Expand Your IELTS Vocabulary – Education

4 Apr 2018
Expand Your IELTS Vocabulary – Education

When working on expanding your vocabulary for your IELTS test, it’s important that you choose a method to achieve your goals in the time that you have available. For example, reading novels and other types of literary works in English can be great for expanding your vocabulary, but it wouldn’t be of much help if your test is only a few days away.

With this in mind, we’ve designed a new series of posts on expanding your IELTS vocabulary through different themes. This means that we’ll be grouping words and phrases together in common IELTS themes, which will help you to learn new, relevant vocabulary in a quick and effective way. However, rather than presenting you with long lists of words on a given topic, these posts will show you how to create your own vocabulary sets, which will make this learning experience more practical and relevant to you. We’ll also include examples of key words and phrases to get you started and tips on how to extend each set. So keep on reading!

Vocabulary sets related to education

On the IELTS Speaking test, it’s very common for candidates to be asked questions related to their own school experience. Because of this, it’s essential that you feel confident using the necessary vocabulary to talk about your education. In fact, it would be a good idea to use these words and phrases as a starting point for your vocabulary sets. Once you’ve covered the vocabulary that is relevant to you personally, you can then expand each set with vocabulary that you can use to talk or write about education in a more general way.

Before we analyze a few different sample vocabulary sets, take a minute to think about the information that you’ll need to include so that you can use the new vocabulary appropriately. Writing the vocabulary item and its meaning is a good start, but there are other details that you should also include to make your sets even more effective. These details can include the part of speech, common collocations, examples, and notes on pronunciation. 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/


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.


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.



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.


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.


You can also add other sub-topics such as school subjects (maths, geography, physical education, etc.) and other useful vocabulary (campus, scholarship, student loan, etc.) 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.

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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