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In the Writing task 1 you receive a scenario and you have to write a letter.

Not many people know that


there are 4 types of letters in the IELTS test:
Complaint / Request (of information) letter
Formal business letter
Job application letter
Personal letter
In any letter you write IELTS examiners will be looking for these 3 important components: structure,
vocabulary and fluency of language.
Structure means that your letter must have paragraphs, at least 3 of them. Every paragraph has its job.
The first one must define the purpose of your letter in one two sentences.
The second one must explain more about why you are writing this letter.
The third must say what kind of answer you expect.
Vocabulary means that you should use some smart words. In case you are writing a Complaint, a Business
or a Job application letter you must use formal language, but not for the Personal letter.
Fluency of language means phrases people usually use in letters. The best advice I can give you here is to
read every IELTS Sample Letter you can get. This way you develop proper language for any type of letter.
1. Make sure you answer the whole question
2. Think about who you are writing to
Perhaps the one complex thing about letter writing is that you need to be aware of register. This
means that you need to be able to write in a more formal style if the letter is to someone you
dont know and in a less formal style to a friend. Part of the problem here is that conventions
differ in different countries and cultures. One sensible piece of advice is to aim for a relatively
neutral style and dont try to be too formal or too informal.
3. Think about the purpose(s) of the letter
Before you start writing, you should think about what the purpose of the letter is. IELTS letters
tend to be quite predictable and generally fall into one or more of these functions:
complaint
request
explanation
apology
application
suggestion
This information helps you because you can then use the appropriate letter writing vocabulary
for each of those functions.
IELTS letters tips
These IELTS letters tips to help you maximise your band score so that you impress the examiner.
A summary of these tips would be that letter writing may have its own conventions but so does
IELTS so whatever else you do, make sure you answer the question and use good English.
1. Make sure you answer the whole question
This is probably the most common mistake. Each IELTS letter question contains 3 bullet points
and you need to make sure that you address all 3 points in your answer. If you leave one of them
out, you will be penalised on task response. A more detailed point is that you need to make sure
that you include the appropriate amount of detail for each point this may mean you need to
write more about one topic and less about another.
If you like, go and visit my sample IELTS letter questions page and make sure you can identify the
tasks in each letter.
2. Think about who you are writing to
Perhaps the one complex thing about letter writing is that you need to be aware of register. This
means that you need to be able to write in a more formal style if the letter is to someone you
dont know and in a less formal style to a friend. Part of the problem here is that conventions
differ in different countries and cultures. One sensible piece of advice is to aim for a relatively
neutral style and dont try to be too formal or too informal.
3. Think about the purpose(s) of the letter
Before you start writing, you should think about what the purpose of the letter is. IELTS letters
tend to be quite predictable and generally fall into one or more of these functions:
complaint
request
explanation
apology
application
suggestion
This information helps you because you can then use the appropriate letter writing vocabulary
for each of those functions.
4. Dont forget to use varied grammar
A common problem with letters is that candidates use language that is too simple. Just as in
essays, there is a band score for grammatical range and accuracy. This means that even if you
are writing to a friend, you still need to use varied sentences. You cannot just use short and
simple sentences.
5. Learn how to start a letter
When we write more formal letters, we tend to start with a sentence explaining exactly why we
are writing. A common phrase here is I am writing to.. We start like that because the person
doesnt know us and needs to understand what the purpose of the letter is.
When we write to a friend, we normally start by talking a little about our relationship in a fairly
general paragraph. A common phrase might be, I was so pleased to hear from you again. Its
been ages since weve seen one another. Its important not to forget to do this in IELTS letters
as it shows the examiner you understand the type of letter you are writing.
6. Learn how to end a letter
There are also conventional ways to end letters. If you are unsure how to do this, the best advice
is to think about what you expect to happen next. In a more formal letter where you have asked
for some information, you might write:
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
By contrast, in a letter to a friend who is coming to visit you, you might try:
I cant wait to see you. And dont forget to give my love to all your family.
You can learn some set phrases to help you do this but as I say the best advice is just to think
about what you expect to happen next.
7. Plan your letter
What? Plan a letter? Well you may not bother in life, but IELTS is a very peculiar form of life and
you should definitely spend time thinking about and organising your letter. This means that you
should think carefully about:
how many paragraphs you are going to use
what the main points to include are
what details you need to add
what vocabulary you need

READ WRITE- READ WRITE
NO EXPLANATIONS BUT EXAMPLES
DONT WRITE TOO MUCH EXAMINER IS PAID BY THE MINUTES
SEE EVERYTHING IN YOUR HEAD OR ASK YOUR TRAINER HOW TO START
Focus on the backbone of your essay
This is a related point. All the essay matters of course, but perhaps some bits matter more than
others. Id suggest the practical thing to do is concentrate on the backbone of your essay, the
bits that help you write better and the examiner to understand better. The backbone is:
1. The introduction: this should identify the question and outline your position. Dont rush it as it
is the first thing the examiner will read. First impressions count.
2. The first/topic sentences of each paragraph: these should be clear and to the point. They should
identify exactly what that paragraph is about and show how it relates to the rest of the essay.
The practical tip is to keep the detail/clever ideas for the body of the paragraph. Start off general
and then build towards the specific.
3. The conclusion: this is the easiest part of the essay normally. Most often, all you need to do is go
back to the introduction and rephrase it
Get these bits right and the rest of the essay tends to take care of itself.

