The ‘Choosing A Title’ question regularly appears in the IELTS reading paper. The purpose of this question is to determine a students’ understanding of the ‘big idea’ of a text. Students are required to select a title, that is the most appropriate for the whole passage, from a list of titles that are provided.
The skills involved in this test include:
- Students identifying the ‘big idea’ in a passage
- Students successfully recognising the differences between details and main ideas
In order to be successful in this test, follow our top tips for ‘Choosing A Title’ tasks:
- Read through the whole passage.
- Pay close attention to the opening and closing paragraphs to ensure you fully understand the ‘big idea’ of the text.
- Read through the possible titles and identify which are only relevant to certain parts or paragraphs in the text.
- Remember that all of the title options will be relevant to a part of the text – the skill needed is for you to pick the one that is representative of the whole passage, not just a part of it.
- Don’t waste time! This question is only worth one point so do not spend too long on it.
Difficulty Level: Hard
Although this is a longer text, the vocabulary and content is not too difficult to understand.
If there was such a thing as a perfect food, eggs would be a contender. They’re readily available, easy to cook, affordable and packed with protein. “The egg is meant to be something that has all the right ingredients to grow an organism, so obviously it’s very nutrient dense,” says Christopher Blesso, associate professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut in the US.
Eating eggs alongside other food can help our bodies absorb more vitamins, too. For example, one study found that adding an egg to salad can increase how much vitamin E we get from the salad. But for decades, eating eggs has also been controversial due to their high cholesterol content – which some studies have linked to an increased risk of heart disease. One egg yolk contains around 185 milligrams of cholesterol, which is more than half of the 300mg daily amount of cholesterol that the US dietary guidelines recommended until recently. Does that mean eggs, rather than being an ideal food, might actually be doing us harm?
Cholesterol, a yellowish fat produced in our liver and intestines, can be found in every one of our body’s cells. We normally think of it as “bad”. But cholesterol is a crucial building block in our cell membranes. It also is needed for the body to make vitamin D, and the hormones testosterone and oestrogen. We produce all the cholesterol we need on our own, but it’s also found in animal produce we consume, including beef, prawns and eggs, as well as cheese and butter. Cholesterol is transported around our body by lipoprotein molecules in the blood. Every person has a different combination of various types of lipoproteins, and our individual make-up plays a role in determining our risk of developing heart disease.
The discussion on the health effects of eggs has shifted partly because our bodies can compensate for the cholesterol we consume. “There are systems in place so that, for most people, dietary cholesterol isn’t a problem,” says Elizabeth Johnson, research associate professor of nutritional sciences at Tufts University in Boston, US. In a 2015 review of 40 studies, Johnson and a team of researchers couldn’t find any conclusive evidence on the relationship between dietary cholesterol and heart disease. “Humans have good regulation when consuming dietary cholesterol, and will make less cholesterol themselves,” she says.
While researchers are a long way from understanding why eggs affect us differently, the vast majority of recent research suggests they pose no risk to our health, and are much more likely to provide health benefits. Even so, having eggs for breakfast every day probably isn’t healthiest option, either – at least as it’s recommended we have a varied diet… rather than put all our eggs in one basket.
Question: Select the best title for this passage from the list of titles below (A-D).
- The Truth About Eating Eggs
- The Link Between Eggs and Cholesterol
- How The Human Body Processes Eggs
- The Negative Effects of Eggs on the Human Body
contender: a person or thing competing to be the best at something
readily available: something that can be obtained quickly and easily
organism: an individual animal or plant or single-celled life form
absorb: take in or soak up (a liquid or other substance)
controversial: something that is likely to cause controversery or disagreement
cholesterol: a type of fat found in the blood
shifted: changed in emphasis, direction or focus
compensate: to make up for
conclusive: having the effect of proving something
dietary: relating to ‘diet’ (the food someone eats)
Title B ‘The Link Between Eggs and Cholesterol’ is discussed in the middle three paragraphs. However, if you pay close attention to the opening and closing paragraph, you will understand that talking about cholesterol and eggs is not the big idea in this text.
Title C ‘How The Human Body Processes Eggs’ is discussed in different ways throughout the article. However, this title does not encapsulate thoughts presented in the article about how some people say eggs can be healthy and others say they are unhealthy. Therefore, it is not reflective of the big idea in the text.
Title D ‘The Negative Effects of Eggs on the Human Body’ focuses only on the negative arguments presented, whereas the article actually presents both positive and negative arguments. Therefore, this does not refer to the big idea of the text.