IELTS Vocabulary: Schools and Education Institutions

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.

Answers

  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.

 

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.

Answers

  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 ……………….

Answers

  1. literacy
  2. comprehensive education
  3. student loans
  4. gap year
  5. scholarship

IELTS Vocabulary: Clothes and Fashion

Clothes & Fashion is another common topic in IELTS speaking & writing. Have a go organising the following vocabulary into three different categories: Casual / Formal / Suitable for both Formal or Casual.

You will see that the vocabulary below includes both clothing and accessories (bags etc).

  • tie
  • suit
  • shorts
  • t-shirt
  • trousers
  • suitcase
  • dress
  • flipflops
  • shoes
  • jacket
  • waistcoat
  • backpack
  • briefcase
  • pajamas
  • coat

 

Casual Clothes

  • shorts
  • t-shirt
  • flipflops
  • backpack
  • pajamas

Formal Clothes

  • tie
  • suit
  • waistcoat
  • briefcase

Either Casual or Formal

  • trousers
  • dress
  • shoes
  • jacket
  • coat
  • suitcase

IELTS Vocabulary: Crime and Punishment

We have divided the below crimes into categories which are considered serious and those that are not.

Major Crimes

The list of crimes below are all nouns.

  • abduction = taking someone against their will (kidnapping)
  • arson = setting fire to a property
  • assault = a physical attack
  • burglary = illegal entry to a building with an intent to commit a crime
  • child abuse = maltreatment of a child
  • drug trafficking = importing illegal drugs
  • false imprisonment = imprisoning a person against their will
  • fraud = deception for personal or financial gain
  • hacking = unauthorised access to data in a computer system
  • hijacking = illegally getting control of an aircraft or vehicle
  • human trafficking =
  • murder (homicide USA)
    • premeditated murder = murder that is intentional (planned before hand)
    • unpremeditated murder – murder that is not intentional (not planned)
    • manslaughter – unintentional murder (synonym for unpremeditated murder)
    • attempted murder = planning to kill another person
    • patricide = killing one’s own father
    • genocide = systematic killing of a race or religious group
    • euthanasia = killing someone for their benefit
  • organised crime = crime by an organised gang or organisation
  • smuggling = illegal import or export
  • terrorism = unlawful violence or threat with political aims
  • white collar crime = financially motivated non-violent crime by a worker

 

Minor Crimes / Offences

  • pick pocketing = taking from another person’s pockets
  • shoplifting = taking products from a shop without paying for them
  • traffic offences =breaking the rules of the road and driving
    • drunk driving = drinking whilst under the influence of alcohol
    • jay walking = crossing the road at an designated spot
    • running a red light = going through traffic lights when they are red
    • speeding = driving over the speed limit
  • vandalism = deliberate destruction or damage to a building

 

Vocabulary to categoriese Criminals

This list shows the person relating to the crime (the perpetrator of the crime).

  • crime = criminal
  • murder = murderer
  • theft = thief
  • trafficking = trafficker
  • hijacking = hijacker
  • terrorism = terrorist
  • smuggling = smuggler
  • shoplifting = shoplifter
  • vandalism = vandal
  • teenage criminal/ juvenile delinquent

 

Types of Punishment Vocabulary

  • the death penalty (capital punishment) = punishment of death
  • a prison sentence (imprisonment) = imprisonment
    • life in prison
    • 10 years
    • 6 months
  • a suspended sentence = delaying of a sentence
  • forfeiture = property is taken away (confiscated)
  • hospital order = to confine someone to hospital under arrest
  • a fine = to pay money as a punishment for an offence
  • house arrest = imprisoned in one’s own house rather than in prison
  • to suspend a license = with holding a person’s right to use their driving license for a period of time
  • to revoke a license = to take away someone’s driving license
  • non-custodial sentence = a sentence which is not done in prison
    • community service = punishment by doing community work

Other Types of Punishment

This refers to punishment commonly used by schools and parents.

