You’re likely to be asked questions about your studies during Part 1, you might have to talk about a class, a teacher or a school memory in Part 2 or give your opinions on education in Part 3. Therefore, being able to call on a wide range of vocabulary to talk about education is very important.

Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.

Part 1-style questions

Examiner: Are you studying English at a school?
Michel: Yes … I’m taking an intensive course at a local private language school … I attend classes three times a week …

Examiner: Would you say you are a good student?
Susan: I’m OK I think … I’m pretty good at meeting deadlines and I’m keeping up with my studies… plus I find it quite easy to learn things by heart which is useful when learning a language  …

Examiner: When you were younger did you enjoy your time at school?

Theo: Yes … I liked school … it was an ordinary state school … nothing special … a single-sex school … which I’m not sure I liked … but the teachers were great … I had lots of friends and I never played truant like some pupils there …

Part 2-style task

Describe a time during your education that you really enjoyed. You should say:

  • when this period was
  • where you were
  • what you were studying at the time

and say why you were so happy.

Caroline:  I’d like to tell you about my time at university … I was a mature student … I didn’t go to university until I was 25 … and it was my first time away from my parents so it was very exciting … I was doing a Bachelors Degree and it was a bit of a challenge … some people take a year out but I’d been away from education for 8 years … plus I had to work my way through uni so I was very busy … and sitting exams at the end of each year was a new experience for me as well but I really enjoyed higher education  learning about a subject I loved … history … and the social life was great as well … I don’t think I’ve ever had so many friends … I had my graduation ceremony last year in the local cathedral and I know my parents were really proud … so yes … that was a really happy time … I’m thinking of doing a Masters Degree soon … though that might be through distance learning as I have a full-time job now …

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: What qualities do you think a good teacher has?
Anna: They should be patient … they should be subject specialists and be able to explain the subject clearly … they should give feedback quickly … for example not hang on to essay for ages like some of my teachers …

Examiner: What are the advantages of studying on a distance learning course?
Florrie: It’s a more flexible way of studying especially if you have a job … tuition fees are usually cheaper … but you have to be very motivated … and I would imagine more people fall behind with their studies compared to  face-to-face classes

Examiner: Do all children get equal opportunities in education?
Julie: In my country I think it is quite equal but in the UK I’ve heard that most people who go to the top universities have studied at public schools … you have to be very rich to study in a school like that  … they’re usually boarding schools as well so the fees are enormous …

Definitions

  • to attend classes: to go to classes
  • bachelors degree: an undergraduate course which usually lasts 3-4 years
  • boarding school: a school where pupils live during term time
  • distance learning: a way of studying where tuition is carried out over the Internet or by post
  • face-to-face classes: as opposed to distance learning the traditional way of studying in a classroom with colleagues and a teacher
  • to fall behind with your studies: to progress less quickly than others
  • to give feedback: to offer guidance on a student’s work
  • a graduation ceremony: an event where a successful student receives his or her academic degree
  • higher education: education, usually in a college or university, that is followed after high school or secondary school
  • an intensive course: a course that offers lots of training in order to reach a goal in as short a time as possible
  • to keep up with your studies: to not fall behind
  • to learn something by heart: to memorize it
  • a mature student: a student who is older than average and who has usually returned to education after a period at work
  • masters degree: a period of study which often follows the completion of a bachelors degree or is undertaken by someone regarded as capable of a higher-level academic course
  • to meet a deadline: to finish a job or task in the time allowed or agreed
  • to play truant: to stay away from classes without permission
  • private language school: an independent school run as a business concern
  • public schools: exclusive independent schools in the UK
  • a single-sex school: a school where only boys or girls attend (as opposed to a mixed-sex school)
  • to sit an exam: to take an exam
  • state school: a school paid for by public funds and available to the general public
  • subject specialist: a teacher who has a great deal of knowledge about the subject they teach.
  • to take a year out: to spend a year working or travelling before starting university
  • tuition fees: the money paid for a course of study
  • to work your way through university: to have a paid job whilst studying to support yourself financially