IELTS General Writing Task 1 Sample 4

You missed a couple of important lectures due to illness. Write a letter to the Professor requesting an out-of-hours (i.e. between classes) appointment to get the lowdown on the topics and address your doubts. (About 150 words)

The letter should state:

  • You have been pretty consistent in terms of attendance;

  • You will come prepared with your own reading on the subject;

  • You cannot move ahead without help.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Professor,


Sample Answer

Dear Professor,

I am writing to you with a request for an out-of-hours appointment to compensate for missing out on a couple of your important lectures.

I have attended all college lectures with due diligence during the entire session so far, but I could not attend the last two lectures because I had been off college on sick leave for a few days. I returned yesterday. My classmates have been giving me the lowdown on all the classes that I have missed, and I am trying to catch up on them.

However, there are some lectures for which I need support from the respective professors, and you are one of them. Please spare some time for me to have a session with you so that I can understand the topic better and allay my doubts. I am stuck on certain areas of the subject and cannot seem to manage on my own. I assure you that I will come prepared with my understanding and will complete all the assignments soon after the meeting.

Thank you in advance for the consideration.

Yours sincerely,




Coherence and Cohesion

  • This is a well laid out letter, introducing the purpose for the communication - and the purpose for the requested meeting - concisely from the start.

  • The candidate states positively their attempts to do their best in the second paragraph, while balancing this information with the reason for missing out on some lectures.

  • In the third paragraph, the candidate elaborates on the reasons for needing help.


  • The Present Continuous “I am writing…” gives a sense of immediacy, suggesting that as the recipient is reading, the sender is writing.

  • Other tenses used in this letter are Present Perfect, ‘I have attended…’; Present Perfect Continuous, ‘…have been giving…’;

  • The imperativePlease spare some time…’ is used, instead of an alternative such as ‘Can you please spare…?' or ‘Would you mind sparing…?’ You can check out different ways to ask questions politely on our page, Diplomatic Language in Business English.

Lexical Resource

  • compensate for - another way of saying ‘make up for’ (i.e. with the intention of solving/fixing an error or omission you made)

  • a couple of - be careful using this, as it literally means ‘two (of)’. In the United States, it might be taken this way (note also that Americans drop the ‘of’). In everyday English, if you are talking about more than two items, it’s usually best to say ‘a few’ or ‘a number of’.

  • respective - a word that indicates a connection or relationship between two otherwise separate words or terms. In the letter above, in paragraph three, the candidate connects the ‘lectures’ with the ‘professors’ who teach them, using the word ‘respective’.

  • thank you in advance - a polite way of pre-empting a response in your favour.

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