IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|7. The best colour

Answer the questions below

1. To what extent do you think it is important for people to work or study in pleasant surroundings?

2. Why do so many people have to work in unpleasant surroundings? How do you think it affects the quality of their work?

3. What’s the colour scheme at your workplace like? Does it motivate you to do your best?

Read Writing Task 2, then think what ideas support the statement by discussing the questions below

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Writing Task 2

Write about the following topic

Psychologists have known for many years that colour can affect how people feel. For this reason, attention should be given to colour schemes when decorating places such as offices and hospitals.

How true is this statement?

How far does colour influence people’s health and capacity for work?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

1. What activities take place in offices?

2. How would colour affect staff in these places?

3. Who else goes to offices? How might they feel?

4. How might colour affect patients in a hospital?

5. What about medical staff?

Tick the questions in the box according to the essay section, they are related to

pic2_IELTS|Upper-Int|L7

Read the sample essay and complete this plan

Colour is arguably one of the earliest things that we learn about. As we grow up, we develop preferences for colour, and these are shown in the decoration of our homes, the products we buy and the clothes we wear. As colour plays such a huge role in our domestic lives, it is inevitable that it will also affect how we feel outside of the home, particularly in places such as hospitals and offices.

As a matter of fact, businesses have been aware of the impact of colour on employees for some time. The general view has been that if you work in an office that has too many colours and patterns on the walls, you will end up finding it hard to concentrate. Visitors may also be too taken up with the colours around them to focus on what they are doing. Interestingly, however, there are some office areas that suit bright colours. For example, creative people often say they can carry out their work better if a room is painted in bold colours. In my university in Thailand, the creative room was painted entirely in yellow to inspire its users to come up with exciting and novel ideas. Students commented that they felt more energised in this type of environment.

While work is about output, hospitals are about the health of patients. Clearly, bright colours would be less welcome in a hospital ward, where patients are trying to recover from operations and illnesses. Here, relaxing shades are needed, such as pastels.

Having said that, some hospital areas are the opposite. Unlike adults, children need some form of entertainment, and walls painted in bright reds and oranges with pictures and posters can achieve that. Similarly, doctors and nurses might welcome brighter surroundings when they are taking a break from work.

As far as I am concerned, there is a direct link between colour and mood. This means that designers should think about who will occupy a building, and decorate its rooms in such a way that the occupants are able to get the best out of their surroundings.

Read the underlined attitude words and phrases and deduce their meaning relying on the context. Then match them to the explanations below

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Attitude adverbials

Attitude adverbials consist of a word/phrase which expresses the writer’s attitude to what is going to be said: Surprisingly, many people believe that dogs cannot see colours.(The writer is saying he finds it surprising that many people believe this.) Attitude adverbials:

🔹is normally placed at the beginning of the sentence: Clearly, bright colours would be less welcome on a hospital ward.

🔹is normally set off with commas: Surprisingly, he was very upset.

Attitude adverbials may express:

🔹a feeling or emotion: Sadly, few students have applied for the grant.

a context: Generally speaking, grants are only given to post-graduate students. Of course, this is not true in all cases.

🔹an attitude: Frankly, I think people should take more care of their pets.

🔹an opinion: As far as I’m concerned, all public buildings should be decorated in bright colours.

🔹emphasis: Сolour blindness is more common among men. Actually, it affects about 8% of men in North America, whereas only 0.5% of women are affected.

Colour is arguably one of the earliest things that we learn about. As we grow up, we develop preferences for colour, and these are shown in the decoration of our homes, the products we buy and the clothes we wear. As colour plays such a huge role in our domestic lives, it is inevitable that it will also affect how we feel outside of the home, particularly in places such as hospitals and offices.

As a matter of fact, businesses have been aware of the impact of colour on employees for some time. The general view has been that if you work in an office that has too many colours and patterns on the walls, you will end up finding it hard to concentrate. Visitors may also be too taken up with the colours around them to focus on what they are doing. Interestingly, however, there are some office areas that suit bright colours. For example, creative people often say they can carry out their work better if a room is painted in bold colours. In my university in Thailand, the creative room was painted entirely in yellow to inspire its users to come up with exciting and novel ideas. Students commented that they felt more energised in this type of environment.

