IELTS GT Letter 2017 with Model Answer

The IELTS General Training letter below was reported in the IELTS test this year. It is a typical formal letter that can appear in IELTS GT writing task 1. The task was reproduced as accurately as possible by IELTS students.
IELTS General Training writing task 1 is a letter which you must write in 20 mins with over 150 words. You can find useful tips on this page: Essential Tips for IELTS GT Letter Writing. For more useful links, see below.

IELTS General Training Letter 2017

You recently read an article in newspaper about someone you know personally. You found some information is wrong. Write a letter to editor to inform him about it. Use following points:
  • What is the article about?
  • What is the error?
  • What you expect an editor to do?

IELTS GT Letter Model Answer

  • Spot the errors in the letter below to find out why this letter didn’t get band 9.
Dear Sir,
I am writing to you regarding the recent article you published about Sir David Markham last week, April 2nd , in The Times newspaper.
The article gives a breif biography of Sir David’s life and then continues to focus on his work and the impact it has had. The biography starts with his birth in Edinburgh and his later move in 1962 to Durham University. From there, it focuses on his work with the UN.
I would like to point out an error in your article. Documentation shows that Sir David did not go directly from Edinburgh to the University of Durham, in 1961. In fact he took a gap year in Europe working with a volunteer program and then went to University in 1962.  I know this as I worked with him in Europe and become friends with him. His year abroad, which is absent from your article, created the foundation of his philosophy of life which guided him through his work in later years.
I hope you will publish this correction in the newspaper. Sir David’s work is still of immense importance and people should know the importance of that gap year in his life.
Looking forward to a positive reply.
Yours sincerely,
Jane Frankland
Comments: Estimated band score 8. The task has been completed but there are some issues with the letter. Below are a few points highlighted:
1) Second Paragraph: breif = brief
2) Third Paragraph: become friends = became friends
3) Yours sincerely = Yours faithfully
 Signing off the name without a title (optional)

IELTS General Training Useful Links:

 Click links below to open …
IELTS GT Model Letter: Complaint Model Letter
IELTS GT Model Letter: Invitation Model Letter
For IELTS speaking and listening, all students take the same test. See the main pages below:


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  1. Hello liz, thanks for all you do.
    Please i have a quick question.
    While taking the Paper based writing test, would marks be deducted for cancellation? For example i made a mistake and decide to stoke it.

    • It is fine to delete a word or phrase and write new words next to the deleted words or above. As long as your writing is easy to read and deleted words are clearly deleted, it’s all fine.

  2. Hi Liz , your site is very informative thanks for all the explanation.
    when i have counted the words they are around 200 . Is this acceptable in IELTS writing

    • The aim is usually between 170 and 190 words for most people in task 1. However, there is no upper limit. I certainly would not write much more than 200.

  3. Aditi Dhilip says

    Can I use imagination to write the content for this topic or is it really necessary to know the biographies of a person? (As in the paragraph, it is about Sir David)

    Thank you Liz. I just like the tips and advice you give to crack with a decent score. Great work!

  4. Thanks for your wonderful tips/videos. For a formal letter in writing task 1, is it required to use a signature before writing names at the end of the letter?

  5. Hello Liz,
    I and my husband have been practising your practice letters and it would be great if we could get some help. It is about the practice lesson as follows:

    You are applying for a job and need a letter of reference.
    Write a letter to a former teacher. In your letter:
    1) Give details of the job.
    2) Explain why it is important to you.
    3) Suggest what information your teacher could put in the reference.

    We both attempted the above question and one of us interpreted the second point as the importance of the reference letter and the other as the importance of the job.
    Which one is right and why?
    Though there is a thin line between both the interpretations, does it matter if we choose the less correct one?
    Also, Is the above point really tricky or it is just us who are making it unnecessarily confusing?

    Thank a lot!

    • The whole letter is about the job – details of the job, why the job is important to you and finally what the teacher can put in the reference which will help you (get the job). The word “it” refers back to the previous bullet point.

  6. Ifeyinwa says

    Hi Liz, thanks for the selfless service which you have been offering especially to people like me. I will like you to proof read my essays and make necessary corrections, will that be possible? I am really grateful for all the information gotten from your website.

  7. Chioma-uche says

    Hi Liz,
    The sample letters I’ve gone through in your page are not addressed.
    Please I want to know if it’s not relevant to address letters during the ielts test

    • No. This is not a real letter. It is an English test. You write the letter without an address at the top – no date, no address. If you needed an address I would put it on the letters. I would do post model letters that are flawed.

  8. Ravandeep kaur says

    Really useful…..

  9. Ankita Sharma says

    Hi Liz,

    Visited the website for the first time. Really liked it. Could you clear the doubt regarding word limit in IELTS GT Writing. How many maximum words can one write for letter as well as essay

  10. Jimmy Cliff says

    Grammatical error:
    .. worked with him in Europe and ‘become’ friends with him …

    • As you see above, there are instructions to spot the mistakes in the letter. The mistakes are listed in the comments below the letter.

