Let’s assume that we are going to write an essay in response to the following Task 2 question chosen from Cambridge IELTS 17, Academic Test 1:
WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
Mrs Barrett, an English-speaking woman who lives in your town, has advertised for someone to help her in her home for a few hours a day next summer.
Write a letter to Mrs Barrett. In your letter
• suggest how you could help her in her home
• say why you would like to do this work
• explain when you will and will not be available
Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear Mrs Barrett,
1. Let’s choose the keywords in the question.
Here are the keywords that we can highlight in the question:
Identifying the keywords in the IELTS Writing Task 1 question is a good strategy. By underlining the keywords, you can ensure that you address all the necessary points in your letter, helping you to stay focused and organized. This will make your letter more relevant and coherent, which can contribute to a higher score.
The keywords we chose for this task are appropriate, as they cover the essential elements of the question: the purpose of the letter, what information you need to include, and the format of the letter. By addressing these keywords in your response, you’ll be better prepared to write a well-structured and effective letter.
2. Let’s think about the “structure” of our letter.
The best letter structure for this IELTS Writing Task 1 question would consist of 5 paragraphs:
Begin the letter with the salutation “Dear Mrs. Barrett,” followed by a brief introduction. Mention that you saw her advertisement and express your interest in helping her next summer.
Suggest how you could help her in her home
In this paragraph, describe the specific tasks you can help with, such as cleaning, cooking, running errands, or assisting with any special needs Mrs. Barrett might have.
Explain why you would like to do this work
In this paragraph, provide reasons for your interest in this job. You can mention your past experience, your desire to help others, or any personal connections you have to the type of work.
In this paragraph, inform Mrs. Barrett when you will and will not be available during the summer. Be clear about the dates and any limitations in your schedule.
Conclude by expressing your enthusiasm for the opportunity and providing contact information for further discussion.
By following this structure, you can ensure that your letter is well-organized and addresses all the required points, increasing the chances of receiving a higher score on the IELTS Writing Task 1.
3. Let’s brainstorm and generate ideas.
Brainstorming ideas for this IELTS Writing Task 1 question:
- Mention where you saw the advertisement (local newspaper, online, community board, etc.).
- Express interest in helping Mrs. Barrett.
Suggest how you could help her in her home:
- Cleaning tasks (dusting, vacuuming, mopping, etc.).
- Cooking and meal preparation.
- Grocery shopping and running errands.
- Gardening and lawn maintenance.
- Laundry and ironing.
- Assisting with any special needs or requirements Mrs. Barrett might have.
Explain why you would like to do this work:
- Past experience in similar roles (babysitting, housekeeping, caregiving, etc.).
- Desire to help others and make a positive impact in someone’s life.
- Personal connections to the type of work (family members who needed assistance, etc.).
- Developing communication and interpersonal skills with an English-speaking individual.
- Looking for a part-time job to earn extra income during the summer.
Availability and conclusion:
- Specify the dates you’ll be available (e.g., from June to August).
- Mention any pre-planned vacations, events, or commitments that might affect your availability.
- Reiterate your interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity.
- Provide contact information (email, phone number) for further discussion.
By considering these ideas while writing your response letter, you’ll be able to address all the required points and create a well-rounded and effective letter for Mrs. Barrett.
4. Let’s write a sample letter
Dear Mrs. Barrett,
I recently saw your advertisement in the local newspaper, seeking someone to help you in your home for a few hours a day next summer. I am very interested in this opportunity and believe I could be of assistance.
In your home, I can help with various tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, and running errands. Additionally, I am experienced in gardening and lawn maintenance, which could be useful during the summer months.
The reason I would like to do this work is that I have prior experience in caregiving roles and truly enjoy helping others. This position would also give me the opportunity to enhance my communication skills with an English-speaking person while earning some extra income during the summer.
Regarding my availability, I am free to work from June to August. However, I have a pre-planned family vacation from July 10th to 20th, during which I will be unavailable. Apart from this, I can be flexible with my schedule to meet your needs.
