Doesn’t that sound terribly yellow to you? | IELTS Academic Reading Sample Question

The passage contains the following question types from IELTS Reading Question Types:

  • Identifying information
  • Multiple Choice Question
  • Yes No Not Given

Doesn’t that sound terribly yellow to you?

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 29-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

A. “I can’t say. I’m colour blind”, was my flatmate’s response. And that was that for another twenty-odd year when by chance I came across an article in a newspaper on research into synaesthesia at a London hospital. At last, I understood my interpretation of the world through colour. Synaesthesia is the subjective sensation of a sense other than the one being stimulated. For example, the sight of a word may evoke sensations of colour or the sound of music may also have a similar effect, as may the taste. Or, to put it simply, synaesthetes, i.e. people with synaesthesia, have their senses hooked together so that they experience several senses simultaneously. To those not already aware of it, synaesthesia seems a new phenomenon. Yet, it is far from new.

B. In 1690, John Locke, the philosopher, wrote of a blind man with synaesthetic capabil­ities. The first reference in the medical field was in 1710, by Thomas Woodhouse, an Eng­lish ophthalmologist. In his Theory of Colour, the German writer, Goethe, talked about colour and the senses. The poet, Arthur Rimbaud, wrote about synaesthesia in his 1871 poem Voyelles, as did another French poet Baudelaire, in Correspondance. So, synaesthesia has a respectable history. Synaesthesia is understandably met with a certain degree of scepticism since it is something beyond the ken of the vast majority of people. Son et lumière shows in the 19th century were an attempt at combining the senses in a public display, but such displays were not capable of conveying the sensations experienced by involuntary synaesthesia, as the ability which a synaesthete’s experience is called.

C. There has been a number of well-documented synaesthetes. Alexander Scriabin, the Rus­sian composer, (1871-1915) tried to express his own synaesthetic abilities in his symphony Prometheus, the Poem of Fire (1922). And another Russian, Rlmsky-Korsakov, noted the colour associations musical keys possessed. For example, Scriabin saw C major as red, while to Rimsky-Korsakov it was white. Arthur Bliss, an English composer, based his 1922 Colour Symphony on the concept of synaesthesia. He did not claim to be a synaesthete; his colour choices were arbitrary and the project an intellectual exercise. In the field of the visual arts, probably the best-known artist with synaesthetic capabilities is the Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), credited with being the founder of abstract painting.

D. It is said he experienced “sensory fusion” at a performance of Wagner’s Lohengrin, with the music producing colours before his eyes. He did not see colours solely in terms of objects but associated them with sounds. He even composed an opera, Der GelbeKlang (The Yellow Sound), which was a mixture of colour, light, dance and sound. For many people with synaesthesia, knowing that what they have been experiencing has both a name and a history and that they are among a number of notable sufferers is a revelation, Initially, they often feel that there is something wrong psychologically or mentally, or that everyone feds that way. Then they realise with a thud that other people do not. Suppression is an option, but unwittingly some people have managed to make use of the ability to their advantage.

E. While the condition of synaesthesia may hamper many people be­cause of its disorienting effects, It can also open up a range of new skills, it is not unusual for people who have synaesthesia to be creative and imaginative, as many studies have shown, memory is based to some extent on the association. Synacsthctes find they are able to remember certain things with great ease. The person who associates the shape of a word with colour is quite often able to remember a long sequence of words, and the same goes for other areas where memory needs to be used. Cut this condition like all gifts, has its drawbacks, Some people see words as colours; others even individual letters and syllables so that a word becomes a kaleidoscope of colour. Beautiful though such a reading experience may be, synaesthesia can cause problems with both reading and writing, Reading can take longer because one has to wade through all the colours, as well as the words! And, because the colour sequences, as well as the words, have to fit together writing is then equally difficult.

Questions 1-4

 Do the statements below agree with the information in Reading Passage? In Boxes 1-4, write: 

Yes              if the statement agrees with the Information in the passage
No, if the statement contradicts the information in the passage
Not Given If there is no information about the statement in the passage 

Example: The writer is colour blind, Answer: No. 

1) Synacsthctes experience several senses at the same time. 
2) Newspaper articles and TV news reports about synaesthesia arc appearing with monotonous regularity nowadays. 
3) Mention of synaesthesia can be traced back to the 17th century.
4) It is strange that many people are sceptical about synaesthesia.

Question 5-8

Choose the appropriate letter A-D and write theme in Boxes 5-8 on your answer sheet. 

5) Son et lumiere shows …
 A. attempted to combine public senses 
B. were frequent in the 19′” century
C. were both public and involuntary 
D. did not reproduce the experiences of synacsthctes 

6) Both Alexander Scriabin and Rimsky-Korsakov … 
A. wanted to have synaesthetic abilities
B. created a lot of documents 
C. linked music to colour 
D. agreed with Bliss in 1922 

7) The Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky, …
A. performed Wagner’s Lohengrin 
B. found abstract painting 
C. also composed music 
D. saw objects 

8) At first, “sufferers” of synaesthesia believe that … 
A. other people have similar experiences or there is some­thing wrong with them 
B. they are a revelation 
C. they are psychologically or mentally superior 
D. they are unique   

Questions 9-12

According to the reading passage, which of the following statements are true about synaesthetes? Write the appropriate letters in Boxes 9-12 on your answer sheet. 

A. Some synacsthctcs are disoriented by their abilities. 
B.   Unusually, some synaesthetes hove great creativity. 
C. Memory is heightened by synaesthesia. 
D. Synaesthetes have gilts and drawbacks. 
E.   Some synaesthetes use their ability to help themselves. 
F. Their ability can be an obstacle to them. 
G. Some synaesthetcs write in colour.

Answers for IELTS Reading Sample Question

Question 1-4

1) Answer: Yes. The answer is in the last sentence of paragraph 2,
2) Answer: Not Given.
3) Answer: Yes. The answer is at the beginning of paragraph 3; 1690 is in the 17,h century.
4) Answer: No. The answer is in the first sentence of paragraph 4; It is not strange but
understandable that people are sceptical,
5)   Answer: D. The answer is In paragraph 4, in the second sentence. A is incorrect because combining the senses in a public display In the passage does not have the same meaning as A. B is incorrect, as the passage docs not mention frequency.
C is incorrect, because the word involuntary does not have the same meaning as in the passage.
6)   Answer: C. The answer is to be found in paragraph 5, in both the second and the third sentences. A is incorrect because the passage states that they did have these abilities, B is incorrect as the meaning of well-documented is recorded in detail And D is incorrect, because there is no mention of any agreement In the text.
7)    Answer: C. Paragraph 6 talks about Wassily Kandinsky, and the answer is in the last sentence. A is incorrect, as he was at a performance, not in one. B is not right, because found does not have the same meaning as founded. D is incorrect, because it is not complete.
8)    Answer: A. The answer is in paragraph 7, in the second sentence. B is incorrect because it is the knowledge that is a revelation, not the people. C is not right, because no mention is made of inferiority or superiority. And D is not right, because there is no mention of this.
9-12) Answers: A, C, E, F. The answers can be found in paragraph 7. A and F arc in the fifth sentence of paragraph 7, E in the fourth sentence of the same paragraph. C is at the end of the paragraph. The distractcrs are wrong for the following rea¬sons: B is incorrect, because in paragraph 7 it says: “It is not unusual for people who have synaesthesia to be creative D is incorrect because it is the condition, not the people that have the drawbacks, (see the first sentence of paragraph 8). And G is not correct, because as the last sentence of paragraph 8 says, the link between colour and writing is not meant literally.