  11. Really useful

  12. Dear Liz,
    Thank you very much for the model answer. I have a doubt.

    Should we put our own signature and name at the end for closing Letter writing task? Or should we use an arbitrary one?
    Yours Sincerely,
    Alex Paul

  13. Krishnaprasad says


    For the letter to the Editor, I was wondering why should the letter end with Your’s faithfully, instead of Your’s sincerely ? This is a formal letter right written to an editor and it has Dear Sir in the title.

    • Did you read this page properly? This page is a letter which consists of errors that you need to spot. It is written:

      Spot the errors in the letter below to find out why this letter didn’t get band 9.

      Please read my lessons more carefully.

  14. Hello mam
    Your site is very helpful for all the students and for me also
    But I have little bit confusion about the gt letter
    i:e can I mention the date in letter

    • As you see with my model letters, there is no date at the start of the letter. This isn’t a real letter – it’s an English test.

  15. Hi. I have just subscribed to one of your Advanced writing lessons. I’m overwhelmed how you explain and help exam takers score better bands.
    Would like to ask is “advertisement” same as article? The question says article.. can i talk about the advertisement that was posted for a sale of a car by my close relative has incorrect information?

  16. Dear Sir,
    I am writing this letter in reference to recent article published in your newspaper on 23rd April in the innovation section of page 4.The article about production of subsidised cotton with the help of local farmers and woman.
    However , I would like to point out an error regarding the location of the production activity involved. The actual location is Nageshwar whereas in the article it says Mangleshwar.I know this from the fact that I have visited the facility myself and the social worker is a good friend of mine.
    I hope you will publish this correction in the newspaper as the work is of tremendous importance to social workers and the capital ventures funding it
    looking for a positive reply
    kind regards,

  17. Hi Liz,
    As I know when we write a letter, we should indent the first line of each paragraph and leave one line between the paragraphs so that the letter will look nicer. Besides, when I write a letter, the part of “signing off” is written on the right hand corner and ends with a comma. However, when I look at the sample letters in Ielts, I have not seen anything similar. Can you please tell me if what I have known before is wrong?
    I look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Best regards,
    Dung Pham

    • IELTS do not require the things you have mentioned. The examiner is looking for clear paragraphs and that’s all.

      • Hello Liz,

        Great work here. The question raised by Dung Pham is exactly what I wanted to ask before seeing his post. However, your response didn’t clearly state what is to be done. I kindly want to seek your indulgence on specific response especially on the issue of “paragraphing”- should I leave a line in between paragraphs or indent? It is important as the letter is handwritten and where I don’t have a strategy to use on test day, first 2 minutes may set in confusion as to what is the best approach. I experienced it during my first test and I guess it’s better to be prepared to the last nitty gritty details for this 2nd attempt.

        Thanks Liz.

        • The examiner needs to see clear paragraphing – that’s all. There are no other rules. You can indent or you can leave an empty line between paragraphs. The latter is easier for the examiner to see.

  18. Dear Sir,

    I am writing this letter with regards to an article published last Saturday in your newspaper about Mr Smith.

    The article was about his political involvement starting from high school through to the parliament where he is now serving as a member. The newsletter stated that Mr Smith served as president of the student council for four years, from 2002 to 2006, while he studied his undergraduate degree at the University of London.

    However, I was his classmate during that time and I know him very well that he only served two out of four years as a president. In both 2002 and 2003, he was a candidate but lost the election and the winner of both years was a lady named Margaret. You can verify this from the university’s registrar as they keep all records.

    Finally, I would like you to correct the mistake by taking my letter as a first-hand information and by doing your investigation regarding this case. If you do not do that, in my opinion, it will reduce the credibility of the newspaper as the information you are publishing are not accurate.

    Looking forward to reading the updated article.

    Yours faithfully
    Mr Johnson Clarke

  19. Vimal Kamothi says

    Hi Liz,

    Is it fine to write task 1 and task 2 using pencils ? This is in order to erase in case of made any mistakes and can change the sentences.


  20. Heather Mary Herbert says

    Hi Liz,

    In this letter sample you have mentioned that there are 4 problems with it. The last problem you have pointed out is that it has been signed off without a title.
    Can you please tell me if it’s really necessary to sign off formal/semi-formal letters with a title? I checked in your list of tips for letter writing but I didn’t see you mention it there.(maybe I missed it?)
    For e.g: Is this how it should be?
    Yours faithfully
    Ms.Heather Herbert

    • For formal letters, you can use a title if you want. However, some people nowadays don’t. But you will need both the first name and family name. For an informal letter, you sign off only with your first name and never with a title.