I look forward to the possibility of working with you next summer. Please feel free to contact me via email or phone to discuss this further.
5. Why is this a good sample letter?
This is a good sample letter for several reasons:
Structure: The letter follows a clear five-paragraph structure, addressing each aspect of the task prompt—suggesting how you could help, explaining why you are interested in the work, and providing information about your availability.
Content: The letter covers all the points mentioned in the prompt, ensuring it is relevant and meets the requirements. It provides specific examples of how you could assist Mrs. Barrett and shares the reasons for your interest in the position.
Tone: The tone of the letter is polite and respectful, which is appropriate for a letter to someone you have not yet met. You express enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity, creating a positive impression.
Language: The letter uses clear and concise language that is easy to understand. The vocabulary is varied, and the sentence structure is diverse, making the letter engaging to read.
Word count: The letter adheres to the specified word count (198 words), which demonstrates your ability to convey your message effectively within the given constraints.
These elements together make the sample letter an excellent response to the IELTS Writing Task 1 question. It demonstrates your ability to follow instructions, address all relevant points, and communicate your message clearly and effectively.
6. What is the score of this IELTS Writing Task 1 sample letter?
The IELTS Writing Task 1 is assessed based on four criteria: Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. Here’s an analysis of the sample letter based on these criteria:
The letter effectively addresses all parts of the prompt, providing details on how the writer could help, explaining their interest in the position, and discussing their availability. It covers the necessary points and maintains a clear purpose throughout, making it strong in terms of Task Achievement.
Coherence and Cohesion:
The letter is well-organized and easy to follow, with a logical flow of ideas. It uses appropriate paragraphing and cohesive devices, such as “however,” “additionally,” and “regarding.” This makes the letter coherent and cohesive, showcasing a strong understanding of the structure and organization required for an effective response.
The letter demonstrates a good range of vocabulary, using varied and precise language to convey the writer’s message. Terms like “enhance,” “communication skills,” and “prior experience,” showcase the writer’s lexical resource. The vocabulary is used appropriately and accurately, contributing to the overall clarity and effectiveness of the letter.
Grammatical Range and Accuracy:
The letter exhibits a variety of sentence structures, including simple, compound, and complex sentences. It demonstrates correct grammar usage and maintains subject-verb agreement throughout. There are no significant grammatical errors, indicating strong grammatical range and accuracy.
Overall, based on the analysis of the sample letter according to the IELTS Writing Task 1 scoring criteria, it is likely to receive a high score. It effectively addresses the prompt, is well-organized, demonstrates a strong vocabulary, and exhibits accurate grammar usage.
7. Useful collocations
Here are some useful collocations from the sample letter that can be applied to other similar letters:
“Be of assistance”: This collocation is a polite way to offer help or support in various contexts.
“Various tasks”: This phrase can be used to describe a range of duties or responsibilities in different situations.
“Grocery shopping”: This collocation refers to the task of purchasing food and other household items, which is relevant for assisting someone in their home.
“Running errands”: This phrase is used to describe various small tasks or duties that need to be completed outside of the home, such as picking up prescriptions or paying bills.
“Lawn maintenance”: This term refers to the care and upkeep of a yard or outdoor space, including tasks like mowing, trimming, and weeding.
“Prior experience”: This phrase highlights your previous work or background in a specific area.
“Truly enjoy”: This phrase emphasizes genuine enjoyment or passion for a particular activity or role.
“Enhance my communication skills”: This collocation is useful for expressing the desire to improve a specific skill set, such as communication.
“Extra income”: This phrase is commonly used when discussing part-time or additional work for financial gain.
“Pre-planned vacation”: This phrase refers to a holiday or trip that has already been arranged, which might affect your availability for the position.
“Flexible with my schedule”: This phrase is helpful when expressing adaptability and willingness to accommodate the needs of others.
By incorporating these collocations into other similar letters, you can create more coherent and effective responses that address the needs and requirements of the task.