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20 Recent IELTS General Training Task 1 Questions

20 Recent IELTS General Training Task 1 Questions

Since publishing my blog post 50 recent IELTS essay questions (General Training and Academic), I have been flooded with requests for similar posts for Task One questions. So, today, I want to share some recent IELTS General Training Task 1 questions that appeared in the January 2021 exams.

Again, these are questions that were reported by students of My IELTS Classroom that I have edited to be as close as possible to the real questions. However, I want to make it very clear that these are only reproductions of the exam questions. Therefore, if you have one of these questions in your exams CHECK THE BULLETS VERY CAREFULLY. I only have the memory of my students to help me write these questions and in the real exam the wording of the questions may be slightly (or extremely) different. So, as a disclaimer, I want to clearly state that

  1. it is highly unlikely that you will get one of these questions in your exam – I have reproduced these as practice material not “cheat sheets”.You should make sure that you have language to cover all of the common letter functions (i.e. apologising, suggesting, offering, complaining, etc) and write the three styles of letter (informal, semi-formal, formal).
  2. I cannot guarantee that these questions are 100% the same as the real exam questions. Always read the task carefully in your test (even if you recognise the question from this post). Check the bullets twice to make sure that you cover every single point.

Remember, if you do not address all parts of the bullets, you will receive a 4.0 for Task Achievement.

A woman stands in front of a white board that has an IELTS task on it and the images of two people, which represent how you can decide if your letter is formal, informal, or semi-formal
If you want to know why addressing the bullets is so important, watch my FREE Introduction to GT Task 1 video

OK, now that I have fulfilled my moral duty to protect you in the exam, here are the questions. I have divided them into informal, semi-formal, and formal for you, and made some useful comments where I could. Have fun!


Informal Letters

There were relatively few informal questions reported in January. Unlike last year, when there were a wide range of questions and some for topics I have never seen before, I have only heard of three questions in 2021.

A woman stands in front of a whiteboard next to a set of traffic lights that are used as a metaphor to show how IELTS essays are organised
Did you know that EVERY IELTS letter can be organised in the same way? Click here to find out how!

Therefore, if you would like to practice with a wide range of questions, I recommend that you look at our 2020 IELTS letter archive to find more topics that you can use in your preparation until I can add more prompts from the exams in February.

You recently went to a public event (for example an exhibition, festival, or show) that you think your friend would enjoy. Write a letter to friend. In your letter

 

  • tell your friend what the event was
  • explain why you think your friend would like the event
  • invite them to come to the event with you

You recently went to visit a friend in their new home. Write a letter to your friend. In your letter

 

  • tell your friend what you liked about his/her new house
  • say what you did or enjoyed most about your stay with your friend
  • suggest when and where you could meet your friend next

You are going to throw a party and would like to cook a special dish for your guests but do not have the recipe. Write a letter to your friend. In your letter

  • tell your friend why you are having a party
  • explain what dish you want to cook and ask your friend for the recipe
  • invite your friend to the party

You can listen to Nick and I discuss EIGHT of these prompts and how we would address them in our latest podcast episode!


Semi-formal Letters

Just like in 2020, January saw the usual range of recipients of semi-formal letters (neighbours, colleagues and bosses) but there where some topics that I had never seen before

  • asking your boss to move from full-time to part-time work
  • complaining that your working environment has made you sick

If you don’t know what the difference is between a “formal” and “semi-formal” letter, then I strongly recommend that you watch my free video lesson, which clearly explains how the formality of your letter will affect the tone.

Three sets of clothes sit on a yellow background. A suit to illustrate formal letters, jeans and a t-shirt to present informal letters, and a suit jacket and jeans to represent semi-formal
Learn the difference here!

Writing a mixed tone letter is one of the most common errors that I saw as an examiner and will also result in a very low Task Achievement score.

You recently celebrated a special occasion in your personal life and received a card and a present from your colleagues at work. Write a letter to your colleagues. In your letter

 

  • remind your colleagues what the special occasion you were celebrating was
  • thank them for the card and gift
  • explain why you like the gift and how you will use it

You rent an apartment. You want to tell your landlord that you are happy with the apartment in general, but there are some small repairs that need to be carried out. Write a letter to your landlord. In your letter

 

  • say what you like about the apartment
  • describe the repairs that need to be made
  • explain how the repairs will improve your quality of life

You have seen a course advertised online that you think would help you perform better at work. The course will take place during the week, so you will need to take time off work.

