IELTS Reading Plan for Covid 19 Lockdown


Academic Reading: Question - List Selection 

The IELTS Reading Test can be quite tricky and challenging. A question like List Selection requires you to have a complex understanding of main ideas and sub ideas. It is here that your ability to comprehend the meanings of complex paragraphs will be tested.

About the test

You will be given a passage to read. The passage will be academic in nature – however, it will not require specialist knowledge.

Based on information from the passage, you will be given a question, and a list of several options as possible answers. Your task is to select all the options that best answer the question.


The tasks in the IELTS Reading Test is designed to assess a wide range of reading skills, including:

  1. read for the general sense of a passage

  2. read for the main ideas

  3. read for detail

  4. understand inferences and implied meaning

  5. recognise a writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose

  6. follow the development of an argument

(The skills in bold are those that are directly relevant to this task.)

Common problems

The problems our students often encounter, include:

  1. lack of comprehension of the passage

  2. inability to recognize similar information presented in different words

The following tips will help you avoid these problems!


Tips: Preparing for the task

  1. Build vocabulary

Vocabulary skills involve knowing a large number of words, what they mean, how to spell them, and how to correctly use them. 

Having a strong vocabulary makes a big difference when it comes to the reading test – first, to help you comprehend the passage correctly; second, to perform the task/answer the questions correctly.

Our tips to build vocabulary include:

  • Read widely and whatever you can, particularly reading material of good quality, on topics that are often used in IELTS tasks, such as Environment, Entertainment, Education, and so on.

  • Watch/Listen, particularly to news channels and other informative programmes, and good movies. 

  • Note down in a note-pad or journal, the new words you learn which you believe are of immediate relevance to the topics mentioned above.

  1. Hone your reading sub-skills

These include:

  • Speed reading and skimming and scanning: quickly reading through a passage in order to get a gist of the main ideas, of what it is about.

  • Reading to locate key words: the ability to pick out the most important words in the passage.

  • But, don’t be too hasty: slow down and make sure you read with close attention, in order to understand it at first go.

  1. Practice!

Answer as many mock IELTS tests as you can – ideally, a minimum of 3-4. Practice under exam conditions, i.e. keeping time limit and other restrictions in place. 

Practice will help you 

  • familiarise yourself with the question patterns 

  • put the skills you have worked on to use

Tips: Doing the task

While performing the task, do the following:

  1. Read the passage

Make use of the reading sub-skills mentioned in Slide 7. 

Ensure that you comprehend the gist of the main ideas as well as the specific details related to the main ideas.

Once you read the question and the list of options, return to the passage and re-read wherever necessary to ensure that you select the correct options. 

Remember – as this is a reading test, you can take your time to read fully and well.

  1. Recognize inferences 

The vocabulary used in the options may or may not correspond exactly to that which is used in the passage. 

You must be able to recognize those options that 

  • are the same as what has been said in the passage, but in different words

e.g. in the passage – “territorial defence”

       in the question – “to protect its territory”


  • can be inferred based on what is already said in the passage

e.g. in the passage – “mating”

       in the question – “to find a mate and produce offspring”

Example – Passage 

The first of our three brains to evolve is what scientists call the reptilian cortex. This brain sustains the elementary activities of animal survival such as respiration, adequate rest and a beating heart. We are not required to consciously “think” about these activities. The reptilian cortex also houses the “startle centre”, a mechanism that facilitates swift reactions to unexpected occurrences in our surroundings. When it comes to our interaction with others, the reptilian brain offers up only the most basic impulses: aggression, mating, and territorial defence. 

But while a lizard may stake a claim to its habitat, it exerts total indifference toward the well-being of its young. This is in contrast to the anguished squeal of a dolphin separated from its pod – itis clear that a new development is at play. Scientists have identified this as the limbic cortex. Unique to mammals, the limbic cortex impels creatures to nurture their offspring by delivering feelings of tenderness and warmth to the parent when children are nearby. These sensations also cause mammals to develop various types of social relations and kinship networks. 

But only human capabilities extend far beyond the scope of these two cortexes. Humans eat, sleep and play, but we also speak, plot, rationalise and debate finer points of morality. Our unique abilities are the result of an expansive third brain – the neocortex – which engages with logic, reason and ideas. The power of the neocortex comes from its ability to think beyond the present, concrete moment. While other mammals are mainly restricted to impulsive actions, humans can think about the “big picture”. 



Example – Questions

The reptilian cortex enables the animal to perform certain activities. Select ALL of these activities from the list given below:

  1. to find a mate and produce offspring

  2. to nurture and be concerned for offspring

  3. to breathe, eat and survive 

  4. to form kinship ties

  5. to protect its territory 

  6. to make complex decisions, based on logic


Example – Solution

The list of correct options are:





We also offer both IELTS classroom training and IELTS online training – offering you the flexibility you need, to adapt our programme to your own busy schedule! 

*Update for Covid-19: For all of you staying home, we are here to assist you with your IELTS preparation during the lockdown. All of our blog content can be used as frameworks guiding your practice and study efforts – so you can make the most of this time!

Reach out to us via email: or phone: 8971357938, for more details.

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