Education Vocabulary: Word Lists and Pronunciation

This is the essential vocabulary for education about schools, subjects, studying and university. There is an audio to listen to the pronunciation of the words. These are the most common words and collocations which you will need to learn in order to talk or write about school or university successfully. After each section of vocabulary, there are exercises for you to practice using the words.

Click here to download the PDF version of this page: Education Vocabulary PDF. Please note that the PDF does not contain the answers – you must check your answers on this page.

Educational Institutions

  • kindergarten = pre-school education
  • primary school
  • secondary school
  • college = further education
  • higher education = university education = tertiary education
  • post-graduate school = university for students studying beyond degree level

School Subjects

  • maths
  • language
  • literature
  • science
    • physics
    • biology
    • chemistry
    • natural science
  • geography
  • religious studies
  • history
  • information technology (IT)
  • physical education (PE)
  • cookery = domestic / food science
  • handicrafts
  • art
  • music

 

Vocabulary Exercises: School Subjects

  1. One of the reasons that I didn’t like ……………… was because of the lab work which sometimes involved dissection.
  2. I’ve always enjoyed learning about how chemicals react with one another so I decided to choose …………. as one of my main subjects.
  3. When I was a child, we practiced ………………… three times a week which was fine in summer but was freezing during the winter when you have to football or hockey outside.
  4. My teacher encouraged us to take part in ……………………… in order to develop skills beyond what is taught in scheduled lessons.
  5. I used to find complicated calculations difficult as well as algebra but when we got a new ………… teacher, it all become much easier to understand.
  6. One of my favourite subjects was …………………… because you had a chance to get out of the classroom and learn more about the environment.
  7. Teachers were really strict on ……………… in exams. The exam invigilators won’t even let you have your bag in the exam room.
  8. Poetry should be taught more in ………………. lessons in order to help students develop a deeper understanding of their language and culture.
  9. I always loved studying maps. We spent a lot of time in our ……………. lessons tracing the borders of countries and learn the capital cities of different countries.
  10. My worst subject at school was …………… because I was completely tone deaf.
Answers
  1. biology
  2. chemistry
  3. physical education
  4. extra curricular activities
  5. math’s
  6. natural science
  7. cheating
  8. literature
  9. geography
  10. music

 

Useful Language & Collocations

  • lab work = laboratory experiments
  • dissection = cutting up animals for scientific research
  • scheduled lessons = lessons which are planned and written into a school curriculum
  • algebra = formulas and equations in mathematics
  • to give out or assign homework / to do or complete homework
  • to complete high school / to graduate high school
  • to do, to participate or to take part in school activities or sport
  • tracing = copying, outlining in pencil
  • tone deaf = without an ear for music = unable to appreciate or hear different music and notes

 

Types of Schools – Same-Sex & Co-Ed Schools

Watch this video to learn the advantages or single-sex schools and the plus points of mixed schools. This video contains ideas and vocabulary to help you express your ideas clearly.

University Vocabulary

University Courses

  • BA / BSc = Bachelor of Arts Degree / Bachelor of Science Degree
  • MA / MSc = Masters of Arts / Masters of Science
  • PhD = Doctorate

Other Courses

  • Certificate = a lower level qualification often offered at colleges rather than universites. This is also the word used the for documentation received for completing any type of course or degree (she received her certificate for her BA degree).
  • Diploma
  • Online Course
  • Distance Learning Course
  • Vocational course = a course which teaches you skills for a specific job, for example engineering.
  • Non-vocational course = a course which is not related to a job but to a general subject instead, such as Biology.

