IELTS General Training Writing Task 1

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Task Achievement (answering the question) is one fourth of your total mark and it is an area in which everyone should do well in IELTS General Training Writing Task 1. This is often, however, not the case.

What you must do is to write a letter, which would fully answer the needs of the problem in a real life situation. For example, a question I have seen somewhere gives the candidate the following task:

You have some library books that you are unable to return as a member of your family in another city has fallen sick and you have had to go and look after them.
Write a letter to the library. In your letter, you should:
    – Explaining the situation. 
    – Apologize for the inconvenience called
    – And say what you are going to do.

You should write at least 150 words.

This seems a fairly typical IELTS General Training Task 1 writing question.  Answering the question in a way that will get you a good Task Fulfillment grade needs a number of things for you to do.

1) Write at least 150 words.

Writing less does not answer the question, which tells you to write at least 150 words. If you write less than 140 words, the examiner marking your paper will give you a maximum of 5 for Task Fulfilment or even less.

2) Fully do all the things that the question asks you.

In this case it asks you to do 3 main things:

  - explain the situation
  - apologize for the inconvenience
  - say what you are going to do

The important part is to fully do these things. Don't take 1 line to explain about your relative – people who do this often don't make the 150 word limit. Enlarge on what the question tells you. Use your imagination. It must be something fairly serious to make you leave town and you must be the only one possible to look after the relative so go into these things. Be realistic as well.

You're writing to a library and you won't make it too personal. Apologizing won't take up much space but you can still devote a couple of sentences to it. Saying what you are going to do should be a full explanation as well.

3) Make your letter realistic so it would function in a real life situation.

This involves adding other things to the letter, which it may not ask you for, but without which your letter would not perform its function. For this question, it would mean introducing yourself by name, giving your library card membership number, telling the library the titles of the books that you have borrowed, the names of their authors, their library reference numbers, when you borrowed them and when they were due back.

Finally, in this question, the situation might involve you getting a fine for the late books so you could ask politely for that to be cancelled due to the circumstances. Without this information, the letter wouldn't help the library much in real life and, even though the question doesn't ask you specifically to include it, the examiner reading your work will be looking for such things. These are things that are needed to get a 9 for task fulfillment and, theoretically, anyone, whatever their level of English, should be able to get a good mark here.

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