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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:ย 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.
  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) ย = 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 ย ……………. 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.
  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 ……………….
  1. literacy
  2. comprehensive education
  3. student loans
  4. gap year
  5. scholarship


Useful Pages for IELTS

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  1. That’s an awsome work! I really admire ur job here ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. JOSE GIOCONDO says:

    You are so important to us that I can` just thank you enough.


  3. Hi Liz!
    I have a plan to do the academic IELTS test , I live in the UK , in the speeking test if I used contraction or words like ,wanna ,gonna would that be acceptable or I have to say Iam going ,Cannot etc…

  4. Uche Chiemejonam says:

    Hello Liz,
    Please I am a stay-at-home mom so I’d like to know how to construct my answer when I’m asked to talk about my work.
    please note that i have worked as a consultant in an agricultural firm, but i was made redundant.

    • IELTS speaking is not a trick test. It is an informal chat with the examiner. Just be open, honest and chatty: “I used to work as a consultant in an agricultural firm, but now I’m a stay-at-home Mom.”. When you give this answer, the examiner will note your use of two grammar tenses and good vocabulary. The examiner will then decide whether to continue to talk about your work in the past, or change it and talk about your home. This will be the examiner’s choice – the examiner makes the decisions of topics. So, be open, friendly and chatty at all times.

  5. Rawia Obida says:

    Thank you so much Liz , I find this lesson really helpful .

  6. It is the first time I access there. It involves a wide range of vocabulary. Thanka to all the leaders

  7. In my point of view, there is no subject name MATHS. It is Mathematics and we call it as math.

  8. Dear Liz,

    There’s this slight confusion I’ve got. There are some words which can be used with an S as well as a Z, for e.g Realized, Exercize. Which one is correct?

  9. Mohammod Fokrul Amin says:

    Take my cordial thanks Liz.
    I purchased your writing videos and
    I find it very useful.
    I’m looking for at least 6.5 band before
    I thought that it was too difficult to get 6.5 in writing segment but after watching these videos my confident level is increased. And your all tips and lessons are wonderful, to be honest. That is why, again thanks s lot ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Šโค๏ธโค๏ธ

    • Make sure you aim for accuracy in your writing – all errors reduce marks. Also spend time analysing the question, you must address all issues directly. Avoid using learned phrases – all sentences must be your own. So, you can learn vocab and linking words but not phrases. Good luck !! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. The work that you do for us, learners of English from all over the world, cannot be valued. Thank you for putting your heart and soul in making us more literate in English!
    I wish you luck and success!

  11. what is best way of writing process chart

  12. Mai Chit Chit Zaw says:

    Hi Liz,
    I am so grateful to you that I can know everything about IELTS from your website. It is a very useful and perfect one for me.You are a great teacher.

    Best Regards,

  13. mohamed sayed says:

    your lessons are amazing and very useful, thank you

  14. Mona bangarh says:

    Hello Liz ,
    You are the great teacher in the world..I spentmy whole day on this site.there many things which help me in many situations..m so happy that I have great great teacher..May God bless youuu๐Ÿ˜Šโ˜บ๏ธ..thnx a lot Liz

  15. Manpreet kaur says:

    hlo mam.

    My exam will be held on 13 october nd m weak in listening nd reading . pls mam u send me some listening Mp3 in my email

  16. nyom nyom says:

    HI liz
    my name is nyom nyom
    i am from Indonesia
    could you help me
    how the way to improve my writing skill?
    please send in my email
    thanks before

  17. Manuela says:

    Thanks to my best teacher!

  18. jagroop singh says:

    i am going to appear for my ilets exam next week but i am not sure about my reading skills.
    can you give me some good tips to improve my skills in reading

  19. Dear Liza,
    Hello Liz, I am Totok Eko Suwito, I am an English teacher in Indonesia, I want to practice my listening especially because I ‘m going to have the IELTS test, if you don’t mind, Would you send me the script and audio MP3 of the listening above to my email. thank a lot
    your sincerely
    Totok Eko Suwito

  20. I am so weak in listening vocabulary. Give me some tips.

  21. Mazhar Ishfaq says:

    That is really superlative vocabulary and it can play an indispensable role in IELTS test. Thanks Liza and i would like to say one thing more, your expressions are really appreciated. All the best. Mazhar Ishfaq

  22. Today’s task 2 for main exam 30/4/15

    Figures show that some countries have an ever-increasing proportion of the population who are aged 15 or younger. What do you think are the current and future effects of this trend for those countries?

    Some demographic surveys have shown that the proportions of young people are rising rapidly. This may be because of any reasons such as illiteracy and poverty or wars or any other reasons. This essay shall delve into the immediate and long term effects of this trend on those countries.

    The most important current impact of such a trend would be on the national economy. For instance, goods and services would need to be imported which would lead to an unstable economy. However, the future effect would be different as there would be more people within the country needing employment. Then there might arise the problem of unemployment.

    In addition to the effects on economy, there would be social implications also. The government will have to invest a lot on educational institutes as more children need more schools and colleges. In addition more spending on health would also be needed. The long term result would be that the education and health infrastructure would be well developed.

    If careful management of such a situation is done by the government, for instance, by providing good education and health facilities, then the future outcomes could be quite positive. The society would be younger and more vibrant. The culture of those countries would be more fast-paced than the traditional culture.

    In conclusion, I believe that, the culture and lifestyle of these countries would be transformed if the population would be younger. Fresh opportunities and challenges would both be on the way. The trend would cause multiple possible effects and these countries should strengthen the education and health infrastructure to overcome its negative influence.

    • Thanks for sharing this topic. Is this the essay question from your exam? You have answered the question but it is slightly unclear in places. Your first body paragraph fails to mention that you are writing about a growing young population. How is the economy affected by the growing population of young people? I guess the second body paragraph is also about current effects but you don’t make that clear. Having such a long conclusion is not needed. You might struggle with coherence and cohesion but you should still do fine with other criteria. You have good grammar.

      All the best

      • Thanks Liz. I accidentally came upon your site and found my essay shared by someone on your blog. I liked your feedback. I have rewritten this essay for the next edition of my book – A Wealth of Academic IELTS Essays.

  23. We can add FELLOWSHIP, SCHOLAR, POSTDOCTORAL,… to the list, no ?

  24. Dear Liz,
    Thank you very much for such useful information, you encourage me to apply for IELTS ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Apply for your test when you are repeatedly getting the band score you need in practice tests.
      All the best

  25. Hi,
    Thanks for providing such useful vocabularies. I noticed a word ‘extra curricula’ i think you mean extra curricular’


  26. Hi Liz, thank you for posting such a detailed list of words we can use during the IELTS test!

    However, I noticed one typo: word load (I guess you ment work load)

    All the best!

  27. Thanks Teacher for the helping and careing For the students.


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