Vocabulary for IELTS Writing: Topic Education

This is a really broad topic – and a very popular one in IELTS. Any part of IELTS can challenge you with questions related to education. We therefore need to focus on this topic as well.

Let’s start with the types of education. We distinguish several types.

Secondary education

Traditionally in the U.S. secondary education refers to school studies (grades 9 to 12) and culminates in a High School Diploma.

A typical next academic milestone is what is called higher education. Higher education is studies beyond high school.

Example: Higher education in the Western world is usually voluntary.

As a result of your studies you will hopefully receive an official recognition in the form of some qualification. General types of qualifications are:

Certificate – for short academic programs Diploma – university level programs shorter than a degree Degree – relatively long academic programs covering specific areas in great depth

Traditionally the first degree you acquire is the Bachelor’s. You can then apply for Master’s and PhD (doctorate).

Example : PhD courses may be a mix of theory and practice in your chosen subject.

To start your studies in a recognized university you normally have to meet specific requirements. Let’s talk about them using specific vocabulary.

Entry Admissions are requirements for prospective students and could be expressed as your minimum grade level during your previous studies, minimum score in specific standardized tests (like IELTS, TOEFL, ACT, GMAT, etc.). Another way to say it is entrance requirements.

While choosing your future institution you consider a number of aspects such as university rankings and curricula. Let’s stop here! Curriculum is another superpopular term. It means the content taught in a specific academic program. By curriculum we often mean courses offered by a school.

Example: Curriculum is one of the foundational elements of effective teaching.

Let’s continue. Another important thing you usually have to carefully consider is tuition and cost of attendance. Basically it’s money you have to invest in your studies. Tuition fees are what you pay directly to the university and the cost of attendance includes food, housing, transportation, books, and supplies. Top-tier institutions (another very useful expression which means leading or prestigious institutions) often charge thousands of dollars yearly. To ease the burden on their budget many students apply for financial aid. It could come in the form of a scholarship (scholarship is money for your education awarded based on various criteria defined by a sponsor).

Example: There are a number of scholarship schemes run by governments, charities, and other organizations.

There are other forms of financial aid which include bursaries, grants, fellowship, and scholarship.

  • Scholarships are awarded for scholastic achievement.
  • Bursaries are awarded on the basis of financial need, so it is a certain type of social financial help.
  • Grants are funds provided by a certain party, often a government department, corporation, or foundation to an individual or institution.
  • Fellowships usually refer to grants in support of post baccalaureate projects, or to pre baccalaureate projects pursued outside the standard curriculum.

All scholarships and fellowships are grants and need not to be repaid.

Example: Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for cutting student debt.

Now let’s talk about learning modes. The typical decision for most students is to study full-time, but for those who work part-time studying can be a more realistic solution. You can also choose to study distantly or via some trendy online program (e-learning). Or you might prefer a combination of on campus and distance studying which is called the blended mode.

Talking about online programs I will mention some other hot terms and concepts.

MOOC is a recent development in distance education rapidly gaining popularity. It stands for Massive Open Online Course. It is an online course that has open access and interactive participation published on the web.

Example: Coursera, which emerged thanks to Stanford University professors in 2012, has by far the largest number of offered courses.

Educational verbs

  • to revise – to make changes especially to correct or improve (something); to study (something) again;
  • to enroll (in a degree course) – to enter (someone) as a member of or participant in something;
  • to take (someone) as a member or participant; to become a member or participant
  • to review – to look at or examine (something) carefully especially before making a decision or judgment; to study or look at (something) again; to describe or show (a series of things or events from the past)
  • to research – to study (something) carefully; to collect information about or for (something)
  • to attend (classes) – to go to or be present at some event
  • to major in a subject – to pursue an academic major
  • to deliver a lecture – to carry out/conduct a lecture
  • to graduate (from a university) – to earn a degree or diploma from a school, college, or university
  • to keep up with (your studies) – to go or make progress at the same rate as others
  • to demonstrate academic gains – to show academic progress/education achievement
  • to broaden horizons – to enlarge / expand someone’s scope
  • to fall behind (with studies) – lag behind
  • to evaluate – to determine or fix the value of something; to determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study to procrastinate – to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done
  • And there is also a short list of great words that don’t fit into any category. You might already know some of them, others might appear to be new to you. Try to remember them or write them into your notepad and think of some examples with them! Practice makes perfect.
  • Campus – the area and buildings around a university, college, school, etc.
  • Essay – a short piece of writing that tells a person’s thoughts or opinions about a subject
  • Debate – a discussion between people in which they express different opinions about something
  • Attendance – the number of people present at an event, meeting, etc.
    the act of being present at a place;
    a record of how often a person goes to classes, meetings, etc.
  • Compulsory – required by a law or rule; having the power of forcing someone to do something
  • Inquisitive – tending to ask questions; having a desire to know or learn more asking too many questions about other people’s lives
  • Dissertation – a long piece of writing about a particular subject that is done to earn an advanced degree at a university
  • Discipline – a field of study Faculty – a branch of teaching or learning in an educational institution
  • Peer – a person who belongs to the same age group or social group as someone else Literacy – the ability to read and write; knowledge that relates to a specified subject
  • Alumnus (pl.-i-) – someone who was a student at a particular school, college, or university
  • Assignment – a specified task or amount of work assigned or undertaken as if assigned by authority
  • Thesis – a long piece of writing on a particular subject that is done to earn a degree at a university