humanities: studies about human culture, such as literature, languages, philosophy, and history.
| Chloe excels in humanities subjects. She’s adept at arts and languages.
sciences: studies about the world, such as physics, biology, chemistry, and maths.
| Mark doesn’t like scientific subjects, he’s just too lazy to learn formulas.
A for effort: a good mark, which is given someone for trying hard rather than for a success.
| Although I’m not the smartest in my group, I often get an A for effort, because I try hard.
bachelor’s degree: an undergraduate course which usually lasts 3 or 4 years.
| I will receive my bachelor’s degree in two years.
bookworm: a term to describe someone who really likes to read and spends a lot of time on it.
| I’m a real bookworm. I won’t stop until the book is read.
distance learning (e-learning): education that takes place remotely, usually via the Internet.
| Distance learning is more flexible than traditional education, because students don’t have to attend classes and can schedule their timetables as they want.
eager beaver: an enthusiastic and hard-working person.
| My friend is an eager beaver. He studies everything with pleasure and gets great marks.
face-to-face classes: a traditional way of studying – in a classroom with a teacher.
| When I was a kid, face-to-face classes had no alternatives, but nowadays a myriad of educational establishments offer online courses and individual tuition.
higher education: education that is followed after high school.
| I plan on getting higher education after finishing school.
hit the books: begin studying hard.
| I’m on my third year in the university, it is time to finally hit the books.
individual tuition (private tuition): instruction received individually or in a small group.
| Individual tuition is sometimes more effective than group work.
intensive course: a course that offers longer and more frequent classes.
| A few years ago I took an intensive French course in the university.
internship: a temporary position which students usually take to get work experience and practical knowledge.
| Before I went into design industry, I took an internship in a company.
master’s degree: a graduate course, which follows after bachelor’s degree.
| Master’s degree is often important to find a job with a higher salary.
mature student: someone who’s older than others.
| Nowadays it’s not uncommon to face a mature student in the class. People often change professions and get a second or third degree in their midthirties.
not the sharpest tool in the shed: a polite way of saying that someone isn’t very smart.
| Maybe John isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but he’s a good friend nonetheless.
public schools: exclusive independent schools in the UK.
| My friend finished a public school a few years ago.
schoolboy error: a very basic and stupid mistake.
| Sam made a schoolboy error on his English test.
single-sex schools: schools for either boys or girls.
| My brother studied in a single-sex school
small fraction: small part.
| A small fraction of students managed to pass this exam.
state school: a school which is paid for by the state or country.
| It is hard to find a good state school nowadays.
subject specialist: a person who is very talented in one specific field.
| My math teacher was a real subject specialist. Thanks to him math is my favourite subject now.
teacher’s pet: student whom teachers like the most.
| Hugo is a teacher’s pet, he attends all classes and manages to get good marks with poor knowledge.
three R’s: basic educational skills (reading, writing, arithmetic).
| Pupils in a primary school study the three R’s.
to attend classes: to visit classes.
| In my college, students need to attend classes five times a week.
to fall behind with studies: to progress less quickly than others.
| Mary was ill for two weeks, so she fell behind with her studies.
to give feedback: to give some information or criticism on a subject.
| I launched a project a couple of days ago and I want my friends to give me some feedback.
to goof around: spend time doing nothing important.
| Sometimes I like to goof around, although my parents scold me for that.
to learn something by heart: to memorize something.
| Last year i had to learn a very big poem by heart for my literature class.
to meet a deadline: to finish something within a time limit.
| Unfortunately, we weren’t able to meet the deadline for our project.
to pass with flying colours: to pass easily and with excellent result.
| I’m studying hard and I will pass IELTS with flying colours.
to play truant: to skip classes without permission.
| During my school years I often played truant with my friends.
to pursue studying: to continue studying.
| Lora would like to pursue studying in the future to become a professor.
to set aside some time: to take some time.
| I need to set aside some time to collect my thoughts.
to sit an exam: to take an exam.
| Tomorrow I’ll have to sit a two-hour math exam.
to take a year out: to spend one year working or traveling before studying in the University.
| My friend took a year out and went traveling to the UK.
tuition fees: money you pay for your education.
| I had to pay tuition fees this summer.
IELTS Speaking sample about Education
Do you work or are you a student?
At the moment I’m studying. I’m doing a graduate degree in molecular biology in the Vanderbilt University.
Why did you choose that subject?
I’ve always loved life sciences, particularly biology… And when I received my bachelor’s degree I took a research internship in a laboratory where I studied interactions between proteins… And then I understood that I want to pursue my career in biochemistry or molecular biology.
Can you describe yourself as a good student?
Well, overall I think I am a good student. … I am not an eager beaver, nor the teacher’s pet… but I’m good at scientific subjects and, most importantly, I like studying.
Do you study English now?
Yes, of course. I’ve taken an intensive course this year, where I’ve attend classes three times a week… And I plan on pursuing my studies in the future, too…
Did you enjoy/Do you enjoy studying at school?
