IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|6. The art of colour





Match the museums in the photos and the reviews 1-4

You are going to hear a radio programme about a colour exhibition. Answer the questions


1. What sort of exhibitions have you been to or heard about?

2. Do you prefer to look at museum exhibits or use hands-on, interactive displays? Why?

3. What things could be on a colour exhibition?

Do the tasks in the green box

1. Check how many words you are allowed to use and decide what part of speech they might be.

2. Underline the key ideas around each gap and use these to help you decide what information you need to listen for.

3. Try to predict what the word/phrase in the gap might refer to, e.g. gap 1 ─ something you look through.



Listen and answer Questions 1-6. Put one word in each cell

Narrator Announcer Darren

Narrator: You will hear someone talking about a colour exhibition.
Announcer: Now, I’d like to welcome onto our show today Darren Whitlock, who’s going to tell us about a very vibrant exhibition.
Darren: Thanks, Melanie. Yes, in fact, it’s an exhibition called ‘Eye for colour’. It’s packed with hands-on exhibits and interactive displays and it explores the endless ways in which colour shapes our world. Now, there are 40 exhibits altogether that come under six main sections. Sadly, I haven’t got time to tell you about them all today, so let me just give you a taste of what’s on offer. So to start off, there’s a section simply entitled ‘Seeing colour’, which is, well — as the title suggests — about how we do just that. And it’s a good starting point, because basically, you look at the museum gallery through a giant eyeball that’s standing on a circular foot. What you don’t know is that this houses a 32″ camera and screen, and the overall effect of these is quite amazing. Another section that’s very interesting is called ‘Colour in culture’. Here, there are a number of activities designed to illustrate the powerful links that exist between colour and certain aspects of our lifestyle, and this is done through a range of images and objects. You can visit the colour café that contains meals that really make you question how conditioned you are … How hungry do you feel if you’re faced with a plate of pink and green fried eggs and blue sausages, for example? This section also includes activities that give visitors some idea of what it’s like to view the world with a visual disability, which is something that many people have to do. Then there’s a ‘Colour in nature’ section, designed to illustrate the many amazing colours that we see everywhere around us — from rainbows to autumn leaves — and to give us an idea of what it’s like surviving in the external environment. So you can try camouflaging yourself. This really is one for the kids — dressing up in a suit and then selecting a background where, to all intents and purposes, you disappear. And you can look at the world through the eyes of a dog or fish … what do these creatures really see? I’d recommend ending the trip with a visit to the ‘mood room’, which explores the influence of colour on the way we feel. Here, you can lie back and listen to music as a projector subtly alters the lighting in the room and with it, the atmosphere. How does each colour affect your emotions? You’ll be surprised!

Exam advice

Table completion

1. Check how many words you are allowed to use.

2. Read around the gaps and make sure the word(s) you choose make sense.

3. Spell your answers correctly.


Underline key words in Questions 7-10



Listen and answer the questions

Now, while the exhibition’s been running, the organisers have carried out a study of the favourite colours of their younger visitors. Over 2,600 children have responded to this, and there were lots and lots of colours to choose from, so the scores weren’t high for each individual colour, even if the colours were — like blue — of average popularity. Clearly, the bold colours were the winners. Though purple, which I would have expected to be a high scorer, had just 1.73% of the votes, unlike deep pink, which came next to top. In the middle ground along with purple — which was still pretty popular compared to others — was lime green — the first shade of green to be anywhere near the top. One two-year-old commented that red was the only colour she knew, which is perhaps why that was more popular with children than anything else. Needless to say, all the tans and beiges came near the bottom. In fact, the lighter the colours, the less popular they were — even the light pinks. So why did the kids go for these striking colours? As adults, it’s all about clothes … what we think suits us or is fashionable. But these youngsters are looking outward more and they go for colours that hit them … that they pick out over and above the rest. It’s less to do with how they feel — whether it calms them down or whatever — and more about immediate impact. And, of course, there are associations with football that led a lot of both boys and girls to go for particular colours — in fact, more children seemed to comment on this than anything else, whereas adults would be more likely to go for something worn by someone they really like. So, all in all, it says a lot about…

Exam tips

Pick from a list

1. Underline the key ideas in the questions.

2. Read through the options and remember that only two of them are correct.

3. As you listen, tick the options you hear. The correct answers may not come in the same order in the recording as they do in the questions.

