How to do Task One General Task Achievement

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General Writing task one of the writing component is a letter-writing task. And just as in task two, it’s not just the grammar and vocabulary you use that will earn you a high score, it’s also about how you approach writing the letter and answering the question prompt. Ways to slip up on this part are mixing up the tone of the letter (i.e. switching between formal and informal writing), not addressing all the points you need to, and bad formatting. Here are three things to remember to help you achieve your best band in the 20 minutes of task one.

1: Decide who you are writing to and keep the tone appropriate
You will note from the question prompt very soon whether it is a friend living abroad who is to give you emigration advice or the employer of a prospective company. Visualise this person (perhaps an ex-boss or a good acquaintance), write Dear NAME, and then keep the tone of the rest of the letter accordingly, be it formal, warm, distant.

2: Three points in the question means three separate paragraphs
There will invariably be three points you need to address so keep them to their own paragraphs each, and develop the paragraphs with several sentences so that they are all equal in length. An introductory paragraph to touch base with the recipient and to say what you’re writing about is also very letter-like.

3: A fictitious story may help
If you are asked to write to your foreign friend about visiting their country, you may find you’re given a golden opportunity to write about that country that is always on your mind and that you’ve learnt a bunch of words about already. If you’re a nurse and already have a lexicon of anatomical and medical words in your head, then why not use language about broken legs and a much needed rest period to tackle that letter to your boss detailing an excuse as to why you need to take a week off. Bend the theme of the letter to suit your word needs without alienating the story.

And one final piece of advice, avoid writing in list format and if you really are indoubt about the level of formality, go with formal as there’s a wider range of grammar you can show off, namely polite modal verbs.