 

Useful Verbs & Nouns for University

  • to graduate from a university = complete a degree course / to finish university
  • to enroll on a degree course = put your name down for a degree course
  • to major in physics = to choose physics as your main subject at university
  • to attend a lecture = to go to listen to a speaker at university often with a large audience in a lecture theatre
  • to attend a tutorial = to go to a meeting with a professor usually in small group held in his/her office
  • deliver a lecture = to give a talk or presentation
  • to lecture in media studies = to talk about media studies or to teach media studies at university
  • the faculty of business = a department specialising in business at university
  • to read history = to study history
  • to do or complete coursework = doing project work or assignments as part of your course
  • undergraduate (n) = someone currently doing their first degree
  • graduate (n)  = someone who has completed a degree course
  • note-taking = being able to take notes in a lecture while the lecturer is talking
  • keeping up with the work load = being able to maintain the level of studying required
  • fall behind with studies = fail to keep pace with the school / university work

 

University Work

  • presentations
  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • thesis
  • dissertation
  • hypothesis
  • assignment
  • project work
  • research

 

Vocabulary Exercises: Universities

Complete the following sentences are university education using no more than one word.

  1. People who have ……….. from university stand a better chance of finding a good job.
  2. I hope to enroll ………. a degree in law next year in the UK.
  3. There is a lot of competition to get a ……………….. but without it I won’t be able to afford the universities fees.
  4. One of the keys to successful  ……………. is knowing where to look for information and how to judge which information is most current and relevant. Knowing the best sources of materials is essential.
Answers
  1. graduated
  2. on / in
  3. scholarship
  4. research

 

Other Useful Vocabulary for Education

  • literate = to be able to read and write
  • illiterate = unable to read and write
  • the literacy rate = the percentage of people in a country or region able to read and write
  • comprehensive education = a well-rounded, broad education covering a variety of subjects
  • scholarship = an award of either free or supported education for high achievers
  • student loan = money taken by a student to pay for their education which they must pay back after graduating
  • pay off a student loan = to repay money borrowed for university education
  • intensive course = a course which runs over a short period of time but contains a lot of information and training
  • play truant / truancy = not attending school / being absent from school without permission
  • gap year = to take a year out between high school and university

 

Vocabulary Exercises: Useful Education Vocabulary

Complete the sentences using no more than two words.

  1. The rate of …………… is higher in developed countries than in under developed countries.
  2. Schools should offer a ………………… which includes subjects relating to all minority groups.
  3. The rise in university fees has led to a large proportion of students taking out ………………… which can often be difficult to pay back.
  4. Students who take a …………… often find it difficult to get back into their studies again.
  5. Rather than the government offering free university education for all people, they should, instead, ensure that a certain number of gifted individuals receive a ……………….
Answers
  1. literacy
  2. comprehensive education
  3. student loans
  4. gap year
  5. scholarship

 

Useful Pages for IELTS

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Newspaper Vocabulary

A collection of useful vocabulary for newspapers. These words can be used for talking or writing about newspapers. There is also an audio for each section to help you improve your pronunciation. This topic can come in all parts of the IELTS speaking test, writing task 2 and also listening and reading. It’s well worth learning this useful newspaper vocabulary.

Types of Newspapers

  • tabloids = gossip newspapers
  • broadsheets = newspapers printed on large sheets which are usually considered more serious
  • daily / weekly / monthly newspapers = papers printed once a day / once a week / once a month
  • quarterly newspapers = newspapers printed once every 3 months
  • heavy newspaper = a newspaper with serious content
  • gutter press = newspapers which focus on sensational journalism, often about the lives of famous people
  • periodical = a newspaper or magazine published at regular intervals
  • local / regional newspaper = a newspaper which contain news from a particular area
  • national newspaper = a newspaper which contain news from the whole country

 

Newspaper Content

  • headlines = heading or title appearing at the top of a page or article
  • columns = news that is printed in vertical columns rather than taking a whole page
  • obituaries = a section in the newspaper about people who have recently died
  • horoscope = a section in the newspaper about star signs and zodiac signs which foretell the future
  • weather report = a section in the newspaper for weather forecasts
  • business section = a section in the newspaper with business news
  • international / world news section = a section in the newspaper which focuses on news from abroad
  • caption = a explanation or title matching a picture or cartoon
  • letter to the editor = a section in the newspaper for people to express their views to the editor of the newspaper
  • special feature = a special story
  • editorial = a news article containing the editor’s opinions
  • comic strip = a cartoon series in the newspaper
  • advice column = a column in the newspaper where advice is given to people who write in for it
  • TV guide = a section in the newspaper with a guide for TV programs for the coming day or week