  21. Patricia Cortezzi says

    Liz, I really, really like your website and tips. You’re one of the best online IELTS teachers ever!

  22. Evana Rahman says

    Hi Liz. Do I need to mention date on top left corner while writing letter?

  23. Dear Liz,
    First of all bundle of thanks for your videos and precious IELTS material.
    I could not find General IELTS writing Task 1 videos on youtube. However tips i have received. Can you please share the link if there are vidoes.

    • Sorry, I don’t have any videos made for GT yet. Don’t forget you can learn from all my writing task 2 lessons because they are the same for academic and gt tests.

  24. Hi Liz,
    My question is regarding the pattern of a letter. Do we have to leave a 2 finger space when we begin a new paragraph in a letter?

  25. Hello mam,
    I have one question regarding ielts GT writing task one which is letter. I want to know in the end of the letter after yours faithfully or yours sincerely name is written or not ? For instance
    Yours faithfully,
    Bhupinder Pal
    Yours sincerely,
    Bhupinder pal
    Or I have to write only yours faithfully without name ?

  26. Mam ,
    You are a gem. God bless you.

  27. Hello mam…i want to confirm one it mandatory to write date in the end of formal and semiformal letters?

  28. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your lessons. I have a few questions regarding this writing task.

    I’ve been using the IELTS Master website to practice my writing and I noticed that they don’t sign off with titles in their names (formal letters included). Could one lose marks for not including a title when they sign off? Also, when I tried out this question, I wrote about my close friend’s business. Is this acceptable or do we have to write about the person specifically?


    • You won’t lose marks if you don’t use a title. However, for a formal letters you MUST write your full name. But for an informal letter you write only your first name.

  29. Hi Liz
    I want to clarify my doubt.

    If the answer is 25% as per the information provided.
    Instruction is given as NOT MORE THAN THREE WORDS.
    How shud I write the answer as;
    Twenty five percent or 25 per cent or 25%

    Is per cent counted as two words or one?

    • Always write “25%”, although the other options are possible.

      • Hi Liz,

        A quick question. When the instruction says NOT MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR ONE NUMBER, do this mean its just three words or a number?
        is this below example correct?
        25% OF THE TOTAL (This contains both the three words and a number)

        • It means it can be three words and a number, two words and a number, one word and a number but not four words with a number. It could also be a number only.

  30. Noureldin says

    Dear Liz,
    Thank you for being very helpful through all the past months and all your videos and tips.
    I scheduled my Ielts exam (General practice) on 13th May 2017. I did many Listing, Reading and Writing tests and i am doing vocabularies. Now, that i am in the stage of running out of plans, and need your advise for the strategies of the 11 days to the exam. Please please advise.

    • Have you done practice tests? I mean full tests under exam conditions. This means you get authentic tests published by IELTS and do listening, reading and writing in 2 hours 40 mins without a break – also including using answer sheets etc. You MUST start practising full tests. You can find a link to one free test here:

    • I’m taking the exam the 13rd too. I have done a lot of practice with the IELTS BOOK. Unfortunately for GT there are 2 Reading and Writing per book, but the listening is the same for both GT and AC, so you have plenty of excersices to do (4 listening and speaking per book). Wish the best for you.

      • Noureldin says

        Hi Bruno,
        Thank you for your concern and advise, to repay you :), try the” Cambridge Ielts 11 book for General training, there are 4 tests (listening, reading, writing and speaking), they were very helpful. and i suggest -as well- to try what Liz advised me to do full authentic Ielts timed test. All the best.
        PS: when you said IELTS BOOK, did you mean Cambridge book or other book?

  31. I have a question regarding contradictions. you mentioned we should not use contradictions in a formal writing. How about speaking test , for example, task 3, ( discussion). We should not use contradiction in a formal speaking either ?

    • The IELTS speaking test is not formal – the entire speaking test is informal. Also you are marked on pronunciation, using “it’s” is a pronunciation feature which is good for your band score. So, for speaking, yes use contractions.

      • thank you, liz
        than I should not use passive sentence in the speaking test either ?

        • You use passive voice when it is grammatically correct to use it, for example “the building was constructed in 2010” or “the story was written …” – these sentences might be needed in either writing or speaking. Remember this is a language test, it is about using English correctly and selecting the right tense to use at the right time. Review your basic and intermediate English grammar.

          • Hello Liz,
            Yes, but for example,
            it is argued that ……or I could argue that ….
            These sentences are too formal for speaking test, even for task 3 ?

            • It is argued…” is about other people’s opinions. “I could argue that…” is not usually used in answering direct speaking questions. This is not a formal speaking test. You need to relax and speak naturally. Imagine you are talking to a friend.


    Hi Liz,

    Thanks so much for your online videos,they helped during my preparation. My writing band moved up to band 7 after following your recommendations.

    God bless you.

