Image courtesy of davide vizzini via Flickr (CC 2.0)
In the first part, we spoke of two tips to score well in the IELTS letter writing task: following letter-writing rules and adding finer details. Here are three more:
- Fully develop bullet points
The letter-writing task in IELTS requires test takers to include specific information, which is generally presented in the form of three bullet points. Here’s a sample task:
A friend has agreed to look after your house and pet while you are on holiday.
Write a letter to your friend. In your letter
· give contact details for when you are away
· give instructions about how to care for your pet
· describe other household duties
Remember, each bullet point has to be fully developed, so a passing reference wouldn’t be enough. For example, to fully extend the first bullet point, you could provide alternative ways of contacting you.
I’ll be staying at The Grand Hotel in Krakow, so you can always call me there, or leave a message if I’m out. If it’s something urgent though, I’d like you to ring my colleague Jake’s mobile, as I don’t have international roaming. I’ve jotted down the numbers on a sheet of paper and stuck it on the kitchen door so that you don’t lose them – we both know your memory isn’t great!
- Keep the writing style consistent
The writing style you employ mainly depends on two factors: how well you are supposed to know the person you are writing to and why you are writing. It’s important that the style you use is consistent across the letter. In the above example, a reference to your friend’s poor memory lends the letter an informal feel. Further, the use of the exclamation mark at the end, and informal words such as jot down, help maintain the friendly tone.
- Produce a full, connected text
Your letter should be a full, connected text, which means use of bullet points or note form will attract an immediate penalty. While most candidates are aware of the importance of linking sentences within a paragraph, few think of establishing a connection between paragraphs. See if you can achieve this.
Most importantly, no matter how well-written your letter is, all that hard work will go down the drain if you don’t meet the word limit, so be sure to write more than 150 words.
So, follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to doing well in the IELTS letter-writing task.
|passing reference (to something)|
|Meaning||:||brief mention (of something)|
|Example||:||The boss made a passing reference to lack of punctuality among staff.|
|Meaning||:||to use something|
|Example||:||The police had to employ force to stop protesters from entering the mayor’s office.|
|Meaning||:||to give a particular quality to something|
|Example||:||The minister’s presence will certainly lend the campaign some importance.|
|go down the drain|
|Meaning||:||to be wasted|
|Example||:||If it rains, the sand castles will collapse, and all our hard work will go down the drain.|