IELTS Education Vocabulary : Useful Phrases and Expressions in IELTS Speaking

IELTS Education Vocabulary: Useful Phrases And Expressions In IELTS Speaking

To continue IELTS vocabulary series for IELTS Speaking, this post will cover a wide range of collocations and phrases about education, which could be useful for you when encountering the topic in real life situation or in the IELTS exam.

Now take a look at the vocabulary sets below and pay close attention to the details presented for each word or phrase.

  1. Types of School

word/phrase part of speech meaning common collocations example pronunciation
primary adjective the type of school for children ages 5-11 primary school, primary education I think primary education should be compulsory worldwide. /ˈpraɪ.mer.i/
secondary adjective the type of school for children age 11 and up secondary school, secondary education

(synonym: high school)

I still keep in touch with many of my friends from secondary school. /ˈsek.ən.der.i/
mixed adjective a school where girls and boys are taught together

(antonym: single-sex school)

mixed school, mixed-sex education, mixed-gender education In my opinion, mixed schools are the way forward. /mikst/

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2. School Work

word/phrase part of speech meaning common collocations example pronunciation
assignment noun a piece of work given to someone as part of their studies homework assignment, reading/writing assignment Back then, I was working on my last reading assignment of the term / əˈsaɪn.mənt/
lecture noun a formal talk on a subject deliver/give/present a lecture, attend/go to a lecture She delivered a very interesting lecture. / ˈlek.tʃɚ/
thesis noun a long piece of writing on a particular subject write a thesis, complete a thesis, a thesis about/on (subject) I wrote my thesis on effective treatment strategies for children with ADHD. / ˈθiː.sɪs/


3. Qualifications : University & College

word/phrase part of speech meaning common collocations example pronunciation
bachelor’s degree noun a first degree at college or university a bachelor’s degree in (subject) I have a bachelor’s degree in /ˌbætʃ.əl.ɚz dɪˈɡriː/
fellowship noun money for teaching or study given to a person studying for an advanced degree to apply for a fellowship, to be awarded a fellowship I then applied for a research fellowship at the university. /ˈfel.oʊ.ʃɪp/
doctorate (PhD) noun the highest degree from a university to do a doctorate in (subject), to have a doctorate, a doctorate degree In developing countries, there aren’t as many people with doctorate degrees. /ˈdɑːk.tɚ.ət/


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4. People in Education

word/phrase part of speech meaning common collocations example pronunciation
principal noun the person in charge of a school school principal She was the school principal for 15 years. /ˈprɪn.sə.pəl/
graduate noun a person who has finished their school, college or university education high school/ college/university graduate, a graduate in (subject), a graduate of (school) There are many opportunities for university graduates nowadays. /ˈɡrædʒ.u.ət/
professor noun a teacher of high rank in a university college/university professor, visiting professor, (history, law, etc.) professor, professor of (history, law, etc.) He later became a professor at a local university. /prəˈfes·ər/


5. Benefits and Drawbacks of Higher Education


  • Open the door to better employment opportunities

Example: It is suggested that doing master degree will open the door to better employment opportunities.

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  • Contribute to society

Example: An increasing number of higher educated workers could have a good contribution to society in terms of economy


  • Require a huge investment in term of time and money

Example: Generally, continuing higher education will require a huge investment in term of time and money.

  • Lose the current job

Example: When you decide to continue higher education, you have to face the risk of loosing your current job.

6. Common Phrases and Idioms for IELTS Speaking Topic : Education

1. State school : a school paid for by public funds and available to general public

Example: Because my budget is limited, then get a scholar ship and go to state school is a great idea.

2. Private school : a school that is not supported by government money, where education must be paid for by the children’s parents

Example: A private school usually offers good educational facilities compared to a public school.

3. Higher education : education, usually in a college or university, that is followed after high school or secondary school

Example: Lisa moved to American with the purpose of continuing her higher education.

4. To work your way through university : to have a paid job while studying to support yourself financial

Example: Peter has had to work his way through university, thus he barely has free time.

5. Tuition fees : the money paid for a course of study

Example: In order to pay for the tuition fees, I have been doing many part-time jobs.

6. To keep up with your studies : to not fall behind

Example: If you want to keep up with my studies at university, you have to spend more time on self-study.