Read the IELTS globalisation essay
Differences between countries become less evident each year. Nowadays, all over the world
people share the same fashions, advertising, brands, eating habits and TV channels. Do the
advantages outweigh the disadvantages of this?
It is undoubtedly the case that the world today has become a global village. One of the effects of
this is that increasingly people in all corners of the world are exposed to similar services and
products and adopt similar habits. My view is that this is largely a beneficial process and in this
essay I will explain why.
The first point to make is that there are some downsides to this process of cultural globalisation,
but these are relatively minor. The most significant of these disadvantages is that it can weaken
national culture and traditions. For example, if people watch films and television programmes
produced in the United States, sometimes they adopt aspects of the lifestyle of the American
characters they see on television. Typically, however, this only affects minor details such as
clothing and does not seriously threaten national identity.
When we turn to the other side of the argument, there are two major points to make in favour of
this process. The first of these is that the more we share habits, products and services, the better
we understand each other and this reduces prejudice against other nations. The other point
relates to modernity. It is a sign of progress in a society that people no longer are restricted to
brands and advertisements from their own society but are able to access more international
goods. If, for example, there were unable to drink Coca Cola or wear Nike, then that would mean
their society was not part of the international community.
In conclusion, I understand the point of view of people who worry about cultural globalisation
because it is a threat to national traditions. However, this is outweighed by its positive impact on
international understanding and the fact that it represents progress within a society.