Write a letter to your manager. In the letter

  • say what the course is
  • explain why you want to do the course and how it will be beneficial to the company
  • suggest how your work can be covered while you attend the course.

You work in an office and have recently been experiencing a health problem. You think that the problem started because of the working conditions in the office. Write a letter to your manager. In your letter

 

  • describe the health problem
  • explain why you think it was caused by conditions in the office
  • suggest what the manager should do to improve the working conditions in the office

You are applying for a job in an international company. You would like to ask your previous employer to write a reference letter for you. Write a letter to your previous manager. In your letter

 

  • remind your manager of the job you previously held in the company
  • tell him / her what position you are applying for and why you want it
  • ask him / her to provide you with a reference letter

You currently work full-time in a company but would like to change to working part-time. Write a letter to your manager. In your letter

 

  • explain why you would like to change to working part-time work
  • say what times and days of the week would suit you best
  • suggest how your work could be covered or completed if you work part-time

You are currently taking an evening course at a local community college. However, you are not happy with the course. Write a letter to the manager of the college. In your letter

 

  • say which course you are taking
  • explain what the problem is with the course
  • suggest what the manager should do to improve the course

Formal Letters

While there have been relatively few informal letters so far in 2021, the number and range of formal letters has definitely increased. And, while we still have the usual letters of complaint, there area number of new question types here, which I would encourage you to practice before your test. The question that asks you to write to an antiques shop is especially unique!

Want to listen to two former examiners explain how you can make sure you fully address prompts that ask you to write a Formal and Semi-formal letter? You can! Just click on the player below:

You have some documents that you need to be translated into another language as soon as possible. Write a letter to a translation agency. In your letter

 

  • say what the documents are
  • explain why you need them to be translated
  • ask for the documents to be translated urgently

You own an old item that you think is valuable and would like to sell. Write a letter to the owner of an antique’s shop. In your letter

 

  • explain how you found the shop
  • describe the item that you would like to sell
  • say how much you would like to sell the item for

You have seen an advertisement in the local newspaper for swimming lessons at your community sports centre. You want to find out more about these lessons. Write a letter to the manager of the sports centreIn the letter

 

  • describe how well you can swim at the moment
  • explain why you want to learn to swim better
  • enquire about the time and cost of the swimming lessons

You recently stayed in a hotel and left an item in the room. Write a letter to the manager of the hotel. In your letter:

 

  • describe the item that you left in the room
  • explain where you think the item might be
  • suggest how the manager can return the item to you

You have made a reservation in a hotel for a business trip for you and your colleagues. However, you need to make some changes to your booking. Write a letter to the hotel manager. In your letter

 

  • give details of your current booking
  • explain what changes you need to make and why
  • ask the manager to make some special arrangements for your business meetings

You have seen an advert in a newspaper for a part-time voluntary job working with children. Write a letter to the employment agency. In the letter

 

  • say what the job you wish to apply for is
  • explain why you want to apply for the job
  • describe some of the skills and qualities you have that would be useful

A local sports event is looking for people to voluntary/unpaid work. Write a letter to the organisers of the sports event to apply for the voluntary/unpaid work. In the letter

 

  • explain why you want to do voluntary/unpaid work at the sports event
  • describe some of the skills and qualities you have that would be useful
  • suggest exactly how you could help at the event

You have discovered a lot of rubbish in a lake near where you live. In the past, the lake had always been clean. Write a letter to the local council. In the letter

 

  • describe the type of rubbish that you saw in the lake
  • explain where you think the waste has come from
  • suggest what the council should do about the problem

You live in a block of flats. Your neighbour makes a lot of noise which is causing you some problems. Write a letter to your landlord. In the letter

 

  • describe the noise that your neighbours are making
  • explain how it is affecting you
  • suggest what your landlord could do about the problem

You are a member of a local gym. Recently, there has been a problem in the changing area. You have reported this to the staff several times, but no action was taken. Write a letter to the manager of the gym. In your letter

 

  • describe the problem in the changing area
  • explain who you reported the problem to before
  • suggest what should be done about the problem

I hope that you find this guide to recent IELTS General Training Task 1 Questions useful. Remember that we teach how to answer every type of letter in our General Training Task One course, which to only includes lessons on organisation, but also useful language structures that will make your letters sound 100% natural (which really is the key to a high score).

Learn how to tackle every type of IELTS letter in my 12-hour video course

Just click here to watch the first three lessons for free, and start your journey to a high IELTS score today 🚀

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