  • detention = to stay in school after hours for punishment
  • to give lines = punishment where a child must write the same sentence again and again
  • isolation = to be kept apart from others as a punishment
  • grounding = to be unable to go outside home as a punishment
  • scolding = an angry reprimand
  • corporal punishment = physical punishment from a teacher or headteacher at school

 

Court Language

  • judge = the person who controls the court proceedings
  • jury = a group of independent people who decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty
  • justice = fairness or court law
  • trial = legal proceedings to judge whether someone is guilty of a crime
  • court = the place where the trial is held
  • defendant = the accused person: the individual or group being accused in court of a crime
  • prosecutor = the lawyer against the accused person
  • defense = the lawyer protecting the accused person
  • witness = a person who sees an event happen
  • evidence = facts or information supporting the truth
  • proof = evidence supporting a claim
  • hearsay = rumour / unsubstantiated information
  • guilty = not innocent as judged by a court of law
  • innocent = found not guilty of a crime
  • to be found guilty = the court decided that the person did commit the crime
  • conviction / verdict = formal sentence of a court
  • circumstances of the crime = a condition or situation relating to a crime
  • extenuating circumstances = a condition that makes the crime or mistake less serious and more understandable
  • take into consideration = should be thought about carefully
  • circumstantial evidence = something that connects a person indirectly to the crime (for example, a finger print at a crime scene but no actual hard evidence or witness)
  • maximum / minimum sentence = highest penalty / lowest penalty
  • a harsh punishment = hard, strict penalty
  • penalty / punishment are synonyms but penalty is often used for both minor offences and major crimes.

 

Other Useful Crime & Punishment Vocabulary

  • crime is prevalent = there is a lot of crime
  • armed police = police who carry guns
  • to deter (n = deterrent) = to put someone off from doing something
  • discrimination = unjust treatment
  • to be soft on crime = not to have harsh or strict punishments
  • repeat offender = a person who has committed a crime or offence more than once
  • serial criminals = criminals who repeatedly commit the same crime
  • diminished responsibility = when someone is not in a state to be considered responsible for their own actions
  • rehabilitation = to restore someone through education or therapy
  • reintegrate back into society = help someone return into society
  • peer pressure = pressure from friends or colleagues
  • role models = people whose behaviour should be copied and respected
  • mimicking violent behaviour = to copy aggressive actions

 

Now have a Practice with Crime Vocabulary

Complete the sentences using one or more words either from the above lists or from other vocabulary relating to this topic. The sentence must be grammatically correct once you have added the right word(s).

  1. The ………………. is the strongest deterrent against crime.
  2. The number of ……………….. is on the rise due to the impact of peer pressure at school and violent movies shown on TV. Teenagers are prone to ……………. aggressive behaviour.
  3. All people accused of a crime should be given a fair ……………. in a ………… of law.
  4. People who are convicted a murder from only ………………………. evidence should not receive the death penalty.
  5. The motives of a crime should always be taking into consideration. For example. there is a significant difference in the character of a person who commits ……………… murder and one who commits accidental murder.
  6. A ………….. sentence is more humane than capital punishment.
  7. Punishment should be the last resort. Instead criminals should be  …………………….
  8. People who commit ……….. crimes, such as traffic offences, should have their ……………….. revoked.
  9. Famous people, such as movie stars, should set a good ………… and ensure that they are good …………….. for young people to follow.
  10. …………… and the right to a fair ……………. should be the right of all citizens.
  11. Parents who inflict ……………… punishment on their children are showing children that …………….. is an acceptable way to deal with problems.
  12. Prison does not rehabilitate criminals, it only …………. them from society.   …………….. service and rehabilitation is a better way to avoid criminals becoming ………………….

Answers

  1. death penalty (the answer can’t be “capital punishment” because it doesn’t use the article “the”)
  2. juvenile delinquents / mimic
  3. trial / court
  4. circumstantial
  5. premeditated
  6. life
  7. rehabilitated
  8. minor / licenses
  9. example / role models
  10. Justice / trial
  11. corporal / violence
  12. removes / Community / repeat offenders

IELTS Vocabulary List: Body Language

Why is body language important to understand? 🙂

  •  Body language is used to assess people’s characters. It is one of the first ways we assess a stranger’s character (First Impression!)
  • Body language is used to communicate directly with someone when language is not possible.
  • Body language is commonly used and assessed at work and interviews.
  • Body language is an essential part of friendships and relationships.
  • Body language can lead to great misunderstanding between different cultures.

 

List of Body Language

Below is a list of body language that is common in the Western society with their common meaning.