    Best Online IELTS teacher,no doubt

    • i’m so impressed! Well done! It’s not easy to boost your writing score to 7. You should be proud of that!! And thank you for saying my online materials helped you. Thank you for supporting me 🙂

  33. Hi Liz,

    I am bit perplexed with one of the sentences used in the second paragraph of the letter. Is it right to use become friends instead of became friends?

  34. Hello Liz, you mentioned that task 2 for academic has 2 options, 4 or 5 paragraph in total. Does this mean I can write two supporting ideas after introduction ( like firstly, secondly and then conclusion) if I want 4 paragraph ? And does it also the same for task 2 general ? I am asking this because when I learned academic writing, i was taught I need 3 supporting ideas between introduction and conclusion.

  35. Hi Liz,
    Thanks you very much for such brilliant sample test with answer.
    When you repeated University, why you wrote it with capital (U) and without an article (THE) as you were talking about a definite university? As far I was thinking, it should be (and then went to the university).

    Please elaborate,

    Yours sincerely,

  36. I really appreciate your teaching style and the tips you mentioned ,however i have a comment on your webpages that it is not interactive that mean too many links .

    • Each link is a free page of tips. Surely that’s good? All links are accessed through the main pages: Sure it’s great for students to see a page with such a long list of links providing free lessons. Let me know what you think – I’m interested to know because I’m planning to redesign my website.

      • Hi Liz,

        With so many links, a student tends to loose focus on what he/she was reading earlier. Otherwise, your website is amazing and it is the best source to access some wonderful tips for IELTS.

  37. Hello Liz,
    I want to ask is there penalty for someone who write above 150 words? If the wordings is above 150 words can this earn the candidate additional marks.

    • You MUST write over 150 words. These are the rules. If you write under the word count, you will be penalised.

  38. Deepika Gupta says

    Liz, I feel this answer is not in line with the task. The question says you must know the person. How can one write about some famous person? Thanks

  39. Amit Sinha says

    Hi Liz,

    I am grateful to you for indeed an amazing job that you are doing of imparting your precious knowledge .
    I have to take ielts general exam on 13th may and i am struggling with writing.Recently i saw I recently saw a discussion essay question and tried to answer it.Would you help me understanding my errors.Here it goes.

    question : “Prevention is better than cure”.Researching and treating disease is too costly so it would be better to invest in preventive measures.

    answer. It is often argued that money should be spent wisely in preventive measures rather spending in treatment of diseases.In my opinion,i believe that it is always better to spend in prevention of diseases.This essay will discuss that how a precise planning with the help of insurance policies ,and regular health check up support this view.

    Firstly,an effective planning of dealing with health issues should be the first priority.This is because it will allow us to refrain from spending enormous amount of money at the time of treatment of disease.Also,with th growing competition between companies offering policies,it is now easy to afford their interest rate.For instance,Bajaj health insurance policy offers a plan of 4 lackhs with a monthly interst of Rs 1000 which is quite affordable.Thus it is agreed that it is sagacious way of saving money for unpredictable situation.

    Secondly,a regular health checkup ensures that we are spending our income on right place.Consultation with a doctor makes us aware of possible health issues and ways of dealing with it.Although it requires us to spend money on regular basis,but it is always appreciated as it saves us from potential damages.

    In conclusion,it is agreed that spending on prevention is way better than putting our expenditure in treatment of ailments which requires us to spend major part of our saving.Individuals should decide wisely about right investment when it comes to health issues.

  40. Dear Liz

    Thank you for the wonderful lessons you give . You are a true blessing to me and to many I believe.
    I have my test on 29th of April and I am aiming for a bandscore 8. I want to make sure I score well in writing .
    Would you please tell me if I understand the below points right .
    1. Dear Sir/Madam—Yours faithfully
    2. Dear Mr. John—-Yours sincerely
    3. Dear Jamie ( an informal letter to a friend)
    Can I use just


    Ashish is my name . Or should I use” Yours lovingly ” and then name?

    Can you please send me the link of few sample greetings and closing to score high.

    Thank you so much for all the help. 😊

  41. Hong Nghia says

    Dear teacher ! in Vietnam, until now nobody even Ietls training schools mention about this- change to write a letter. So how i can adopt with this, i have only 1 months left to take the exam.

  42. Hello Liz,

    I am so happy to see that you shared GT writing exercises too.

  43. can we use template for the task 2 for academic

  44. ganesh pawar says

    great article mam..
    keep us guiding, as im preparing for IELTS general

  45. Thank you so much like 4 this post

  46. Simon Bullock says

    Hi Liz
    I love your site and strongly encourage all my students to use it.
    Just a small point regarding your model General writing Task 1.
    ‘Dear Sir… yours sincerely’
    Have things changed? I was always taught that with ‘Sir/Madam’ we use ‘yours faithfully’.

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