4. You may hear a paraphrase of a correct option.

Tick the following phrases according to the appropriate section


Match the words to make phrases from the listening task

Watch the video about Eye for Colour exhibition and write a paragraph about it following the instructions in the green box

We are going to see museum… I go first! Run!

Welcome to world museum. We are here today to check out the Eye for colour exhibition. And we want you to see it too. At any time you can turn your phone or tablet and look around in all directions. If you are on a desk top computer just click and drag using the mouse.

When it comes to see in colour a lot goes on behind the scenes. This giant eyeball helps you discover how your eyes and brain work together to turn light into colour.

Colour is really important. The colours we like how we see, use and describe them affects many things. Find out more and discover the importance of your favourite colour.

Ever wondered how bees, dogs and fish see the world? Explore how animals use colour to help them camouflage themselves, attract mates and send out warning signals.

How are colours made? Discover more and get creative in the artists’ area.

Relax with lighting and music to find out why you have favourite colours and how they make you feel in the mood room.

Thanks for popping by. We hope you liked our video. Looking forward to see you at Eye for colour soon.

Describe the exhibition that you would like to visit.

You should mention:

  • what the exhibition is focused on;
  • who you would like to go with;
  • what you could see there;
  • why you would enjoy visiting this exhibition.

Useful language

  • a hands-on exhibit
  • an interactive display
  • a mood room
  • a colour cafe
  • a giant eyeball
  • a circular foot
  • to camouflage
  • a starting point
  • an overall effect
  • powerful links
  • visual disability
  • external environment
  • to alter the lighting
  • bold colours

Choose the correct word


Complete this passage with the words from the list

Underline the key words around each gap in the table below and decide what information you need to listen for



Listen to the first part of the Listening passage and complete questions 1-6

Radio host Kirsten

Radio host: Hello, and welcome to today’s edition of Book Club. Later we’ll be reviewing the latest novel by Lucy Armstrong, but first we’re going to look at a new book which has been released to accompany the ‘Colour my World’ exhibition at the Science Museum. And Kirsten’s here to tell us more.
Kirsten: Indeed, good morning Jason. Well, it’s called Spectrum, it’s by Alex Mackenzie, and I must say it’s one of the most interesting books I’ve seen for a long time. There are fifteen chapters, and each one looks at a different aspect of colour.
Radio host: Can you give us some examples?
Kirsten: Indeed. There’s a fascinating chapter called The hidden jungle, which looks at the way an animal uses camouflage to conceal itself from predators, or make it invisible from other animals when it hunts them. By camouflage, of course, I mean their colour, shape, patterns on their skin and so on. This was a particularly striking chapter because of its amazing photography. Some of the animals are so well camouflaged that even when you know what you’re looking for, it takes time to see the actual animal. So when you do finally find it, it’s like an optical illusion.
Radio host: Any others?
Kirsten: Well, yes. There’s a great chapter called A question of choice. Have you ever wondered why some people like colours that others don’t? Why, for example, would some people never buy an orange car while others would pay extra for one? The question of colour preferences is answered here. Not surprisingly, it’s all to do with personality and the things that we associate colours with. For some, orange is a positive colour, the colour of fire and flames. For others, the first thing they think about when they see the colour orange is, well, an orange. What I liked about this chapter was a test where you see pictures of things, er, cars, mobile phones, clothes and so on, in groups of ten, identical except for their colour, and you have to grade them in the order in which you like them, based on their colour. A key then analyses your personality based on your answers. This is popular psychology, of course, but the book also has some chapters devoted to serious science. One of these is called It’s all in the mind. Now, you may or may not know this, but our eyes are like our fingerprints, nobody’s are the same. Yet despite these differences, we all perceive colour in the same way. Light blue is always light blue, no matter how our eyes are structured. Why is this? Well, basically, it all comes down to the brain. To put it simply, our eyes just let in light, and our brains do the rest. The chapter explains in some detail how this happens, and describes a few experiments you can do at home to see for yourself how it works. It’s fascinating stuff, and great fun too, of course.

