Education Vocabulary: Word Lists and Pronunciation

This is the essential vocabulary for education about schools, subjects, studying and university. There is an audio to listen to the pronunciation of the words. These are the most common words and collocations which you will need to learn in order to talk or write about school or university successfully. After each section of vocabulary, there are exercises for you to practice using the words.

Click here to download the PDF version of this page: Education Vocabulary PDF. Please note that the PDF does not contain the answers – you must check your answers on this page.

Educational Institutions

  • kindergarten = pre-school education
  • primary school
  • secondary school
  • college = further education
  • higher education = university education = tertiary education
  • post-graduate school = university for students studying beyond degree level

School Subjects

  • maths
  • language
  • literature
  • science
    • physics
    • biology
    • chemistry
    • natural science
  • geography
  • religious studies
  • history
  • information technology (IT)
  • physical education (PE)
  • cookery = domestic / food science
  • handicrafts
  • art
  • music


Vocabulary Exercises: School Subjects

  1. One of the reasons that I didn’t like ……………… was because of the lab work which sometimes involved dissection.
  2. I’ve always enjoyed learning about how chemicals react with one another so I decided to choose …………. as one of my main subjects.
  3. When I was a child, we practiced ………………… three times a week which was fine in summer but was freezing during the winter when you have to football or hockey outside.
  4. My teacher encouraged us to take part in ……………………… in order to develop skills beyond what is taught in scheduled lessons.
  5. I used to find complicated calculations difficult as well as algebra but when we got a new ………… teacher, it all become much easier to understand.
  6. One of my favourite subjects was …………………… because you had a chance to get out of the classroom and learn more about the environment.
  7. Teachers were really strict on ……………… in exams. The exam invigilators won’t even let you have your bag in the exam room.
  8. Poetry should be taught more in ………………. lessons in order to help students develop a deeper understanding of their language and culture.
  9. I always loved studying maps. We spent a lot of time in our ……………. lessons tracing the borders of countries and learn the capital cities of different countries.
  10. My worst subject at school was …………… because I was completely tone deaf.
  1. biology
  2. chemistry
  3. physical education
  4. extra curricular activities
  5. math’s
  6. natural science
  7. cheating
  8. literature
  9. geography
  10. music


Useful Language & Collocations

  • lab work = laboratory experiments
  • dissection = cutting up animals for scientific research
  • scheduled lessons = lessons which are planned and written into a school curriculum
  • algebra = formulas and equations in mathematics
  • to give out or assign homework / to do or complete homework
  • to complete high school / to graduate high school
  • to do, to participate or to take part in school activities or sport
  • tracing = copying, outlining in pencil
  • tone deaf = without an ear for music = unable to appreciate or hear different music and notes


Types of Schools – Same-Sex & Co-Ed Schools

Watch this video to learn the advantages or single-sex schools and the plus points of mixed schools. This video contains ideas and vocabulary to help you express your ideas clearly.

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University Vocabulary

University Courses

  • BA / BSc = Bachelor of Arts Degree / Bachelor of Science Degree
  • MA / MSc = Masters of Arts / Masters of Science
  • PhD = Doctorate

Other Courses

  • Certificate = a lower level qualification often offered at colleges rather than universites. This is also the word used the for documentation received for completing any type of course or degree (she received her certificate for her BA degree).
  • Diploma
  • Online Course
  • Distance Learning Course
  • Vocational course = a course which teaches you skills for a specific job, for example engineering.
  • Non-vocational course = a course which is not related to a job but to a general subject instead, such as Biology.


Useful Verbs & Nouns for University

  • to graduate from a university = complete a degree course / to finish university
  • to enroll on a degree course = put your name down for a degree course
  • to major in physics = to choose physics as your main subject at university
  • to attend a lecture = to go to listen to a speaker at university often with a large audience in a lecture theatre
  • to attend a tutorial = to go to a meeting with a professor usually in small group held in his/her office
  • deliver a lecture = to give a talk or presentation
  • to lecture in media studies = to talk about media studies or to teach media studies at university
  • the faculty of business = a department specialising in business at university
  • to read history = to study history
  • to do or complete coursework = doing project work or assignments as part of your course
  • undergraduate (n) = someone currently doing their first degree
  • graduate (n)  = someone who has completed a degree course
  • note-taking = being able to take notes in a lecture while the lecturer is talking
  • keeping up with the work load = being able to maintain the level of studying required
  • fall behind with studies = fail to keep pace with the school / university work


University Work

  • presentations
  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • thesis
  • dissertation
  • hypothesis
  • assignment
  • project work
  • research


Vocabulary Exercises: Universities

Complete the following sentences are university education using no more than one word.