The question
Differences between countries become less evident each year. Nowadays, all over the world
people share the same fashions, advertising, brands, eating habits and TV channels. Do the
advantages outweigh the disadvantages of this?
Focussing on the topic
This question clearly is about the process of globalisation and whether it is a good or a bad
thing. However, you need to be careful not to just write a general globalisation essay.
Globalisation is a big idea and can refer to many different things. Here the question asks you to
focus on the concepts such as fashion, brands, eating habits and television. This means that you
need to refer to these concepts in your essay and not, for example, simply write about financial
or commercial globalisation.
Consider both sides of the issue
You should also note that you need to write about both sides of this issue. It would be a mistake
to write only about the disadvantages or advantages because of the way the question is worded.
You can only say if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages if you consider both.
Structuring the essay
The logical approach here is to write one paragraph about advantages and another about
disadvantages. Personally, I prefer to write about the opinion I disagree with first. You may
choose to do it the other way around.
Balance and making your essay coherent
Thinking about balance is one excellent way to make your writing more coherent. The general
idea is that the more balanced your essay is, the better it links together. This can work in
different ways:
1. essay structure linking the introduction and the conclusion
2. paragraphs balancing any ideas with explanations and examples
3. vocabulary repeating or reflecting vocabulary
1. Balancing your essay structure
the introduction and the conclusion should match: you outline your position in the introduction
and the conclusion repeats that position and adds the main ideas you have introduced in the
main body paragraphs of the essay.
the main body paragraphs should match: you want to make sure that each paragraph is clearly
about one main idea that relates to the question. Here, this should be quite easy. The main ideas
are:
cultural globalisation is a good thing
cultural globalisation is a bad thing
These ideas obviously balance each other and relate to the main question. All you need to do is
find reasons and examples to support those ideas.
The top tip here is to try and make the first sentence of each content paragraph reflect/balance
the language of the the previous paragraph. This makes the argument of your essay much easier
to follow and so more coherent. So, for example, if you start one paragraph with:
There are several reasons to argue that this form of cultural globalisation has had negative
consequences for society.
The next should begin with a sentence that reflects/balances that sentence so that the
reader/examiner can understand how the two paragraphs link together:
There are, however, also arguments that that the positive effects of this globalisation are more
significant.
In this way, the structure of your argument and the coherence of your essay is immediately
obvious. This is the intelligent way of writing Firstly, Secondly.
2. A balanced paragraph structure
The main idea here is that when you write your paragraphs, you do not just include ideas. If you
have too many ideas, it is likely that your essay will become confusing to read. What you want to
try and do is balance every idea with an explanation and/or an example. The benefit of this is
that you can develop one idea coherently.
A top tip here is that you want to start off with a very general point and then become more
detailed with each sentence. This allows the reader/examiner to follow your train of thought.
There are a number of ways in which this form of globalisation has had negative effects on
society. [Very general statement]. Perhaps the most significant of these is how there is now far
less diversity than before and that this has also lowered satndards. [more complex explanation].
A good example here is how one of the most popular meals in the world is McDonalds Happy
Meal, a dish that cannot compare to any of the national dishes it has replaced, such as a curry in
India or a hotpot in China. [balanced by a simple example]
3. Balancing your vocabulary
Another form of balance you want to consider is repeating or reflecting vocabulary in your essay.
The idea here is that if you keep on changing your words, it can make you essay harder to follow.
There are 3 separate ways in which you can do this:
1. repeating words
2. changing the form of the word
3. using a synonym or similar phrase
There are a number of positive aspects to this form of cultural globalisation. One
such aspect [repeated word] is how the new goods and services generally make out lives
more convenient and have improved our quality of life. For example, fast food chains such as
McDonalds provide us with convenience [change of word form] food that is much better adapted
to the pace of modern life. Indeed, few people nowadays can find the time to sit down [a phrase
with the same general meaning]and have a traditional meal in the middle of the day.
It is undoubtedly the case that the world today has become a global village. One of the effects of
this is that increasingly people in all corners of the world are exposed to similar services and
products and adopt similar habits. My view is that this is largely a beneficial process [personal
opinion balanced by the opinion in the conclusion]and in this essay I will explain why.
The first point to make is that there are some downsides to this process of cultural globalisation,
but these are relatively minor. The most significant of these disadvantages [balances/reflects
downsides in the previous sentence]is that it can weaken national culture and traditions. For
example, if people watch films and television programmes produced in the United States,
sometimes they adopt aspects of the lifestyle of the American characters they see on
television. Typically, however, this only affects minor details such as clothing and does not
seriously threaten national identity. [an example and explanation that balance and develop the
main idea of the paragraph that globalisation weakens national culture]
When we turn to the other side of the argument, there are two major points to make [balances
the language of the first paragraph - the structure is clear] in favour of this process. The first of
these is that the more we share habits, products and services, the better we understand each
other and this reduces prejudice against other nations. The other point relates tomodernity. It is
a sign of progress [balances/reflects modernity in the previous sentence] in a society that people
no longer are restricted to brands and advertisements from their own society but are able to
access more international goods. If, for example, there were unable to drink Coca Cola or wear
Nike, [two famous brands, reflecting/balancing brands in the previous sentence] then that would
mean their society [repeated language] was not part of the international community.
In conclusion, I understand the point of view of people who worry about cultural globalisation
because it is a threat to national traditions [summary of first paragraph]. However, this is
outweighed by its positive impact on international understanding and the fact that it represents
progress within a society [summary of second paragraph].


WRITE ON
Some people think that spending a lot on holding wedding parties, birthday parties and other
celebrations is just a waste of money. Others, however, think that these are necessary for
individuals and the society. Discuss both views and give your opinion.








KEY WORDS for IELTS WRITING

Stating Your Opinion
In my opinion, According to me,
In my view, To me,
From my point of view, I think
It seems to me that I believe
From my perspective To my way of thinking
It appears that I suppose
I realize I understand
I imagine I feel

Giving Examples
For example, For instance,
such as In other words,
as like
that is namely
To illustrate To paraphrase

Comparing
Similar to As...as
in common also
Either...or In the same way,
Neither...nor At the same time
Just as resemble

Contrasting
However, But
On the contrary, On the other hand,
Differ from Nevertheless
Although Though
Otherwise Instead
Alternatively, Even though

Generalizing
Generally, Generally speaking,
Overall, On the whole,
In general, By and large,
It seems to me that I believe
All in all, Basically,
Essentially, As a rule,
All things considered For the most part

Expressing Certainty
Certainly, Undoubtedly,
Doubtless, No doubt,
Definitely, Of course,

Expressing Partial Agreement
More or less, To some extent,
Up to a point, Almost,
In a way, So to speak,
Showing cause
Due to Because
Because of Owing to

Showing effect
Therefore, As a result,
Consequently, For this reason,
Thus, So,
thereby Eventually,
Hence, The reason why

Marking time
First, Last
Second, Lastly,
Third, Then,
Firstly, First of all,
Secondly, Before
Thirdly, After
During While
To begin with At the same time
Simultaneously After this / that
Since Meanwhile
Afterwards Following this
When As soon as

Adding Information
Furthermore In addition
Also And
Moreover Similarly
Likewise As well as
Besides Too
Even Whats more

Expressing condition
If Whether
In case Unless
Provided that So that

Concluding
To summarize In conclusion
Lastly, Finally,
To conclude with, In short,