Read questions 7-10 below and underline the key words or phrases in the questions



Listen and answer questions 7-10

Radio host Kirsten

Radio host: Now, I understand you found the last chapter of the book particularly interesting.
Kirsten: Absolutely. The final chapter is all about the way colour influences us when we go shopping. I don’t mean the colour of the things we buy, but the colours that are around us when we’re buying them. You see, although we tend to think that it is the range of products that encourages us to spend time and money in a shop or other retail outlet, things like lighting, space and colour play equally important roles. Now, colours in shops usually fall into two categories: warm colours such as red and orange, which are what we could call ‘exciting’ colours, and calming cool colours such as blue and green. And these categories are believed to have different effects on the shopper. Warm colours not only give you more energy, but there is evidence that they can also stimulate or bring on hunger, which is why they’re used so enthusiastically by fast food companies in and outside their outlets. On the negative side, if these colours are too bright, they can have a hurrying effect on shoppers, so good news for fast food outlets who want a fast turnover of customers, but best avoided if you want people to spend more time, and therefore more money, in your shop. Blue creates feelings of trust and security, which explains why it’s a common colour in banks and other financial institutions, and customers associate the other ‘cool’ colour, green, with the environment. Which is why it’s used in places like shops selling organic products or health food, and is also a popular choice for cafes and coffee shops.
Radio host: And the chapter describes how different types of shopper respond to different colours, doesn’t it?
Kirsten: Right. Now, I’m an impulse shopper. I don’t always know what I want when I go to the shops, but if I see something I like, I’ll buy it. Research suggests that people like me respond better, that is, we’re more likely to buy something when red is the predominant colour in the shop. Of course, our spending habits are not just limited to shops where red dominates, but it does help. Orange, by the way, can have a similar, although less pronounced, effect. Those on a restricted budget tend to respond well to light blue. However, for those on a really low income, with very little spending power, the colour where they feel most comfortable parting with their cash, appears to be pink. Consumers with plenty of money respond well in an environment where the predominant colour is purple. And that’s not really surprising when you consider that purple is considered to be the king of colours.
Radio host: Why’s that?
Kirsten: Ah, well, you’ll have to get the book to find out. But I can assure you, it’s really revealing stuff.
Radio host: Great, thanks Kirsten. Well, moving on, there seems to be…

Questions 7-10

Choose two letters, A-E.

Read the text and fill in the gaps


Read the questions 1-3 and tick the right options

Read the task and prepare your 3-minute speech on the topic «Colour in my life»


Speak no longer than 3 minutes.

Cover all of the points, use the active vocabulary of the lesson.

Part 1 Questions

  1. Are there any colours you dislike (Why?)
  2. When you are buying something, is the colour important to you?
  3. Are there any colours that have a special meaning in your country?
  4. What colour would you (never) choose to paint the walls of your room?
  5. Do you think different types of people like different colours ?

Exam tip

  1. Give reasons for your answers.
  2. Offer extra details, extend your answer.
  3. Stress the important ideas in your answer.
  4. Speak clearly so that the examiner can hear you easily.
  5. Use wide range of vocabulary and grammar patterns.
  6. Make your answer coherent by using linking phrases.

Allow your browser access to your microphone, press the button «Record» and record the speech you have prepared

