Improving IELTS Letter from Band 6 to Band 9

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

I hope you’ve found this lesson useful both to develop your English and understand about paragraphing as well as other IELTS requirements. to read Top Tips for GT Letters, click here: IELTS GT Letter Essential Tips

All the best



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  1. It helps me a lot

  2. Hi Liz,
    Greetings from Lagos, Nigeria.

    My test scores are: listening 8.5, reading 8.0, writing: 7.5, speaking: 8.0.
    Overall band: 8. Your lessons and tips were very useful. Keep up the good work, thank you!

  3. Thank you Ms Liz, best teacher ever!, and best website to prepare for my IELTS exam.
    I wish if we could have more like those letters I am learning so much from it, and I learned more when I started searching for possibilities relating to the same topic, endless vocabularies.

    I have reserved on the 12th of Sep 2020, Wish me luck!
    and thanks again

  4. Joemar Ibo says

    Many thanks and may God bless you always.
    Good luck for your future endeavor.

  5. the best teacher i ever seen
    God bless you

  6. John Olatunde says

    Thank you for all you do.

  7. This is the best site ever i saw, thanks a lot for great help .

  8. bennysmart says

    Thank you so much Liz

  9. It was really helpful. I learned many words, phrases. lingers and connectors.
    You a great teacher

  10. Thank you liz, this is really helpful.

  11. Irene Mthethwa says

    Thank you so much for your lesson it’s assisting me to know how to write a letter

  12. Thanks for this and happy new month of August our great teacher. The difference is clear and points noted.

  13. Ifeoluwa Alabs says

    Hello Liz,
    Thank you so much for your materials and resources.
    However, I need your help with regards to answering “To What Extent do you agree or disagree Essay”
    Do you recommend words like ‘strongly’, ‘moderately’ etc; if not, what do you recommend.
    I have searched for a guide on your website but couldn’t find any.
    I look forward to your response

  14. Misozi sibande says

    I love the way you teach and can proudly say, you are the best Liz.

  15. Princess Rañada says

    Do you sign above your name when it’s informal letter?

  16. Thank you ma’am. This is indeed helpful as it give light to what is expected of me as regards IELTS letter.

  17. Hi Liz..
    I need to ask a question.I realised lots of contractions had been used in the letter. Will my score band be reduced if I chose not to contract my words in an informal letter??

  18. thanks

  19. erdachew yitagesu says

    thank you for your valuable IELT’s test example

  20. Hi Liz, I can see the word “Brand New” in your model letter, but doesn’t it spell with a dash “Brand-New”. I’m sorry if I’m wrong

  21. Yassin MASA says

    Dear ma’am Liz;
    As usual always amaze us with an awesome tips, they really help & useful.
    So thank you so much for your effort, and I wish abest of luck for all IELTS Candidates.
    Yassin MASA from Sudan.

  22. A.Alghaithi says

    Thank you for your work .
    today i will be tested IELTS indicator on speaking and tomorrow the rest of the exam.

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