informal and not usually written in a letter. But then you have also use “Firstly..” which is a linking device for formal essay writing. Otherwise, the letter is good. You have put the right kind of extra detail and organised your letter using paragraphs. The only thing to work on is using the right kind of language to give the right tone.
      All the best
      Liz

  44. Hi Liz
    Thank you so much for your great website , i would like to ask you , please prepare us a video all about strategy and technic which we should follow during letter writing for task 1 in IELTS general training,
    Thank you so much again , i found your website great for preparation!

  45. Hi Liz, i would like to say thanks for your supporting material 🙂 please tell me about the time management in the reading task although they always mention 20 minutes for each paragraph but i need your expert opinion.
    Regards

    • Hi,

      Yes, it is recommended to spend 20 mins on each passage and I agree completely. You will need to keep your eye on the clock so that you don’t run out of time on passage 3. Time management is essential for both reading and writing.
      All the best
      Liz

Speak Your Mind

*