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IELTS topic vocabulary: education
All components of the IELTS exam are heavily focused on vocabulary. To help you improve your education vocabulary for the IELTS speaking test, we have compiled a list of terms.
Remember that IELTS vocabulary should be quite formal, and you will get a higher score for using less common collocations and phrases. Education vocabulary will be useful in many different questions because a lot of questions can be answered by talking about school, college and lifelong learning.
Education vocabulary terms and definitions
qualification – official record showing that you have completed a formal course
literacy – the ability to read and write
Gap year – Taking a year out between high school and university
kindergarten – pre-school education
Post-graduate school – university for students continuing their studies and completing an advanced degree after obtaining their bachelor’s degree
assignment – work given to a student as part of their studies
college – higher education institute which students attend after secondary school or high school
principal – a person in charge of a school
lecture – a formal talk on a subject
Student loan – amount of money loaned to a student to pay their tuition.
Doctorate (PhD) – the highest degree from a university, obtained after completing a research fellowship
thesis – research compiled on a particular subject
Intensive course – A short course that contains a lot of information and training
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curriculum – the school program that schools aim to teach students
Vocational course – a course which teaches you the skills required for a specific job
graduate – a person who completed their first university degree course successfully, received a bachelor’s degree and attended a graduation ceremony
professor – a teacher of high rank in a university
pedagogy – the way of teaching including the instructional method that is used
tuition – the fees required to be able to study a course
distance learning course – studying a course remotely/online
IELTS sample essay – education
Task 2 sample essay about education: Claiming that traditional schooling is out of date, boring and stifles a child’s natural talents, various professionals have pushed for an education revolution. Are there alternatives in the education system? Is traditional education doing more harm than good?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
How would you answer this question? Try to use as much of the education vocabulary from the list above as possible.
Remember that you are not required to agree or disagree with the first statement. Your job is to tackle the two-part question following it.
One possible way to plan your essay for the IELTS test could be:
Introduction. Rephrase the question, state a position (there are several alternatives, which you will discuss later, and in your opinion, traditional education IS – or isn’t- quite harmful to some students).
Paragraph 2 – Discuss an alternative – for example, homeschooling. It is much more flexible, allowing the student to focus on the school subjects that interest them the most, while also having a lot of online support and resources. Whether the student most enjoys media studies or wants to study history, they will have this opportunity in addition to completing work on the core subjects. This approach is similar to distance learning for adults who can study online with organisations like the British Council. Homeschooling, as an alternative to formal education, is becoming more mainstream and makes more time for family life.
Paragraph 3 – Yes, traditional education can do a lot of harm. Parents assume their children will have so many friends at school Many students are bullied at secondary school or struggle to keep up. There is not enough 1-1 support and shyer students especially female students in mixed schools do not ask for help as needed. A single-sex school may feel more competitive. More gifted students can become bored and misbehave. A good student may play truant for a lot of reasons. Homeschooling or flexible schooling would be a good alternative.
Conclusion – The pandemic has shown us that everything changes; children ages 3-18 all over the world have done some distance learning online, even in the poorest countries. Switching to homeschooling, or flexible schooling can address issues such as bullying for individual secondary school students and help them become more engaged in their learning.
Task 2 sample essay about education: A university education is becoming more expensive every year and the money paid for a degree can keep university graduates in debt for years. Therefore, tuition fees should be abolished and governments should pay for university education.
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To what extent do you agree with this viewpoint?
This is a great question! In the IELTS exam, you could talk about how a local university should not cost the same as an internationally known one, how a mature student might be better able to pay tuition fees, how a person studying engineering or medicine could expect to get a well-paid job so the fees are worth it… you would have a lot of options. Just remember to use as much IELTS education vocabulary as you can.
Other resources to improve your education vocabulary:
Apart from practising planning and writing essays that use phrases from these word lists, it’s a great idea to look for new words and new vocabulary by googling the topic and watching Youtube videos. There are a lot of great videos on education topics such as the advantages of co-educational schools rather than single-sex schools, what makes a good teacher, education in developing countries, exam room strategies, English for non-native speakers and physical education for homeschooled students. One of the most helpful resources with appropriate vocabulary for IELTS are the Ted Talks on Youtube. Make sure you watch twice, first with subtitles to get new topic vocabulary ideas for your vocabulary notebook.
In this Ted Talk video, Sir Ken Robinson discusses changing the current system for formal education. He makes a case for creating a new way to teach that encourages creativity, curiosity, innovation, and energy. He’s funny, interesting and uses some great vocabulary. Watch the video and try to find the following IELTS vocabulary terms that you could easily use in the IELTS speaking test!
Collocations: human creativity, academic ability, public education, academic inflation, human ecology.
Remember that school and education are among the most popular topics in the IELTS speaking test as well as the IELTS writing test. You could also prepare answers to IELTS style questions about your favourite English teacher, your favourite subjects, using English on your Facebook account, your experience or plans for higher education, how a certain degree will help you get a well-paid job, your memories of your graduation ceremony, being in a single-sex school or studying in a co-educational school. Education vocabulary for the IELTS test is very flexible and you can use some of the same IELTS education vocabulary phrases to talk about primary education, a mixed school, getting a good job, making so many friends studying at the British Council, with Cambridge ESOL or IDP Education Australia. Even talk about IELTS preparation! Just take your time, keep learning IELTS vocabulary and practice as much as you can.
For more info on IELTS vocabulary for your IELTS test, click here.
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