 

Other Useful Vocabulary for Newspapers

  • circulation = the number of copies a newspaper distributes on an average day (some newspapers have a wider circulation than others)
  • edition = a particular version of a text
  • layout = the way articles are designed on a page (this can include the position of pictures, the number of columns and the size of headlines)
  • attention-grabbing = a news story which draws public attention
  • eye-catching = a picture or layout which catches a person’s eye
  • in-depth = with many details
  • sensational news = news which causes public excitement or interest
  • black and white = without colour
  • direct quotation = words taken directly from what a person has said
  • paparazzi = a freelance photographer who follows celebrities
  • front page = the first page of a newspaper
  • supplementary magazine = a magazine which sometimes is given free with a newspaper
  • back issue = an old newspaper edition
  • subject matter = the topic dealt with in an article
  • proof reader = a person who checks a text for errors
  • fact checkers = a person (people) who checks if the newspaper facts and information in an article are correct
  • hot off the press = news that has just been printed and is very recent
  • readership = the collective readers of a newspaper (some newspapers have a large readership)
  • issue (n) = 1. an important topic for a debate   2. a copy of a newspaper

 

Practice with Newspaper Vocabulary

Fill in the following sentences with word(s) from the above lists. Words can be adapted to make the sentences grammatically correct.

Try to fill in the answers before you listen to the audio below.

  1.  I can’t understand why people buy ……………….. because they don’t contain real news, just gossip.
  2. Famous people deserve the right to privacy and the government should do more to control and limit ……………
  3. There are so many mistakes in that article with information that they’ve got wrong. They really should employ a …………….
  4. I’m not keen on the …………… of some newspapers. It seems to me as though they are trying to fill the pages with pictures and big words to get people’s attention but I just think it’s messy.
  5.  Did you read about that amazing hero in WWII that recently died? There was a wonderful article about her life in the …………….. today.
  6. The reason that many people only glance through the papers to read the ……………….. is that they are so busy and don’t have time to read the details in the articles themselves.
  7. Although we live in a global world, where international news is important to follow, it is still vital that people read their ……………… newspapers in order to learn about the community in which they live.
  8. I quite like reading …………… because it’s interesting to read the views of the editor on particular issues.

Listen to the full sentences to check your answers.

 

Answers
  1. tabloids
  2. paparazzi (it is also possible to have the answer of “the gutter press”)
  3. fact checker
  4. layout
  5. obituaries
  6. headlines
  7. regional / local
  8. editorials

 

Error Correction

Find the mistakes in the following sentences. There is one mistake in each sentence.

  1. The paparazzi, who work freelance, are notorious for hound celebrities.
  2. Gutter press focuses on mainly sensational news.
  3. Tabloid are not popular newspapers among the educated people in my country.
  4. Fact checkers do important work and are responsible to make sure that people are quote correctly in articles.
  5. The recent article about marine environmental problems is hot of the press.
  6. For my research, I had to go through a lot of back issues of various newspapers to find the articles relate to my degree thesis.
  7. I’m pleased that newspapers are starting to include some colour photographs and pictures because it makes the articles more interesting and eye-catch.
  8. One of my favourite parts of a newspaper is the comic strip because I find the message in the cartoons so relevent to the major issues of the day.
Answers
  1. hound = hounding (chasing)
  2. Gutter press = The gutter press
  3. Tabloid = Tabloids
  4. quote = quoted
  5. hot of the press = hot off the press
  6. relate = relating
  7. eye-catch = eye-catching
  8. relevent = relevant

 

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IELTS Vocabulary: Paraphrasing Tips

This lesson focuses on IELTS vocabulary and paraphrasing problems. Many students try so hard to paraphrase a word that they are actually making too many mistakes which will lower their band score. This lesson explains how to be careful with paraphrasing and avoid losing marks.