While work is about output, hospitals are about the health of patients. Clearly, bright colours would be less welcome in a hospital ward, where patients are trying to recover from operations and illnesses. Here, relaxing shades are needed, such as pastels. Having said that, some hospital areas are the opposite. Unlike adults, children need some form of entertainment, and walls painted in bright reds and oranges with pictures and posters can achieve that. Similarly, doctors and nurses might welcome brighter surroundings when they are taking a break from work.

As far as I am concerned, there is a direct link between colour and mood. This means that designers should think about who will occupy a building, and decorate its rooms in such a way that the occupants are able to get the best out of their surroundings.


Find and correct the mistakes at the beginning of these sentences

Choose the correct article (- stands for a zero article)

pic4_IELTS|Upper-Int|L7

Use of articles

The indefinite article a/an is used to:

  • stress the idea of being general/non-specific: Can I borrow a pen? (= any pen)
  • refer to someone’s job or function: She’s a physiotherapist.
  • mean one: The flat has a sitting room and two bedrooms.

The definite article the is used:

  • to refer to something specific or unique: The university is holding the seminar next Wednesday. (= the university we study at, the seminar we have already mentioned)
  • with plural countable nouns to refer to something known, something specific or to something that has been mentioned before: An experiment was carried out on 500 school children. The children were divided into two groups.
  • with superlative and other similar adjectives: The most surprising result was also the most significant.
  • in the … the comparative structures: The harder you study, the more you’ll learn.
    with the following names:

1. some countries, especially consisting of several parts: the United States, the Netherlands;

2. rivers, seas and oceans, island groups, mountain ranges and deserts: the Amazon, the Black Sea, the Pacific, the Bahamas, the Alps, the Sahara.

We use no article:

  • with plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns with a general meaning or when we are generalising: Behaviour is very influenced by colour. People generally react unconsciously to it.
  • in certain expressions connected with places, institutions or situations: Did you go to university? (= Were you a student?) What did you do in class today? (= What did you learn?).
  • with the majority of countries: China, England.
  • with individual islands and mountains have no article: Majorca, Everest.


Find and correct mistakes in the sentences

Decide what ideas you could put into an essay which expresses the opinion opposite to that in the task. Complete this plan for the answer

pic5_IELTS|Upper-Int|L7

Writing Task 2

Write about the following topic

Psychologists have known for many years that colour can affect how people feel. For this reason, attention should be given to colour schemes when decorating places such as offices and hospitals.

How true is this statement?

How far does colour influence people’s health and capacity for work?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Think of relevant supporting details and/or examples from your own knowledge or experience for each point in paragraphs 2-3 and 4-5

Exam tips

Writing Task 2

1. Analyse the task carefully first. You will lose marks if you misread the question or fail to deal with all parts of the task.

2. Brainstorm ideas, make a quick plan and write following your plan.

3. Provide some arguments in favour of your opinion. In a discursive essay, you should also give one or two counter-arguments that go against your opinion.

4. Use appropriate attitude adverbials to indicate your views in a clear and consistent way.

Read the sample essay and answer the questions

pic5_IELTS|Int|Exam read and speak

Essay_1

Essay_2

1. Which sentence in the first passage expresses the opinion about the statement?

2. What sentences in the main body correspond to the points in the writing task?

3. What sentences comprise arguments in favour of the opinion stated in the sample?

4. Which passage includes counter-argument(s)?

5. What sentence summarises the writer’s opinion?

6. What part of the writing task does the concluding paragraph correspond?

7. Which of the words and phrases in bold are not attitude adverbials?

Writing Task 2

Write about the following topic

Psychologists have known for many years that colour can affect how people feel. For this reason, attention should be given to colour schemes when decorating places such as offices and hospitals.

How true is this statement?

How far does colour influence people’s health and capacity for work?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

pic1_Adults|Grammar|Pre-Int|L14

Read the writing sample. Correct the grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes in it

pic6_IELTS|Upper-Int|L7

Watch the video and do the test after it

In this lesson I will give you five key points to follow when you’re writing your IELTS test 2 essay. Make sure to practise these points and get feedback at least several times before you sit the official IELTS exam to give yourself the best chance to get a band of 7 or higher on IELTS test 2. Also, I’m going to show you an example essay that includes all of these five important points.

All right, point number one. Your essay must have clear structure. This means your essay needs at least four paragraphs: an introduction, body paragraph 1, body paragraph 2 and a conclusion. Remember your conclusion needs to be more than just a paraphrase or repeat of the introductory paragraph.