  1. People who have ……….. from university stand a better chance of finding a good job.
  2. I hope to enroll ………. a degree in law next year in the UK.
  3. There is a lot of competition to get a ……………….. but without it I won’t be able to afford the universities fees.
  4. One of the keys to successful  ……………. is knowing where to look for information and how to judge which information is most current and relevant. Knowing the best sources of materials is essential.
  1. graduated
  2. on / in
  3. scholarship
  4. research


Other Useful Vocabulary for Education

  • literate = to be able to read and write
  • illiterate = unable to read and write
  • the literacy rate = the percentage of people in a country or region able to read and write
  • comprehensive education = a well-rounded, broad education covering a variety of subjects
  • scholarship = an award of either free or supported education for high achievers
  • student loan = money taken by a student to pay for their education which they must pay back after graduating
  • pay off a student loan = to repay money borrowed for university education
  • intensive course = a course which runs over a short period of time but contains a lot of information and training
  • play truant / truancy = not attending school / being absent from school without permission
  • gap year = to take a year out between high school and university


Vocabulary Exercises: Useful Education Vocabulary

Complete the sentences using no more than two words.

  1. The rate of …………… is higher in developed countries than in under developed countries.
  2. Schools should offer a ………………… which includes subjects relating to all minority groups.
  3. The rise in university fees has led to a large proportion of students taking out ………………… which can often be difficult to pay back.
  4. Students who take a …………… often find it difficult to get back into their studies again.
  5. Rather than the government offering free university education for all people, they should, instead, ensure that a certain number of gifted individuals receive a ……………….
  1. literacy
  2. comprehensive education
  3. student loans
  4. gap year
  5. scholarship


Useful Pages for IELTS


  1. Hi I am currently enrolled in school for nursing and I feel very uncomfortable when it comes to my vocabulary, I had brain surgery twice & suffered with seizures for 3years, I am happy to say I am better now and the Tumor is gone completely ,however I am depressed when it comes to my vocabulary because I don’t remember much at all and I often get my words mixed up when speaking so this is a big deal for me to learn and expand my vocabulary, thank you but I have no clue of where to begin at this point. I love to read so I have been reading a lot on your website, I must say I have learned some information just reading the comments. what do you suggest? thanks (my name is MINDY)

    • Hi Mindy, I do sympathise. I know what it is like to have language impairment due to neurological problems. The key is to take it slow and start incorporating the new words in your daily language until they become part of your natural English. Try my ideas e-book – it includes useful vocabulary and ideas for over 150 essay topics (which are also speaking topics). It’s on 55% discount this week: There’s also a grammar e-book which might help a lot as it also contains great vocab. But don’t rush through it. Aim to absorb 70% of the vocab for each topic. Use those words daily by a) speaking to yourself about the topic – express your thoughts, have debates with yourself b) write an essay about it c) read further on google about the topic. Continue to repeat this until some words stick in your mind. Then repeat the process over and over again. The other thing I want to you do is not push yourself and do NOT give yourself any pressure or fixed goals. The learning must be natural and come from the pleasure of learning. Learn for enjoyment, not because you have a goal. This will make a huge difference. The harder you push yourself, the further away your goal often gets. Do small amounts each day and no more. Take breaks as often as you need.
      To learn IELTS exam techniques, see my Advanced Lessons in my store and also review all my free lessons and tips.
      I hope this helps. Good luck 🙂

  2. Thank you very much Liz. I always follow your IELTS lesson to use not only for myself but also for my students. All your materials are helpful to improve my English for an IELTS exam. All the best.

  3. Ayman Mansour says

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  4. Zeliha Yozgat says

    I admire you how Being a good teacher. You are the best, no need to follow others for IELTS .
    love Zeliha

  5. Rosemary Chukwuma says

    Lovely !
    Thanks a lot Liz.

