Home IELTS Writing General Writing Task Sample IELTS Letter – 004 – Requesting a Letter of Reference

Sample IELTS Letter – 004 – Requesting a Letter of Reference

Below is a sample letter for Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is a semi-formal letter, which can be identified in several ways:

  • the tone, which is a mix of politeness and warmth
  • the use of the last names (Dear Mrs Sweeney)
  • the absence of contractions
  • the use of formal expressions (I would appreciate it if…)
  • the closing salutation (Yours sincerely)


You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You are applying for a job and need a letter of reference from someone who knew you when you were at school.

Write a letter to one of your old teachers asking for a reference. In your letter:

  • say what job you have applied for
  • explain why you want this job
  • suggest what information the teacher should include

Write at least 150 words.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear __________

Dear Mrs Sweeney

How are you? I hope everything is fine at the school and that you have been well. I still remember the dynamic way in which you taught grammar to me and all of the teacher trainees in your English class. Thanks again for those important lessons.

I am writing in connection with a letter of reference that I need for a job that I have applied for recently. As I am due to graduate next month, I have applied for a position as an ESL teacher at a private language school in Tokyo, Japan. You might remember my telling you how very much I looked forward to teaching and traveling around the world. Now I have the chance. I am confident that I can make a difference in the lives of students who need to learn English.

In the letter of reference, I would appreciate it if you could include information related to my trustworthiness, my enthusiasm and my cross-cultural awareness while in teacher training college. As the job is in Japan, they do not have the chance to interview me and will base their decision largely on my letters of reference. I would need to have the letter in two weeks, by July 1st.

Thank you kindly in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Grace Smith

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