IELTS general writing task 1: Job application letter

Model answer for General Writing Task 1 IELTS

Job application letter.

As mentioned before in my previous posts about IELTS general writing task 1, there are 2 styles for letters. Formal and Informal. Click here to see the differences between IELTS academic task 1 and the General Test.

In this lesson I will look at a letter applying for a job, the style here will be formal because it is a letter to a company.

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IELTS Writing: Keeping it simple

Being concise and keeping it simple.

If someone asked me for my advice about the IELTS essay tasks, I would say keep it simple and concise. I correct a lot of IELTS essays, but the one thing that stands out is that so many IELTS students are trying too hard to use so called ‘complex sentences’ and completely miss the point. They also memorise lists of words and then just put those into the essay without actually knowing fully what the word means.

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The dangers of memorised statements in essays.

Be careful about memorising sentences.

IELTS dangers

There are some IELTS teachers out there who tell students to write an outline statement after the thesis statement. 

To be honest, this is not a good way to structure the introduction. Outline statements are only for true academic essays that are many pages long, like you would write at university (IELTS essays are short discursive essays)

Another reason why I advise not writing them is that they look like they have been memorised. The examiner is looking out for memorised statements and sentences. 

You could lose points on this in task response and lexical resource. To put it simply, you have to use your own words. The IELTS examiners are looking at how you can use language naturally and coherently.

Examples of memorised or ‘cliche’ phrases:

In an introduction:

  • I will argue both points and present my opinion.
  • This essay would like to explore reasons for this and offer possible solutions.
  • I will illustrate my view in more detail in the following essay.
  • The following essay will outline more reasons why I hold this view.
  • I will give reasons and argue my opinion in the following essay.

In a conclusion:

  • The above points illustrate my opinion.
  • As stated above these are the reasons for my view.
  • In a nutshell, I think….
  • All things considered….

I think you get the idea, these are not good to put in an IELTS essay. It is easy for a lower Band score candidate to just memorise these phrases and plug them into the essay.  I have seen so many variations of these when I mark writing. It is better to do just 2 things when writing an introduction.

  1. Paraphrase or restructure the task question.

  2. Write a thesis statement (include an opinion if asked for)

After analysing the question and doing some planning, go straight into paraphrasing the task question in the introduction, then write a thesis statement (which includes your opinion if asked for)

For a lesson on paraphrasing click here ….For a lesson on Thesis statements click here..

An introduction should be under 55 words. Why? because it could just end up looking like a body paragraph, and you just do not have time to write a really long introduction. It is the same with conclusions…keep them under 45 words. The key is to keep introductions and conclusions short and concise. Use the body paragraphs to go into detail and explain your main points with examples.

Here is a recent example I saw with a memorised outline statement:

Task question:
The impact that the growing demand for more flights has had on the environment is a major concern for many countries. Some people think that one way to limit the number of people travelling by air is to increase tax on flights…. To what extent do you think this could solve the problem?

It is argued that the increased in air traffic has a major impact on the environment. Some hold the view that increasing tax on air travelers can solve this problem. In this essay  I will substantiate my views with relevant examples.

The text in red is the kind of thing that examiners will see as memorised and it will not be counted and could go against you.

This introduction below would be better:

The increasing need for air travel has had a negative effect on the environment, which is a cause for concern worldwide. Some people believe that taxing air travellers is a solution to reducing flights. I completely agree, because aeroplanes create large amounts of C02, and the building of new airports impacts local ecosystems.

The sentence in green is the thesis statement and contains reasons for the opinion.

Any comments? leave them below.

Paraphrasing without synonyms.

Useful paraphrasing technique without using synonyms.

One of the most important skills in IELTS is paraphrasing. This means to change the wording or the sentence structure but retain the same meaning. It’s a challenge for many students doing IELTS to get used to this skill, you need to have good vocabulary and know how to use synonyms correctly.

There are 2 main ways to paraphrase, this can be done with synonyms and by changing the structure of the sentence while adjusting the word formation. In the writing section you need to use this skill when starting the introduction of your essay. Let’s take a look at an example below.

Read moreParaphrasing without synonyms.

Why does this essay score Band 5.5?

Analysis of a Band 5.5 essay, plus a model answer.

Most people doing IELTS have trouble getting above Band 6 in writing, in fact a large percentage of IELTS test takers around the world end up with a Band 5.5 in Writing.

Probably the most important thing to do before you begin writing an essay, is to make sure you fully understand the question and find the issues in the question. Never write just generally about the topic, identify the issues and base your essay around those.

Another key skill is paraphrasing, if your vocabulary is weak then paraphrasing may be a challenge so work on this skill. The thesis statement in the introduction is also key, the whole essay expands on your thesis statement and the conclusion paraphrases the thesis statement and your main points.

Read moreWhy does this essay score Band 5.5?

IELTS TFNG reading tips.

Tips for IELTS Reading.

To successfully answer IELTS True False not Given questions and Yes No Not Given questions, you can use exactly the same technique. The difference is that Yes No Not Given texts are based on the writers opinion,  whereas TFNG texts are based on facts.

Take at look at the graphic below for some ideas to help you.

IELTS true false not given


Check out the reading section of this website for more free lessons

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5 things to do before writing your essay

5 steps you should take when planning your IELTS essay.

Planning is incredibly important before writing an essay in writing task 2. (also for wrting task 1) Most teachers have different advice for this, some say 2 minutes others say 5 minutes and yet others say 7 to 10 minutes of planning time.

I believe that you should take at least 10 minutes to plan. Why? because I have had students before with good English skills who did not take the time to plan, they ended up with a Band 5 even though they were capable of a Band 7. Those students did minimal planning and just went straight into writing , lost track of what to write about, went off topic, didn’t structure the essay well and so on. This is where problems can arise when writing an essay. However, with the right steps in place you can go into the exam feeling confident of writing a good essay.

Read more5 things to do before writing your essay

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Strategy

Useful technique when presented with a cue card in IELTS speaking part 2.

In the IELTS speaking test part 2 you are given a cue card and have to give a 2 minute talk where you must ‘Describe’ something or some situation.

Often this can be stressful for people in the heat of the exam, many people just go blank and cannot think of ideas or may have no experience of the the topic presented to them. There are 2 ways to deal with this.

Read moreIELTS Speaking Part 2 Strategy

Bar Chart Lesson, analysis and model answer

How to write about a Bar Chart in IELTS, model answer and analysis

These are quite common in the academic writing part 1, so you need to be prepared in case you get one in your test. There are some things to be aware of, such as the correct structure to use, paraphrasing the introduction, a clear overview and reporting on the data accurately.

In this lesson we will look at a dynamic chart which shows changes over time. This bar chart is taken from the Cambridge IELTS 11 practice book (use only official IELTS material when practicing), I have given my own model answer followed by an analysis.

Remember in writing task 1 academic that you have to analyse the chart carefully, then decide if it is static data or dynamic data.  Static data shows one time period, therefore ‘trends language’ will not be needed. In this lesson however, we will look at trends.

Read moreBar Chart Lesson, analysis and model answer

IELTS Writing task 1: Line graph and model answer

Academic Writing task 1 : Lesson on a Line Graph.

Line graphs are very common in IELTS academic task 1 writing. In this lesson we will look at a Model Answer and an analysis.

This line graph comes form Cambridge IELTS 11 academic…you can find this book on Amazon. Use only official IELTS material when doing practice tests, there is a lot of fake IELTS material out there on the web.

Read moreIELTS Writing task 1: Line graph and model answer