info@bestmytest.com Looking for TOEFL prep?
ielts guide

IELTS General Writing Task 1 - Semi-formal Letters Questions

Ron Ross October 2nd, 2019

This section presents a list of common IELTS General Writing Task 1 - Semi-formal Letter questions. If you want to prepare for the IELTS Writing Test, these questions are a must study.

Question 1

You were absent from an important event held by the company you work for.

Write a letter to your manager. In your letter:

  • Apologize for your absence and explain the reasoning
  • Explain why you had to be at the other event
  • Explain what you will do to catch up

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Mr. Brannagan

Model Essay

Transition words are highlighted in red
Advanced grammar structures are highlighted in green
Topic vocabulary are highlighted in blue

Dear Mr. Brannagan,

I am writing in regard to my absence from the annual company business meeting held last week.

First off, I would like to formally apologize for not being able to attend the business meeting. I recognize the importance of the event, especially in terms of networking and growing as a team. However, my mother had an invasive spinal surgery last weekend, and I spent the last week taking care of her at home.

While the surgery was not life-threatening, it was not a routine procedure, either. My mother required constant assistance and faces a long road to recovery. Since I am an only child, my mother relied on me during this difficult recovery period, and my presence was a necessary part of her well-being.


In order to catch up on what was covered during the event, I have scheduled a meeting with Mr. Harris from the Finance Department. After meeting with Mr. Harris, I am confident that I will be brought up to speed with the rest of the team and ready to start working.

Thank you for understanding.

Sincerely,
John Traynor


Word Count: 185

PRACTICE ON OUR IELTS APP

Question 2

You need to take some time off of work to go on holiday.

Write a letter to your direct manager. In your letter:

  • Ask for time off and explain why
  • Provide the dates and times for which you will be unavailable to work
  • Describe what you will do to prepare or make up for your absence

Write at least 150 words. 

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Ms. Snyder,

Model Essay

Transition words are highlighted in red
Advanced grammar structures are highlighted in green
Topic vocabulary are highlighted in blue

Dear Ms. Snyder, 

I am writing to request time off for an annual holiday trip with my family. 

Each year, my extended family members plan a family reunion in Sacramento, California. Since we all live so far away, these reunions have always been great opportunities for us to see each other and reconnect. It is for this reason that I would need to use some of my holiday time in August. 

Since the reunion falls on Sunday, August 25th, I would be available to work up until Friday, August 24th. Thus, I am formally requesting time off from Monday, August 26th until Friday, August 30th. I would be available to return to work on Monday, September 2nd.

I fully realize that August is our busiest period, and taking holiday during this time could potentially increase the workload of my colleagues. As such, I would be more than happy to take on any overtime in early August or during the month of September. 

Thank you for your understanding. I look forward to your response. 

Sincerely, 

Becky Range
 

Word Count: 176

PRACTICE ON OUR IELTS APP

Question 3:

You are due to move into a rented apartment next week but you will not be able to due to an unexpected problem.

Write a letter to the property manager. In your letter

  • Explain the situation
  • Describe your problems
  • Tell him/her when you think you can move in

Write at least 150 words. 

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Ms. Williams


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 4:

You applied to a job, were offered the position, but have decided not to accept the offer.

Write a letter to the HR supervisor with whom you interviewed. In your letter:

  • Explain the reason why you are declining the offer
  • Describe your reasons for staying with your current position
  • Express your gratitude

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Ms. Barry,


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 5:

You have been living in a rental apartment for the past year. Recently, a new neighbor moved in who has loud parties several times a week.

Write a letter to your landlord. In your letter:

  • Explain the situation
  • Describe why it bothers you
  • Suggest a solution

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Mr. Ronch


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 6:

You are having a graduation party next Sunday evening. You have invited over 25 people to celebrate in your garden, which may continue late into the night.

Write a letter to your elderly neighbor. In your letter:

  • Explain what will be happening
  • Offer your apologies in advance
  • Invite him to join the celebration

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Mr. Kulligowski


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 7:

Although you are meant to present your thesis project in one month, your sister is getting married in Spain at the same time. You would like to change dates for your presentation.

Write a letter to your professor. In your letter:

  • Explain the situation
  • Remind the professor of your academic achievements to date
  • Ask for a different date to present your thesis

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Professor Simons,


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 8:

You have received a job offer for an exciting, new position. Although you are expected to start on September 7th, you are only available to start a week later due to personal reasons.

Write a letter to your new boss. In your letter:

  • Express your enthusiasm for the job offer
  • Explain the problem
  • Suggest what you can do

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Ms. Mcllwain,


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 9:

You have been invited to a networking conference for your field of work.

Write a letter to your boss. In your letter:

  • Describe the invitation you received and why it is important to you
  • Explain why the conference would be beneficial for you and the company
  • Ask for the company for time off to attend and to cover some of the travel costs

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Mr. Powell,


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 10:

You are going to spend your vacation in Rome, Italy. Your friend's grandfather lives there and has offered to let you stay in his apartment.

Write a letter to your friend's grandfather. In your letter:

  • Thank him for the offer but politely decline
  • Inform him of when you will be in Rome and your travel plans
  • Invite him for an outing

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear. Mr. Harris


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 11:

You have been  assigned to give a networking presentation with your colleague from a different office, who you met last year.

Write a letter to your colleague. In your letter:

  • Inform your colleague that you will be working together
  • Provide your initial ideas on the networking presentation
  • Ask for a time to meet and practice the presentation

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Ms. Petitto,


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 12:

You have had a problem with your neighbor for the past few months. You have not been able to meet with your neighbor to discuss the problem.

Write a letter to your neighbor. In your letter:

  • Explain the problem
  • Suggest a solution
  • Say what action you will take if the situation does not improve

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Ms. Granger,


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 13:

You have been working with your company for two years and are interested in a promotion.

Write a letter to your direct boss. In your letter:

  • Explain your varied achievements over the past two years
  • Express your interest in growing with the company
  • Ask for a meeting to discuss a potential promotion

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Mr. Phillips,


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 14:

Your child's teacher has requested a meeting with you this Friday to discuss your child's low test scores. Unfortunately, you cannot attend.

Write a letter to your child's teacher. In your letter

  • Describe why you cannot attend the meeting
  • Explain how you have been helping your child study
  • Propose another time to meet

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Mr. Smith,


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 15:

You have been going to a piano teacher for the past month. However, it no longer fits in your budget or busy schedule

Write a letter to your piano teacher. In your letter:

  • Thank him for his efforts and time
  • Explain the changes in your circumstances
  • Explain that you may be able to pick it up again

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Mr. Vittorio,


[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 16:

In addition to your full-time job, you are taking a 15-hour Computer Science course. You now find that you cannot continue with the course.

Write a letter to the course tutor. In your letter:

  • Describe your schedule and situation
  • Explain why you cannot continue the course
  • Say what action you would like to take

Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Ms. Franklin,


[Practice and View Model Answer]



 
Looking for IELTS preparation?

Check out our NEW IELTS prep online learning tool called IELTS Tutor.
IELTS Tutor will help you achieve your target score with 1500+ IELTS practice questions.

Try IELTS Tutor Free!

Popular Videos

Check out our YouTube channel for more IELTS preparation videos
BestMyTest on YouTube