Ok. So, the second key point that you need to practise and follow. Make sure that your essay is a persuasive essay. This means it gives your opinion to the reader and presents some kind of an argument. This is what essays usually ask for. As well, your essay needs to be in the first person voice. This means you need to use ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’ at least once in each of four paragraphs to show that you’re giving ideas from your own experiences and from your own past knowledge. Again, if you look at questions for IELTS test 2 you will see that they almost always ask for this kind of opinion. Ok. Now let’s jump to key point number three.

Point number three. An IELTS test 2 essay that will get the score at least 6.5 or 7 and more needs to have a direct thesis statement at the end of the introductory paragraph. A thesis statement is a clear sentence which tells the reader what you believe and why you believe that. Your thesis statement should include two clear points that are grammatically parallel and will be discussed in the body paragraphs.

Ok. Key point number four. Your task 2 essay must flow smoothly. This means your ideas need to be connected and you must use several complex and compound sentences. Compound sentences are when you join ideas together in your writing using words like ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’ and so on. Complex sentences are using subordinating conjunctions. These are words that show opposition, time, condition and cause and effect. Words like this include ‘since’, ‘ because’, ‘however’, ‘on the other hand’ er… ‘nevertheless’ and so on. Make sure to use complex and compound sentences in order to get high scores. Ok, let’s jump to point number five.

Important point number five Your essay must answer the topic and the controlling idea of the question accurately and clearly. Perhaps, the most common mistake that test takers make is that they do not answer the question accurately or clearly. Even high level students who have good English and grammar with lots of vocabulary can get low scores if they miss answering the question correctly. Before you begin to write your essay, be sure that you have identified the topic of the question and the controlling idea. Then, think about this critically, ask ‘what, why, how’, visualize it, get a picture in your head and only after you’ve done this begin to write your essay.


Follow this 🔗link to watch the full video.

Read the task in the green box. Then plan your answer by writing some key notes that are true for you in the table below

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Writing Task 2

Colour is a powerful tool that is used to great effect by manufacturers and retail companies when they try to sell us something. In fact, many of the purchasing decisions we make are partly or largely influenced by colour.

How true is this statement? How much does colour influence us when we buy something?

Introduction: My view about the statement 1.
Second paragraph: The colour of the things you bought and how important the colour was in making your choice. 2.
Third paragraph: The predominant colour in the places you visited and how those colours influenced your decisions. 3.
Fourth paragraph: Counter-argument(s) for any one or more of the above points. 4.
Conclusion: Colour influence on your decision to buy something 5.

Write a discursive essay making use of the notes above. You should write at least 250 words, and spend about 30-35 minutes on the task

Exam tips

Writing Task 2

  1. Analyse the task carefully first. You will lose marks if you misread the question or fail to deal with all parts of the task.
  2. Brainstorm ideas, make a quick plan and write following your plan.
  3. Provide some arguments in favour of your opinion. In a discursive essay, you should also give one or two counter-arguments that go against your opinion.
  4. Use appropriate attitude adverbials to indicate your views in a clear and consistent way.

  1. apparently;
  2. arguably;
  3. as far as I am concerned;
  4. clearly;
  5. a colour scheme;
  6. domestic;
  7. entirely;
  8. inevitably;
  9. pastel;
  10. potentially.

  • The invisible power of colour
  • Colour in decor
  • Essay
  • What's your opinion?
  • General and specific things
  • Complete the plan
  • Pros and cons of colours
  • Assessing the role of colour
  • Good essay tips
  • Colours in retail
  • Colours in retail
  • Essay
  • What\'s your opinion?
  • General and specific things
  • Good essay tips
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  2. 2. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|2. University life
  3. 3. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|3. Getting a qualification
  4. 4. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|4. Career plans
  5. 5. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 1
  6. 6. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|5. Perceiving colours
  7. 7. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|6. The art of colour
  8. 8. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|7. The best colour
  9. 9. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|8. Adding colour
  10. 10. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 2
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  15. 15. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 3
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  20. 20. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 4
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  25. 25. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 5
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  30. 30. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 6
  31. 31. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|25. Environmental issues
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  35. 35. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 7
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  40. 40. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Revise and Check 8
  41. 41. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Exam Part 1
  42. 42. IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|Exam Part 2