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Camping Topic: Vocabulary with Pronunciation

Camping is a topic which can appear in IELTS speaking part 1. Learn some useful words to be able to talk about this topic. Listen to the recordings to improve your pronunciation.

Camping Vocabulary

Basic camping equipment

camping vocabulary pictures

 

Listen for the missing word

Listen to the recording below. There is one word in the recording which is not in the picture – what is that word? Words will not come in order so write them down as you listen. Answer

The missing word is “map”.

More Camping Vocabulary

  • bug spray = insect repellent
  • compass = equipment for navigation
  • backpack = a bag which you carry on your back
  • air mattress = a bed mattress that is filled with air
  • hat = for protection against weather, particular the sun or rain
  • raincoat = a jacket which is waterproof
  • wildlife = wild animals
  • campground = the place for camping
  • path = a track or way to walk (people follow paths in the forest)
  • firewood = wood used for campfires
  • cramped  = not enough space, too small
  • being close to nature = spending time near wildlife and in natural areas
  • camping gear = a collection of camping equipment

Listen to the recording below to improve your pronunciation.


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World Environmental Problems: Vocabulary Exercise

The top ten world environmental issues with vocabulary, listening practice and pronunciation. Learn useful vocabulary and the pronunciation to be able to talk and write about these issues.

List of Top Environmental Problems in the Modern World

  •  acid rain = rain which is polluted by chemicals
  • deforestation =  rain forests and wooded areas being cut down
  • loss of biodiversity = species becoming extinct
  • ozone layer depletion = the ozone layer is being destroyed and becoming thinner
  • land degradation = soil and land pollution as well as desertification
  • resource depletion = lack of natural resources worldwide
  • climate change = negative changes to the world weather patterns
  • air pollution = air that contains pollutants
  • marine pollution = the pollution of our oceans and seas
  • over population = the increasing population of the world

Listen to Audio

Learn More About Current World Issues

Learn more about the top 10 environmental world issues facing us today. Listen to the recording and fill in the gaps. You may use no more than 3 words and/or numbers to complete the sentences. This exercise is to help you improve your vocabulary, your pronunciation and also your awareness of these issues for your IELTS test.

Acid rain

  • Rain that contains large amounts of (1)………………. This can cause serious health problems as particles of pollution can enter people’s (2)…………………..
  • Acid rain can (3)……………. into the ground causing soil pollution.
  • As rain falls into lakes and river this can cause water pollution.
  • Acid rain can also be responsible for damaging (4)……………

Answers
  1. chemicals
  2. lungs
  3. seep
  4. buildings

 

Deforestation

  • Deforestation is the destruction of forests and the cutting down of trees on a large scale.
  • As forests are cut down, it affects the atmosphere and (1)………………… as trees play a large part in the water cycle.
  • Another problem is the loss of (2)……………………. Some species of plants and animals have already been lost while others remain endangered. This is due to the loss of their (3)………..
  • This process affects climate change. Trees (4)……………… CO2 and give off oxygen. By destroying forests more CO2 remains in the atmosphere affecting the climate.
  • In the area where the trees have been removed, (5)……………….. occurs as the earth is exposed to the sun’s heat. This evaporates much needed nutrients contained in the soil and is very difficult to reverse.

Answers
  1. ecosystem
  2. biodiversity
  3. habitat
  4. absorb
  5. soil erosion

 

Loss of Biodiversity

  • Each species, no matter how small, has a role to play in the (1) …………………
  • A larger number of plant species means a greater variety of (2)………………..
  • Greater species diversity ensures (3) …………………. for all life forms; and healthy ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters.
  • The loss of biodiversity can affect our (4)………………, access to clean water and also the range of raw materials.

