Aptis Advanced Writing Task 2 – Formal Email

En este artículo hablaremos de la segunda parte del Writing Component de Aptis Advanced, el cual consiste en escribir un email formal como respuesta a un email que te envían, solicitando tu opinión sobre ciertos cambios o problemas en un servicio.

En este artículo no sólo te damos detalles de esta parte del examen, sino que además incluimos técnicas y plantillas para que se te haga mucho más fácil. También hemos incluido un ejemplo real de pregunta y otro de cómo debes responderlo.

Read on to find out more about the second task in the written component of the Aptis Advanced examination. In this article, you will find an introduction to writing a formal email and some advice on how to enhance your writing and language to ensure a high score in your test!


The second task in the writing component of the Aptis Advanced test is a formal email response. In the test, you will be given an email or instructions to which you need to respond in 120 – 150 words and you should make use of the notes that will be provided to you. During the examination, this task should take you no longer than 15 minutes.


Writing a formal email for Aptis Advanced


Your work will be graded with regards to four different areas: structure, content, style, and language. To begin with, it is important to divide your email into clear paragraphs that are separated by spaces. Remember to include formal opening and closing statements in your email.

In terms of content, it is important that you include all the points given to you in the notes and address each point in one of your paragraphs. Furthermore, it is crucial to write in a formal style. Make sure to abstain from using contractions and use the full form of words instead. Rather than writing ‘I’ll be there’, write ‘I will be there’.

Avoid informal expressions and try to use the passive voice in order to make your email more polite and less direct. Instead of saying ‘You forgot the meeting yesterday’, you should phrase your complaint as follows: ‘It appears that the meeting yesterday has been forgotten.

Finally, it is important that the language you use in your email includes a wide range of vocabulary and grammatical structures, which will demonstrate your thorough grasp of the English language. Make use of cohesive devises and conjunctions to logically link your paragraphs and sentences together.


Here is an example of the task that you will receive in the Aptis Advanced writing examination:


Mobile Service Provider – Complaint


Dear Customer,

I am writing to request the immediate repayment of your outstanding phone bill to the amount of €220 (1). As stated in your phone contract, it is imperative that any surplus fees which are not covered by your monthly phone plan of 15€/month must be paid at the end of the calendar month (2). This is the third occasion on which we have contacted you regarding this issue, but to date we have received neither a response nor a payment (3).

If you do not pay the full amount of outstanding fees within 5 working days, your monthly plan and phone services will be suspended, and your case will be passed onto our legal department, which could result in legal proceedings.

Yours faithfully,

BT Mobile LTD


Your notes:

(1) Only €120 outstanding – got bill to prove it

(2) Monthly plan of €30 – as stated in contract

(3) Not true – first contact about this


Firstly, greet the person you are writing to and make sure to address your email to the correct recipient. For the task above, an appropriate greeting would be: Dear Mobile Services. Make a comma and leave a space before you write an opening phrase in which you state the reason for your email. In this case, you would say that you are contacting the mobile service provider due to their recent email and that there appear to be several errors in their system.

You should then make a paragraph for each note that is written in your task. In this case, your first paragraph would address the fact that the outstanding amount to pay is 120€ and not €220, and you could mention that in case proof is needed, you have a copy of your phone bill. The second paragraph would point out that your monthly plan is at €30/month and not 15€/month, which is stated in your contract. In the third paragraph, you would mention that this is the first time you have been contacted about this matter and that therefore, legal consequences would be unjust.

As this example presents a complaint email, you would use the next paragraph to express your dissatisfaction with the respective company. You could for example state that the customer service you have received regarding this issue has not been up to the expected standard. There are many fixed expressions such as this one that you can use in your own writing.

In the next paragraph, you should politely request that the company you are writing to takes action by reviewing your phone bill before the matter is taken any further. Then, finish your email in a polite, but firm manner, and don’t forget to sign off with your name.

Keep in mind that the notes you are given in the task might be formulated in informal language and it is important that you change the phrasing in order to express the same ideas in formal language. It is also important to note that you might not receive a whole email to respond to, but merely a notice with instructions. However, the structure of your email remains the same.

Furthermore, note that there are 3 different styles of email that could be presented to you during this task: a complaint email, a feedback email and a meeting email. The same structure is applied in all three email styles, but the tone of your writing should change depending on which style of email you are asked to write.

If the task given to you consists of writing a feedback email, your tone should be gentler than in a complaint. Start off with a compliment for the person or the company you are writing to before mentioning the problem and finish off by making a suggestion for improvement. For a meeting email, you will again use the same structure, but you want to ensure that your questions and ideas are taken into account. Remember to mention a positive aspect of the topics that are being discussed in your task before raising your questions about them.

Ultimately, do not go over the word count and don’t spend more than 15 minutes on this task in order to leave you with enough time to finish the remaining components of the Aptis Advanced writing exam, such as the article.



Example of formal email


Dear Mobile Services,

I am contacting you regarding your recent email as I am afraid that there appear to be several errors in your system.

To begin with, the outstanding amount of fees is €120 and not €220. If proof is needed, I have a copy of the bill.

Furthermore, my current mobile plan is at €30 per month and not €15. Clearly, there must be an error in your system.

Finally, I have not received any prior correspondence regarding this issue; therefore it seems unfair to me to be threatened with legal charges at this point in time.

The customer service I have received regarding this matter has been most disappointing and not up to the expected standard.

May I request that you review my mobile plan and phone bill before taking this matter any further?

I would appreciate a prompt response to this email.

Yours faithfully,

Ms. Smith

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