  • Warm-up
  • Exhibitions and museums
  • Eye for colour
  • Colour preferences
  • Exhibition questions
  • Colour impact
  • Eye for colour
  • Colour issues
  • Spectrum
  • A book about colours
  • What's life with CVD like?
  • The colours you choose
  1. 1. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 1|1. Information overload
  2. 2. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 1|2. The mind. Vocabulary practice
  3. 3. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 2|1. Human nature: character, psychology
  4. 4. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 2|2. Only a game
  5. 5. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 2|3. Planning an essay
  6. 6. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 3|1. Brands
  7. 7. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 3|2. Time for a change. Business and marketing
  8. 8. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 4|1. Spotlight on communication
  9. 9. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 4|2. Fame and the media. Media bias
  10. 10. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 5|1. Is plastic fantastic?
  11. 11. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 5|2. Energy. Natural resources
  12. 12. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 6|1. IELTS Speaking and Listening tips
  13. 13. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 6|2. Striving to achieve: study, work
  14. 14. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 7|1. Music matters
  15. 15. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 7|2. The arts. Writing practice
  16. 16. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 8|1. Worlds to explore
  17. 17. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 8|2. Science and discoveries
  18. 18. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 9|1. Culinary tools
  19. 19. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 9|2. Modals in conditional sentences. Revision
  20. 20. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 10|1. Old and new
  21. 21. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 10|2. The Garden City
  22. 22. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 11|1. In your dreams
  23. 23. IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 11|2. The selling of the Senoi
  24. 24. IELTS|Intermediate| 13. Old innovation
  25. 25. IELTS|Intermediate|1. Dream city
  26. 26. IELTS|Intermediate|10. On board
  27. 27. IELTS|Intermediate|11. Travelling around
  28. 28. IELTS|Intermediate|12. Different ways
  29. 29. IELTS|Intermediate|14. At an exhibition
  30. 30. IELTS|Intermediate|15. Electronic devices
  31. 31. IELTS|Intermediate|16. Inventions
  32. 32. IELTS|Intermediate|17. Wild animals
  33. 33. IELTS|Intermediate|18. In the zoo
  34. 34. IELTS|Intermediate|19. Animals in our life
  35. 35. IELTS|Intermediate|2. Booking an apartment
  36. 36. IELTS|Intermediate|20. Animal life
  37. 37. IELTS|Intermediate|21. It makes difference
  38. 38. IELTS|Intermediate|23. Human memory
  39. 39. IELTS|Intermediate|22. Successful people
  40. 40. IELTS|Intermediate|24. Talent and success
  41. 41. IELTS|Intermediate|3. Talking about your hometown
  42. 42. IELTS|Intermediate|4. Where to go?
  43. 43. IELTS|Intermediate|7. Family and childhood
  44. 44. IELTS|Intermediate|5. Explorer and writer
  45. 45. IELTS|Intermediate|6. Travelling companions
  46. 46. IELTS|Intermediate|8. Families around the world
  47. 47. IELTS|Intermediate|9. Machines in our life
  48. 48. IELTS|Intermediate|Exam: listening and writing
  49. 49. IELTS|Intermediate|Exam: reading and speaking
  50. 50. IELTS|Intermediate|Revise and Check 1
  51. 51. IELTS|Intermediate|Revise and Check 2
  52. 52. IELTS|Intermediate|Revise and Check 3
  53. 53. IELTS|Intermediate|Revise and Check 4
  54. 54. IELTS|Intermediate|Revise and Check 5
  55. 55. IELTS|Intermediate|Revise and Check 6
  56. 56. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|1. Being a high achiever
  57. 57. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|12. Leading a healthy life
  58. 58. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|10. Placebo effect
  59. 59. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|11. Changing life expectancy
  60. 60. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|13. Works of art
  61. 61. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|14. Aboriginal art
  62. 62. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|19. The Earth's interior
  63. 63. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|15. Being good at arts
  64. 64. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|16. What is a masterpiece?
  65. 65. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|17. Collecting fossils
  66. 66. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|18. Evolution and survival
  67. 67. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|2. University life
  68. 68. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|20. A valuable possession
  69. 69. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|21. The role of technology
  70. 70. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|22. Film making and technology
  71. 71. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|23. The impact of IT on society
  72. 72. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|24. Number one website
  73. 73. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 6
  74. 74. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 8
  75. 75. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 7
  76. 76. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 5
  77. 77. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|9. In therapy
  78. 78. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 4
  79. 79. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 3
  80. 80. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 2
  81. 81. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 1
  82. 82. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Exam Part 2
  83. 83. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Exam Part 1
  84. 84. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|8. Adding colour
  85. 85. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|4. Career plans
  86. 86. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|7. The best colour
  87. 87. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|28. A symbol of a nation
  88. 88. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|6. The art of colour
  89. 89. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|29. Exploring space
  90. 90. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|5. Perceiving colours
  91. 91. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|27. Endangered species
  92. 92. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|32. Extraterrestrial phenomena
  93. 93. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|26. Wildlife wonders
  94. 94. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|25. Environmental issues
  95. 95. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|31. Space tourism prospects
  96. 96. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|30. Observing the stars
  97. 97. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|3. Getting a qualification