Answers
  1. ecosystem
  2. crops
  3. natural sustainability
  4. food security

 

Ozone Layer Depletion

  • The ozone provides essential protection from the (1)……….. ultraviolet radiation.
  • Certain industrial compounds (2)…………. the ozone layer.
  • This reduces the ability of the ozone to protect (3)……………… from UV radiation.
  • This is a global issue as the compounds affecting the ozone come from other parts of the world to where the problem lies.

Answers
  1. sun’s
  2. break down
  3. surface life

 

Land Degradation

  • This relates to changes in the land which reduces its (1)………………………………
  • Factors that have contributed to land degradation include soil erosion, (2)……………………, desertification and loss of vegetation cover.
  • Many of these factors are (3)………………… by human activities.
  • With a growing world population, land degradation can have serious effects on our ability to feed everyone due to reduced (4)…………….. in major food crops.

Answers
  1. productive potential
  2. loss of fertility
  3. exacerbated
  4. yields

 

Resource Depletion

  • Humans are using (1)……….. more resources than the Earth can replenish each year.
  • This leads to pollution, land degradation, soil erosion and (2)………………
  • This problem is worsening as populations and consumption keep growing.
  • (3)………………….. are unable to keep up with the rate of resource depletion.
  • Some scientists believe that by 2030 we will need two planets to provide our wants.
  • The US and China account for more than (4)…………… of the planet’s ecological footprint, with 21% each.

Answers
  1. 30%
  2. deforestation
  3. Science and technology
  4. two-fifths

 

Climate Change

  • The build up of (1)……………… into the atmosphere have led to changes in the world’s climates.
  • The cause of this can be found in carbon emissions and the combustion of (2)………………..
  • Climate change can be felt in the rise in temperatures and the changes of (3)……………….. on a global scale.
  • As a result droughts, floods, wildfires and storms are becoming more frequent.
  • With the increase in temperatures comes the rise in sea levels which threaten (4)…………………. lands.
  • The future consequences are potentially devastating.

Answers
  1. greenhouse gases
  2. fossil fuels
  3. weather patterns
  4. low lying

 

Air Pollution

  • Combustion, mining, factories, (1)………………., farming, fires and automobiles all pose threats as potential air pollutants.
  • This endangers our health and ecosystem.
  • Smog, mainly from factory smoke, is (2)……………… and can produce chronic problems such as lung disease, asthma and heart disease, resulting in an estimated 200,000 (3)………… deaths per year.

Answers
  1. power plants
  2. hazardous
  3. premature

 

Marine Pollution

  • The main contributor of ocean pollution begins on land, namely non-point pollution from septic tanks, sewage sludge, car oil leaks, boats and (1) …………………., which make their way to the sea.
  • Other reasons for the pollution is that some boats and even countries (2)………….. their waste directly into the ocean.
  • Water covers approximately (3)…………… of our globe, it would seem that it is an (4)…………… resource but it is not.
  • Humans are destroying the homes of millions of (5)………………………, some of which we know little to nothing about.
  • Ocean pollution is not only devastating for the sea creatures, it can also be devastating for (6)……………….. as well.

Answers
  1. farm chemicals
  2. deposit
  3. 70%
  4. abundant
  5. aquatic creatures
  6. humans

 

World Population

  • The world population is currently 7 billion and is estimated to be (1)………………. by 2024.
  • This is due to improved living standards and medicine which results in a (2)………………… and lower infant mortality.
  • Over population will result in (3)……………………… and an increase in carbon emissions worsening climate change.
  • In urban areas it may result in lower standards of living and increasing (4)……………………
  • Feeding such a large population will also create challenges.
  • Safe, environmentally friendly (5)………………. will also become a problem as the world population grows which can result in growing pollution.

Answers
  1. 8 billion
  2. longer life span
  3. draining world resources
  4. crime rates
  5. waste disposal

 

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Information for this lesson was collected from various sources including hubpages.com, globalissues.org, and greenliving.

