A quick look at the General Training Writing test
Duration: 60 minutes
The General Training Writing test includes two tasks that are based on topics of general interest.
You will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style compared to an Academic Writing task. You will support your point of view with relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.
Task 1: Writing a short letter for a specific purpose
In Task 1 in the General Training Writing test, you are asked to write a letter, where you demonstrate your ability to communicate using English letter-writing conventions.
You will be given a common, everyday situation such as writing to apologise for missing a friend’s party, or complaining to a company about bad service, writing to give advice to a friend about where to go on holiday, or writing to express your interest in a new job.
In addition to being given the situation, three bullet points will outline exactly what information you need to include in your letter. You might, for example, have to describe details, give reasons, express likes and dislikes, or make suggestions or recommendations.
You will need use the correct tone in your letter. Tone is the way you communicate with people showing the kind of relationship you have with them. In letters, the tone you use is clearly indicated by a proper salutation and closing and it should also be conveyed by your choice of words or phrasing.
Letters are usually written in a formal or informal tone. Generally, if the letter is to friends, people you know well, or family, and the reason for writing is positive, the tone is informal. Letters to everyone else and for all complaints or negative messages, should be more formal.
Task 2: Writing an essay
In Task 2 of the General Training Writing test, you are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, an argument, or a problem. Topics are of general interest such as whether it is better to homeschool children, whether the drinking age should be raised, who is responsible for the care of the elderly or how families could be brought closer together.
The task instructions give you information about the question telling you how to discuss the topic in your essay. You may be asked to provide factual information, outline and present solutions, justify an opinion or evaluate evidence and ideas. It is important that you complete the task carefully using relevant ideas and examples to support your position. Your ideas should be organised clearly, using paragraphs for each idea. You must write a minimum of 250 words.
You are assessed on your ability to follow English essay-writing conventions to organise and link information in a coherent way using language accurately and appropriately to express your ideas and opinions.
Sample question: IELTS Writing