I’ve never really liked school… I’m not a bookworm and a lot of humanities subjects seemed too boring to me. However, the workload was not too big… The other good thing about school is being able to see your friends. And fortunately, I had wonderful classmates.
Now, have a look at the card and prepare a monologue.
Describe a period of time from your studies that was the most difficult for you so far. You should say:
• When it was
• Why was it hard
• What you were doing at that time
I would like to talk about my last school year. It was really diffucult due to enormous amounts of homework I had to do and all the exams I had to prepare for… Em, so I studied hard, having no time to goof around … Moreover, I forgot a lot of things from the school curriculum, that’s why I had to do a lot of revision… But despite the tough preparation, I managed to set aside some time to rest and interact with my friends and family… After all, my efforts were not in vain… I passed all the exams well and was admitted to the university of my dream.
What are some essential qualities every teacher should have?
As for me, every teacher should be able to catch student’s attention. It is very important to make your subject interesting to the others… Also, teacher should be a subject specialist and a kind, helpful person..
What are some pros of studying on a distance learning course?
To be honest, I think it’s very advantageous to study in such way… It gives you more time flexibility, especially if you have a job… Not to mention that it is fairly cheap, compared to face-to-face classes…
Does everybody get equal opportunities to study?
Definitely not. I think it really depends on a country you live in… Moreover, it depends on your financial capabilities… Some schools and universities are just too expensive… Only a small fraction of people can afford to study there.
IELTS Education Vocabulary
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: Are you studying English at a school?
Michel: Yes … I’m taking an intensive course at a local private language school … I attend classes three times a week …
Examiner: Would you say you are a good student?
Susan: I’m OK I think … I’m pretty good at meeting deadlines and I’m keeping up with my studies… plus I find it quite easy to learn things by heart which is useful when learning a language …
Examiner: When you were younger did you enjoy your time at school?
Theo: Yes … I liked school … it was an ordinary state school … nothing special … a single-sex school … which I’m not sure I liked … but the teachers were great … I had lots of friends and I never played truant like some pupils there …
Part 2 -style task
Describe a time during your education that you really enjoyed. You should say:
– when this period was
– where you were
– what you were studying at the time
and say why you were so happy.
Caroline: I’d like to tell you about my time at university … I was a mature student … I didn’t go to university until I was 25 … and it was my first time away from my parents so it was very exciting … I was doing a Bachelors Degree and it was a bit of a challenge … some people take a year out but I’d been away from education for 8 years … plus I had to work my way through uni so I was very busy … and sitting exams at the end of each year was a new experience for me as well but I really enjoyed higher education learning about a subject I loved … history … and the social life was great as well … I don’t think I’ve ever had so many friends … I had my graduation ceremony last year in the local cathedral and I know my parents were really proud … so yes … that was a really happy time … I’m thinking of doing a Masters Degree soon … though that might be through distance learning as I have a full-time job now …
Part 3 -style questions
Examiner: What qualities do you think a good teacher has?
Anna: They should be patient … they should be subject specialists and be able to explain the subject clearly … they should give feedback quickly … for example not hang on to essay for ages like some of my teachers …
Examiner: What are the advantages of studying on a distance learning course?
Florrie: It’s a more flexible way of studying especially if you have a job … tuition fees are usually cheaper … but you have to be very motivated … and I would imagine more people fall behind with their studies compared to face-to-face classes …
Examiner: Do all children get equal opportunities in education?
Julie: In my country I think it is quite equal but in the UK I’ve heard that most people who go to the top universities have studied at public schools … you have to be very rich to study in a school like that … they’re usually boarding schools as well so the fees are enormous …
to attend classes: to go to classes
bachelors degree: an undergraduate course which usually lasts 3-4 years
boarding school: a school where pupils live during term time
distance learning: a way of studying where tuition is carried out over the Internet or by post
face-to-face classes: as opposed to distance learning the traditional way of studying in a classroom with colleagues and a teacher
to fall behind with your studies: to progress less quickly than others
to give feedback: to offer guidance on a student’s work
a graduation ceremony: an event where a successful student receives his or her academic degree
higher education: education, usually in a college or university, that is followed after high school or secondary school
an intensive course: a course that offers lots of training in order to reach a goal in as short a time as possible
to keep up with your studies: to not fall behind
to learn something by heart: to memorize it
a mature student: a student who is older than average and who has usually returned to education after a period at work
masters degree: a period of study which often follows the completion of a bachelors degree or is undertaken by someone regarded as capable of a higher-level academic course
to meet a deadline: to finish a job or task in the time allowed or agreed
to play truant: to stay away from classes without permission
private language school: an independent school run as a business concern
public schools: exclusive independent schools in the UK
a single-sex school: a school where only boys or girls attend (as opposed to a mixed-sex school)
to sit an exam: to take an exam
state school: a school paid for by public funds and available to the general public
subject specialist: a teacher who has a great deal of knowledge about the subject they teach.
to take a year out: to spend a year working or travelling before starting university
tuition fees: the money paid for a course of study
to work your way through university: to have a paid job whilst studying to support yourself financially