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Musical Instruments Vocabulary

Below is a list of common musical instruments divided by type. How many instruments do you know? Can you pronounce them all correctly?

  • How do you pronounce the word “guitar”? Answer
    The word guitar is pronounced /ɡɪˈtɑː/ . The “u” is a silent letter. See below to listen to the pronunciation.
  • What kind of instrument is the violin? Answer
    It’s a small stringed instrument made of wood.
  • What traditional instruments are there in your country? Answer
    Here are some examples of traditional musical instruments around the world: in India, there is the sitar (a stringed instrument), in China there is the gu-zheng ( a 21 stringed instrument), in Vietnam there is a bamboo xylophone ( percussion instrument), in Italy there is the mandolin (similar to a guitar), in Australia there is didgeridoo (a wind instrument made from the branch of a tree), in Egypt there is the sistrum ( a u-shaped framed drum) and in Scotland there are the bag pipes (a wind instrument), in Iraq there is the oud (a stringed instrument similar to a lute).    ……Please note that this answer is not an example of how to answer an IELTS question, it’s just some general information for you about instruments in your country – if your country has an instrument which is not in this list, please let me know. Liz 

Vocabulary Practice

Can you label the picture below?

musical instuments

Answers

Listen to the answers

  1. microphone
  2. record / vinyl
  3. accordion
  4. bugle
  5. drum
  6. flute
  7. guitar
  8. harmonica
  9. harp
  10. keyboard
  11. piano
  12. saxophone

 

Types of Musical Instruments

Stringed Instruments

  • guitar
  • violin
  • cello
  • viola
  • harp
  • banjo
  • electric guitar
  • fiddle
  • lute
  • sitar
Listen to Audio

 

Wind Instruments

  • flute
  • saxophone
  • trumpet
  • pipes
  • recorder
  • tuba
  • oboe
  • bagpipes
  • clarinet
  • bugle
  • harmonica
Listen to Audio

 

Key Board Instruments

  • piano
  • electronic keyboard
  • organ

Percussion Instruments

  • drums
  • triangles
  • xylophone / bamboo xylophone
  • wood blocks
  • accordion
Listen to Audio

Audio for both key board and percussion instruments

 

 Recommended

IELTS Speaking Part 1: Musical Instruments Questions and Answers (available from Feb 20th)

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English Expressions: Eat your Greens!

This lesson focuses on a great expression for the topic of food when talking about vegetables “eat your greens”. The video tutorial below explains the meaning and how to use it correctly.

Eat Your Greens: Video Tutorial

Comments: This is a flexible use of English for IELTS speaking but not to be used in writing. This expression is always used in the plural “greens” and never used as a singular “green”.

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Vocabulary for Food: Vegetables

Learn vocabulary for vegetables for the topic of food. In IELTS it is possible to get the topic of either food or just vegetables in speaking part 1. Make sure you include lots of interesting vocabulary in your answers.

Can you name all the vegetables in the picture below? Under the picture is a list of possible words, not all of them are in the picture (there are 26 words but only 24 answers needed).

vegetables-english-vocabulary

broccoli          aubergine          corn           tomatoes         bean sprouts           artichoke         cucumber           lettuce            onions           radish             garlic pumpkin          sweet potato             cauliflower               sprouts             potatoes              asparagus                peas              courgette              red pepper             chili pepper           carrots               parsnip               celery              beans                mushrooms           spinach         beetroot

Answers

  1. peas
  2. mushrooms
  3. pumpkin
  4. cauliflower
  5. radish
  6. onions
  7. celery
  8. artichoke
  9. carrots
  10. potatoes
  11. lettuce
  12. tomatoes
  13. aubergine or eggplant
  14. sprouts
  15. courgette or zucchini
  16. cabbage
  17. corn (corn on the cob)
  18. asparagus
  19. beetroot
  20. broccoli
  21. red pepper
  22. sweet potato
  23. cucumber
  24. beans

 

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