The IELTS General Writing Task measures your ability to communicate about common practical issues. You have 20 minutes to respond to the question prompt, by writing a letter to a person, company, or institution. Your response is worth about 30% of the writing score and is graded separately from the Task 2 essay.
Planning a Formal Letter
People don’t normally plan letters but in the IELTS test you will really should. In fact, we have met very few students who wrote a band 9 letter and didn’t make a plan before writing. As you can see the above, all task questions on the General Training paper follow the same format. They will first tell you the situation and then give you the three bullet points that you have to cover. This is a very good news for us because it means we can follow the same structure every time.
Understand Different Types of Letter
There are three forms of letters in the IELTS: a formal letter, a personal letter, or a semi-formal letter. We explain these are more in the Magoosh IELTS prep product. Formal letters are writing to someone you don’t know, such as a company. Semi-formal letters are writing to someone you don’t know well, such as your professor. Personal letters are writing to someone you know very well, such as a friend.
Stay on topic
In order to complete the letter within 20 minutes or less, practice writing letters where you stick to the point. The General IELTS Task does require to make up a bit of a story to complete your letter, but don't make your story so complicated that you run out of time.