education ielts vocabulary

Education and schools is a common topic of discussion both in general life and in the IELTS test. This article provides you with the required vocabulary for the IELTS exam. This section is focused on the words related to education, schools, and studying. The IELTS vocabulary is divided into different sections and there are exercises for you to practice what you have learnt.

1. School Subjects

The vocabulary given below is applicable in both writing and speaking sections.

You may be asked speaking cue-card, such as what was your favorite subject at school?

Similarly, the essay topic could be – Some people believe schools should teach science and mathematics only. Do you agree or disagree?

  • mathematics / math’s (UK) / math (USA)
  • science
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • physics
  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • physical education (PE)
  • history
  • geography
  • art
  • music
  • IT ( Information technology)

** School subjects are not capitalised unless they are proper nouns such as languages. However, if you are mentioning a specific class or course title then you should use a capital letter. For example, Calculous 3 or The Ancient History of Peru would both require capital letters.

Exercise 1

Complete the sentences with one of the school subjects from the section above

1. The part I enjoyed the most of _________________ class was learning about the different elements in the periodic table.

2. Many feel that ___________courses in secondary schools should start to include more contemporary works rather than focusing on the traditional pieces.

3. _________class was inspirational to me because of the amazing teacher we had and her experience of performing in an actual orchestra.

4. _________________was challenging for me, especially in winter when you are expected to play rugby in the rain and mud.

5. The best part of studying ______________at school was the exchange trip we took to Paris. I got a chance to put what I had learnt into practice in everyday situations.

6. Learning about string theory and gravitational waves in ___________class at school is what urged me to work for NASA.

7. I have always been interested in the climate and how rocks are formed, so it seemed like a natural choice to study _______at university.

8. The content of __________classes varies country by country depending on their perspective of previous events. For example, North Korean and US accounts of the Korean war vary tremendously.

  1. chemistry
  2. art
  3. music
  4. PE
  5. French
  6. physics
  7. geography
  8. history

2. Educational Establishments

  • Kindergarten / Pre-school / Nursery (UK) – Below 5 years
  • Primary school (UK) / Elementary school (USA) – 5-11 years
  • Secondary school (UK) / High school (USA) – 11 – 16
  • College – In the UK a college can be attended from 16 years upwards and offers further education courses that are not usually of degree level. In the US a college offers degrees and would be known as a university in UK English.
  • University – 18 years and upwards

3. Higher Education Vocabulary

Below are some key nouns and verbs related to university and higher education.

  • Apply for Harvard – To submit an application to study Harvard
  • BA – Bachelor of Arts
  • BSc – Bachelor of Sciences
  • Campus – The location and grounds of a university.
  • Career prospects – The job opportunities a university course can provide upon graduation.
  • Degree – A 3- or 4-year university course
  • Dissertation/Thesis – A long essay or research project written in the final year of university.
  • Distance learning – Taking part or all the course via the internet from a different location to where the school is based.
  • Enroll in – To register for a course at university.
  • Faculty – A university department or the members of teaching staff. The students can also be part of the faculty and are often known as ‘faculty members’.
  • Give a presentation – To speak on a particular topic in front of the class and lecturers.
  • Graduate – (verb) To finish university / (noun) A person who has finished university.
  • Lecture / Lecturer – A class at university / The ‘teacher’ at university.
  • MA / MSc – Master of Arts / Master of Sciences
  • PhD – Doctor of Philosophy
  • Scholarship – A payment or discount to support a student’s education, usually because the student is talented or has shown academic promise or excellence.
  • Seminars – Small group classes where students and the teacher discuss topic.
  • Semester – The period when university is open and giving classes
  • Student loan – The financial assistance provided to university students.
  • To drop out – To leave or quit university.
  • To lecture in English / To give a lecture of English – To teach English / To teach an English class
  • To read French – To study French at university.
  • Tutorials – Small group classes or one on one classes. Often used to assist struggling students with a particular topic.
  • Undergraduates – People currently studying at university.

4. Higher education vocabulary exercise – Use no more than two words from the vocabulary above to complete the sentences. You may need to change the tense of the words.

Exercise 2

1. ________________in groups is often difficult because you are reliant on all team members remembering their part of the speech.

2. I am glad that I got a job at university instead of taking out a ____________. Now I am debt free, and my friends are up to their eyeballs!

3. Mr. Ross is the finest __________________at the university in my opinion. He always wins the award in the end of semester student questionnaires.

4. If Paul had not gotten a _____________from a local charity, which helps promising students from deprived backgrounds, he never would have been able to study at the London School of Economics.

5. Timmy _______________after only a few months because he couldn’t handle the workload.

6. I am thinking of _____________in an evening course on Greek History at the local university.

7. The degrees commonly thought to offer the best _______________are medicine and law as we will always need doctors and lawyers.

8. I decided to focus my ___________________on investigating the link between climate change and declining bee populations.

  1. Giving presentations
  2. Student loan
  3. Lecturer
  4. Scholarship
  5. Dropped out
  6. Enrolling in
  7. Career prospects
  8. Dissertation / Thesis

5. Phrasal Verbs related to education 

There are many phrasal verbs related to education’ below are some of the commonly found ones in the IELTS exam.

Be into – To be interested in a topic
Fall behind – To miss deadlines or not complete work on time
Hand in – To submit a piece of work
Hand out – To distribute
Put off – To delay something
Read over – Read something from beginning to end, often to check for errors.
Take in – To understand something
Take up – To start learning something or engaging in an activity
Type up – Transfer written notes to digital form on a computer

For more practice, visit IELTS vocabulary for communication.

Vocab articles short lists

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