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Improving IELTS Letter from Band 6 to Band 9

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Learn how to improve your IELTS Letter to band score 9. Also get learn some English language vocabulary and grammar tips. IELTS candidates taking the General Training test will be given a letter, not a chart, in Writing Task 1. Learn how to take a letter from band 6 to band 9. If you are taking the Academic test, you do not write a letter for Writing Task 1, but you can still use this lesson to improve your overall English.

On this page, you will find:

  • Candidate Letter Estimated Band 6
  • Feedback with language highlights
  • Model Estimated Band 9 Letter
  • Feedback with Highlights

IELTS Letter Task

Write a letter to a friend. You have borrowed something from your friend and it got damaged.

  1. Apologize for damaging the product
  2. Explain what happened
  3. Say how are you going to fix the issue

Candidate’s IELTS Letter: Estimate Band 6

Dear Nelly,   Sorry, it’s taken me so long to write to you but at last, I decided to own up my mistake why I haven’t returned your new laptop till yet. I want to sorry as I damage your new laptop, which I had borrow for my office presentation. I am feeling bitterly disappointed about this, as I know you had bought a new laptop. Everything was going well. I was working on my presentation, but after sometime when I was having my cup of coffee, I accidentally poured coffee over it, and since laptop is not working. Though I had tried many times to restart the windows all went in the vain. I know it’s my blunder mistake. I had already sent the laptop to repair centre and they had promised me to get it to repair within a week. I didn’t want to cause you inconvenience and for this reason, I had arranged another laptop for you to attend your online classes. I hope you can forgive me! Best wishes

Feedback to above Letter

The comments below are organised based on the marking criteria for IELTS Writing Task 1. Each of the marking criterion are worth 25% of your task 1 marks.

  • Task Response: The task has been completed and the prompts covered. This is important. However, the final prompt is slightly wrong. The prompts asks about what you will do, not what you’ve already done. Also some details is slightly unclear.
  • Coherence and Cohesion: There are paragraphs, but they are not used properly. There is a lack of linking words and connectors.
  • Grammar: Complex sentences are used but they are often faulty. There is also a problem with the way tenses are used, although there is a good range of tenses used.. There are also other grammar errors:
    • own up my mistake = own up to my mistake
    • since laptop is not working = since the laptop is not working
    • all went in the vain = it was in vain
    • restart the windows = restart Windows
    • sent the laptop to repair centre = … to the repair centre
    • to get it to repair = to repair it
  • Vocabulary: There are some good examples of vocabulary, such as “cause you inconvenience” and “bitterly disappointed” (although the word “disappointed” is not the correct word to use in this context) and “arrange another laptop”. Unfortunately, there are also errors, for example:
    • till yet = yet
    • I want to sorry = I want to apologise
    • accidentally poured coffee over it = accidentally spilled coffee over it 
    • blunder mistake = blunder OR mistake (not both together)
    • arranged another laptop for you to attend your online class = arranged another laptop for you to use for your online class

Model Letter Estimated at Band Score 9

Dear Nelly,

Sorry, it’s taken me so long to write to you but at last I decided to own up to my mistake and explain why I haven’t returned your new laptop yet.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to return your laptop to you because it got damaged during my presentation last week. To be honest, I’ve delayed writing this letter to you because I’ve been feeling dreadfully guilty about it all knowing that it was a brand new laptop. I’m so very sorry.

Let me explain what happened, everything went well with the presentation until just near the end when I got completely flustered. At that point, I was concentrating so much on what I was saying that I accidentally knocked my cup of coffee which spilled all over your laptop. Since then, your laptop hasn’t worked properly even though I’ve restarted it a number of times.

As the laptop just won’t work properly, I’ve decided to send it to a specialist I know. Actually, I’ve already talked to him and he assures me that it’ll be as good as new by Wednesday next week which will be in time for your online class that you start on Thursday. Of course, I’ll cover all costs.

I can’t apologise enough for what’s happened, but please know that it will all get sorted. I hope you can forgive me.

Best wishes,


Feedback to Model Letter

Quite a lot has changed in the letter. Below I’ve highlighted a few things to focus on:

  1. The final prompt is now in the right tense. It is about what you plan to do to fix the problem.
  2. Paragraphing is now improved and follows the prompts. Each paragraph has a clear function with a central theme.
  3. A range of linking words and connectors:
    1. unfortunately, to be honest, at that point, since then, actually, of course
  4. There is a good range of tenses which are used accurately. Here is a few tenses highlighted: it’s taken me …. I decided …. I haven’t been able to  …. I was concentrating …. I’ve been feeling …. he assures me … I’ll cover
  5. There is a good range of vocabulary:
    1. to own up to my mistake 
    2. I’ve delayed writing this letter
    3. feeling dreadfully guilty
    4. a brand new laptop
    5. I got completely flustered
    6. to knock something over
    7. to spill something
    8. he assures me
    9. as good as new
    10. I’ll cover all costs

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