7. To fall behind with your studies : to progress less quickly than other

Example: Sara spent almost her time on going out rather than studying, which caused her to fall behind with her studies, thus she failed the exam.

8. To sit an exam : to take an exam

Example: The time when I have to sit an exam is really stressful, because I need to stay up all night and have less time to relax.

9. To attend classes : to go to classes

Example: In order to pass the final exam, it is suggested that you should attend to all of the classes.

10. Face to face classes : join in courses in classroom with colleagues and teachers.

Example: When you take part in a face to face class, you will have an opportunity to interact with teachers in person, then you can respond to the teacher immediately.

11. Distance learning : a way of studying, in which you will learn, and communicate with teachers and classmates through the internet.

Example: One benefit of taking distance learning course is the timetable will be flexible, which means you can study whenever and wherever you want.

12. To learn something by heart : to memorize it

Example: The course requires me to learn a lot of things by heart, which is quite hard for me.

13. To take a year out : to take a gap year

Example: Before going to the university, I decided to take a year out to travel to some countries.

14. A graduation ceremony : an event that successful student receive his or her academic degree

Example: a graduation ceremony is one of the most important day in a student life.

15. Gain/obtain knowledge

Example: Taking academic course will help students to gain a great deal of knowledge.

To extend your vocabulary sets, read articles on education and pick words or phrases that you can use on your IELTS, keep a dictionary and thesaurus handy and look for vocabulary activities on your IELTS preparation course book or online. And don’t forget to keep your vocabulary notebook (or notes) at hand whenever you’re studying for your IELTS.

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IELTS Speaking Part 1 :

What kind of school did you go to as a child ?

I studied in public school all of my childhood, because at my time, the schools provided better education in comparison with private school.

What do/did you study in your university ?

I studied business administration, which really suits my skills and personality.

Would you say you are a good student ?

Yes, I would. I have skipped any classes, I find it easy to keep up with my studies, not to mention that my teachers usually compliment on my ability to learn quicker than other students.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 :

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 that time?
  • And say why you were so happy?

Sample Answer :

Today I would like to share with you my memorable memories at my university. This is the time when I first moved to a big city and did my Bachelor degree in ABC University. At first, everything was new to me. I had to learn hard to keep up with my studies and spend a part of my time on doing part-time job, then worked my way through university. Although I led a hectic lifestyle at that time, I believe that it was the best time in my student’s lives, in which I joined in many clubs and activities, which gave me a golden chance to experience social lives, and make new friends.

Another thing that I remembered is when I  was struggling to choose my major at university and received help from my classmates. As a junior student, my university required my to decide which major such as human resources management, accounting, finance I would follow. Having known that friends who had been studying with me for a long time might know better than me, I came to some of my friends and asked them for help. It was very kind of them that they spent time on analyzing my strengths and weaknesses, also discussing with me the pros and cons of each majors. After a few hours talking with them, I made a decision that I would go for human resources management. Now, I has been studying that major for almost 3 years and I have not ever regretted about my choice.

Through all those times, I realize that whenever I am in need, my friends are always be there for me.

IELTS Speaking Part 3 :

What are the advantage of studying on a distance learning course ?

The most foreseen benefits is that the timetable is flexible, which means students can learn anytime they want. In addition, tuition fees are likely to affordable because distance learning classes do not need to be invested in classrooms and other educational facilities. But people who take distance learning courses have to be motivated, otherwise they could fall behind with their studies.

Do all children get equal opportunities in education ?

No, not really. In my country, students from well off families are likely to have better chance to study in private school with excellent facilities while this is still out of reach of few learners, because their families cannot support them.

In our next post on expanding your vocabulary for your IELTS, we’ll be looking at vocabulary related to transportation, so don’t forget to keep checking our blog!

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Syed Monif is a professional content marketer and IELTS Trainer by day, and a bookworm by night, and sometimes during the day too! He currently works on creating extremely user-friendly and engaging content for the online portal His work involves creating and editing content while making sure they're super interesting and easy to read! And also as a master procrastinator, right now he's probably googling something so arbitrary like 'How rich is Scrooge McDuck?' without realizing that his lunch break is almost over.


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