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HomeIELTS VocabularyIELTS Speaking Vocabulary: Topic Education

IELTS Speaking Vocabulary: Topic Education

To continue the IELTS vocabulary series for IELTS Speaking, this post will cover vocabulary 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.

Types of School

Word/PhraseMeaningCommon CollocationsExample
PrimaryThe type of school for children aged 5-11Primary school, Primary educationI think primary education should be compulsory worldwide.
SecondaryThe type of school for children aged 11 and upSecondary school, Secondary education(synonym: high school)I still keep in touch with many of my friends from secondary school.
MixedA school where girls and boys are taught together(antonym: single-sex school)Mixed school, Mixed-sex education, Mixed-gender educationIn my opinion, mixed schools are the way forward.

School Work

Word/PhraseMeaningCommon CollocationsExample
Assignmenta piece of work given to someone as part of their studieshomework assignment, reading/writing assignmentBack then, I was working on my last reading assignment of the term
Lecturea formal talk on a subjectdeliver/give/present a lecture, attend/go to a lectureShe delivered a very interesting lecture.
Thesisa long piece of writing on a particular subjectwrite a thesis, complete a thesis, a thesis about/on (subject)I wrote my thesis on effective treatment strategies for children with ADHD.

Qualifications : University & College

Word/phraseMeaningCommon CollocationsExample
Bachelor’s degreea first degree at college or universitya bachelor’s degree in (subject)I have a bachelor’s degree in
Fellowshipmoney for teaching or study given to a person studying for an advanced degreeto apply for a fellowship, to be awarded a fellowshipI then applied for a research fellowship at the university.
Doctorate (PhD)the highest degree from a universityto do a doctorate in (subject), to have a doctorate, a doctorate degreeIn developing countries, there aren’t as many people with doctorate degrees.

People in Education

Word/PhraseMeaningCommon CollocationsExample
Principalthe person in charge of a schoolschool principalShe was the school principal for 15 years.
Graduatea person who has finished their school, college or university educationhigh school/ college/university graduate, a graduate in (subject), a graduate of (school)There are many opportunities for university graduates nowadays.
Professora teacher of high rank in a universitycollege/university professor, visiting professor, (history, law, etc.) professor, professor of (history, law, etc.)He later became a professor at a local university.

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.

  • 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.

Common Phrases and Idioms on education 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: to acquire information and learn about a specific subject or matter

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


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