IELTS General Writing Task 1 Sample 1

Write a letter to your school principal requesting a Character Certificate. You will be addressing a lady. (About 150 words)

Mention that:

  • You will need to produce it to your new soccer/football club to complete enrolment;

  • State how you have been pretty successful at the game at a junior level and need to join this new club to play at an adult level;

  • You have completed your studies at school level and are looking for admissions to college, so only the school can issue the certificate.


The Principal,





Sample Answer

Dear Madam,

I am writing to you with a request for a character certificate.

I have recently passed out of school and I am waiting to hear from colleges after having applied for my Bachelors. Meanwhile I have also applied to a new soccer/football club for membership. I want to continue playing the game and have been a star player in many school level tournaments. This club is located closer to the colleges that I have applied to and also offers better opportunities to transition into professional level, if I do well.

I have already passed their physical, on-the-grounds test and have submitted all necessary documents. However, the club requires a mandatory character certificate from an authority familiar with me and the school is my only recourse. Therefore, I need your help to complete my enrolment. All my past academic performance and achievements in extra-curricular activities and sports are in the records for you to kindly consider and issue me a character certificate.

I have to submit the certificate within seven days and I can personally collect it from your office. My heartfelt thanks to you in advance.

Yours sincerely,




Coherence and Cohesion

  • The candidate begins by stating the purpose of their communication. However, this opening sentence could have been expanded for greater clarity and efficiency.* For example, a strong and concise opening sentence might read: “I am writing to you to request a character certificate in relation to an application to join a new soccer/football club.”

  • The candidate gives a reason for choosing the new soccer club (it is closer to the colleges applied to), which gives a stronger context.

*Note that the corresponding sentence(s) in paragraph two would need to be removed or rewritten, as there would be no need to repeat the reason for the request.


  • The candidate begins with the Present Continuous tense ('I am writing…'), which gives a sense of immediacy. The candidate also uses the Present Perfect: ‘I have passed out of school’; ‘I have also applied’; ‘I have passed their physical’. This tense makes (recent) past events relevant to the present circumstances.

  • after having applied for - ‘I have applied for' is Present Perfect tense, making an action in the (recent) past relevant to present concerns. … a less awkward and more concise way of saying this would be, ‘after applying for…’

Lexical Resource

  • character certificate - In many English-speaking countries, this is known as a ‘character reference’.

  • recourse - an action that is (usually) your only or last remaining option

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