  6. What does it mean “I can’t stress enough” ?

  7. Ali Gamra says

    Many thanks!

  8. That’s an awsome work! I really admire ur job here 🙂


    You are so important to us that I can` just thank you enough.


  10. Hi Liz!
    I have a plan to do the academic IELTS test , I live in the UK , in the speeking test if I used contraction or words like ,wanna ,gonna would that be acceptable or I have to say Iam going ,Cannot etc…

  11. Uche Chiemejonam says

    Hello Liz,
    Please I am a stay-at-home mom so I’d like to know how to construct my answer when I’m asked to talk about my work.
    please note that i have worked as a consultant in an agricultural firm, but i was made redundant.

    • IELTS speaking is not a trick test. It is an informal chat with the examiner. Just be open, honest and chatty: “I used to work as a consultant in an agricultural firm, but now I’m a stay-at-home Mom.”. When you give this answer, the examiner will note your use of two grammar tenses and good vocabulary. The examiner will then decide whether to continue to talk about your work in the past, or change it and talk about your home. This will be the examiner’s choice – the examiner makes the decisions of topics. So, be open, friendly and chatty at all times.

  12. Rawia Obida says

    Thank you so much Liz , I find this lesson really helpful .

  13. It is the first time I access there. It involves a wide range of vocabulary. Thanka to all the leaders

  14. In my point of view, there is no subject name MATHS. It is Mathematics and we call it as math.

  15. Dear Liz,

    There’s this slight confusion I’ve got. There are some words which can be used with an S as well as a Z, for e.g Realized, Exercize. Which one is correct?

  16. Mohammod Fokrul Amin says

    Take my cordial thanks Liz.
    I purchased your writing videos and
    I find it very useful.
    I’m looking for at least 6.5 band before
    I thought that it was too difficult to get 6.5 in writing segment but after watching these videos my confident level is increased. And your all tips and lessons are wonderful, to be honest. That is why, again thanks s lot 😘😘😊😊❤️❤️

    • Make sure you aim for accuracy in your writing – all errors reduce marks. Also spend time analysing the question, you must address all issues directly. Avoid using learned phrases – all sentences must be your own. So, you can learn vocab and linking words but not phrases. Good luck !! 🙂

  17. The work that you do for us, learners of English from all over the world, cannot be valued. Thank you for putting your heart and soul in making us more literate in English!
    I wish you luck and success!

  18. what is best way of writing process chart

  19. Mai Chit Chit Zaw says

    Hi Liz,
    I am so grateful to you that I can know everything about IELTS from your website. It is a very useful and perfect one for me.You are a great teacher.

    Best Regards,

  20. mohamed sayed says

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  21. Mona bangarh says

    Hello Liz ,
    You are the great teacher in the world..I spentmy whole day on this site.there many things which help me in many situations..m so happy that I have great great teacher..May God bless youuu😊☺️..thnx a lot Liz

  22. Manpreet kaur says

    hlo mam.

    My exam will be held on 13 october nd m weak in listening nd reading . pls mam u send me some listening Mp3 in my email

  23. nyom nyom says

    HI liz
    my name is nyom nyom
    i am from Indonesia
    could you help me
    how the way to improve my writing skill?
    please send in my email
    thanks before

  24. Manuela says

    Thanks to my best teacher!

  25. jagroop singh says

    i am going to appear for my ilets exam next week but i am not sure about my reading skills.
    can you give me some good tips to improve my skills in reading

  26. Dear Liza,
    Hello Liz, I am Totok Eko Suwito, I am an English teacher in Indonesia, I want to practice my listening especially because I ‘m going to have the IELTS test, if you don’t mind, Would you send me the script and audio MP3 of the listening above to my email. thank a lot
    your sincerely
    Totok Eko Suwito

  27. I am so weak in listening vocabulary. Give me some tips.

  28. Mazhar Ishfaq says

    That is really superlative vocabulary and it can play an indispensable role in IELTS test. Thanks Liza and i would like to say one thing more, your expressions are really appreciated. All the best. Mazhar Ishfaq

  29. Thanks Liz. I accidentally came upon your site and found my essay shared by someone on your blog. I liked your feedback. I have rewritten this essay for the next edition of my book – A Wealth of Academic IELTS Essays.

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