Facial Expressions

  • Avoiding eye contact = shy, worried, lying
  • Crinkling nose = disgust
  • Deadpan face (without any expression) = emotionless or hiding feelings
  • Direct eye contact = confidence
  • Eyes staring into the distance = dreamy, not concentrating
  • Pressing lips together (tight lipped) = annoyed, angry
  • Raised eye brows = doubtful, disbelieving
  • Smiling = friendly

Physical Actions

  • Arms behind back, shoulders back = confidence
  • Arms crossed = defensive or insecure but sometimes it means being angry
  • Bowing (bending at the waist) = greeting someone new (in some countries)
  • Biting nails = nervous
  • Blushing (going red in the cheeks) or stammering (speaking with hesitations and repeated letters) = embarrassment
  • Eye rubbing = tired or disbelieving
  • Hands covering gaping mouth = scared
  • Putting arms up with palms facing forward = submission
  • Scratching one’s head = confused
  • Shaking the head = negative, no
  • Shrugging shoulders (moving shoulders up and down) = don’t know, doubt, confused
  • Stroking one’s chin = thinking deeply
  • Nodding head =  agreement, yes
  • Firm handshake = strong and decisive / limp handshake = weak

Misunderstandings that may be caused by Body Language among different cultures

Nodding head = In some countries, it means “yes” but in other countries it means “no”. Likewise, a shaking head means “no” in some countries but “yes” in others.

Silence = In the West, this can be negative and be a problem between people. However, in other countries, such as China or Japan, it can be a sign of agreement or femininity.

Personal space = In countries, such as England, people should stand a respectful distance from each other but in other countries, such as Spain, people touch each other when talking. In Japan, the person space is often bigger between people than in England. Respectful space between people changes depending on countries.

Eye Contact = In the West, this is a sign of confidence and is important when listening actively to someone. On the other hand, there are countries where this might be a sign of aggression and confrontation.

Practice Using Body Language Vocabulary

Fill the gaps of these sentences with the suitable words:

1. I had no idea what she was talking about. Then suddenly she asked a question that I couldn’t understand so I just ………….. my shoulders and walked away.

2. My boss always tells tall stories. Yesterday he came to work with another unbelievable story but the only response I could give was to ……….. my eyebrows.

3. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being late. Once I was in a really long meeting at work and by the time we finished I was late to meet my friend. During the meeting, I could feel myself getting impatient and my foot started ……………. on the floor.

4. I can’t stand watching films at the cinema because you can’t relax like you can in private, particularly when watching an action movie full of surprises and shocks. When there is a really sudden unexpected scene, my eyes ………. and my mouth ……… open which I find really embarrassing in public.

5. I remember once I was late for an appointment. When I arrived, which was over 1 hour late, I ………….  deep red and stammered an apology.

Answers

  1. shrugged (the answer isn’t “shrugged off” because that means to get rid of – usually a feeling – and does relate to shoulders)
  2. raise
  3. tapping (the answer isn’t stamping because stamping is when you are very angry not impatient)
  4. widen    gapes  (don’t forget the “s”)
  5. blushed

 

Using Body Language vocabulary in IELTS Writing or Speaking

Q) In what way is body language a form of communication?

A) Well, people use body language to send a message or to indicate something so it is definitely a way to communicate. For example, when people raise their eyebrows, it often means they are incredulous or disbelieving and when they tap their foot on the floor, you know they are impatient. So, using facial expressions and physical actions can communicate things to other people.

Q) Do you think it is possible to misunderstand someone’s body language?

A) Yes, definitely. When someone avoids your eye, it is possible to think that they are avoiding your question and don’t want to talk to you. But really, it might be that they are just shy. So, it’s quite easy to grasp the wrong meaning in people’s actions.

Q) Describe a time you were late for an appointment.

A) I recall, about one year ago, I was organising to meet someone in the town center at 9pm. Unfortunately, I was delayed because of traffic and didn’t arrive until about 9.30pm. My friend was really angry at me. She had her arms crossed and was tapping her foot impatiently on the ground. I was so embarrassed and blushed a lot. I expressed my sincere apology but felt really uncomfortable because she was staring at me with angry eyes. Anyway, we sorted out our differences and have been really good friends ever since. (this is an example of part of a talk for speaking part 2 – add details and descriptions)