IELTS Topic: Education

Vocab & Idioms

Go over the following vocabulary and expressions with your tutor. Read the word/expression and definition out loud, and your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Scholarship (n) – a sum of money or other aid granted to a student, because of merit, need, etc., to pursue his or her studies
Higher education (n) – education at a college or university where subjects are studied at an advanced level
Tuition (n) – the fee paid for an education.especially at a private school or university
Student loan (n) – money given to a student by a bank or other financial institution to pay for school tuition; must be paid back
Final exams (n) – the tests taken at the end of a semester or school year
Semester break (n) – the time between the school periods were students don’t have classes
Online course (n) – a set of classes about a specific subject online
Intensive (adj) – involving a lot of effort and activity in a short period of time
Skip class (idiom) – to not go to school or a class when you should
Hit the books (idiom) – to begin to study hard

Part 1 Questions

Here are possible questions that might come up during the test. Go over them with your tutor.

Topic

  • Do/did you go to a small or big university?
  • What do/did you study at the university?
  • Do you want to further your education?
  • Is it important to obtain a bachelor’s degree in your country?

Part 2&3 Questions

Here are possible questions that might come up during the test. Go over them with your tutor.

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a course you want to take. You should say:
    • what course it is
    • when you want to take it
    • where you can take it
    • and explain why you want to take it.

Part 3 Questions

  • Should a university degree be free for everyone?
  • They say it’s never too late to learn something new. Is learning still important when people get older?
  • Why do some people dislike learning?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a teacher who had a positive influence on you. You should say:
    • what subject this teacher teaches/taught
    • how long he/she was your teacher
    • what positive characteristics this teacher has
    • and why you remember this teacher.

Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think high schools and universities prepare young people adequately for real life?
  • Some people say that your school days are the best days of your life. Do you agree?
  • Should students be allowed to submit evaluations of their teachers?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a school or university that you went to. You should say:
    • when you went there
    • what the teachers/professors were like
    • how long you spent there
    • and explain what you liked and disliked about it.

Part 3 Questions

  • Is the Internet a valuable educational tool?
  • Which subjects do you think should be optional and which should be compulsory?
  • Is obtaining an online university degree the same as obtaining one from a physical university?

Sample Answers

Here are some sample answers. Go over them with your tutor.

Part 1 Questions

  • Do/did you go to a small or big university?
    • I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from a small state university in Pennsylvania called Shippensburg University. It was one of 10 state universities at the time.
  • What do/did you study at the university?
    • My major was Criminal Justice, but after graduating I never worked in this career field. Instead, I got a job in Supply Chain Logistics, which I did for 20 plus years. Now I’m teaching English as a second language.
  • Do you want to further your education?
    • Although I’m not keen on studying anymore, I’ve thought about pursuing a master’s degree. My other option is to obtain a certification in education. For example, Google offers an intensive course for teachers to obtain a Google Educator certification.
  • Is it important to obtain a bachelor’s degree in your country?
    • Without a bachelor’s degree it’s difficult to find a white collar job in my country. So, in this case, I would say certainly, yes. Even if it wasn’t important, I would still recommend getting a bachelor’s degree because it will help you to achieve success in life.

Part 2&3 Answers

Here are some sample answers. Go over them with your tutor.

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a course you want to take. You should say:
    • what course it is
    • when you want to take it
    • where you can take it
    • and explain why you want to take it.

Just the other day, I learned about the Google Educator Certification. This is hands down the class I want to take sooner than later. I think it would look great on my resume and help me to enhance my teaching skills.

I hope I can take it in the next month or two. I need to free up some time and research the course a little more, particularly the cost. If it costs too much, I may consider a student loan to pay for it. If I don’t qualify for a loan, I may have to postpone taking the certification.

It’s an online course, and I think it takes 4-5 months to complete. However, it depends on how much time I can commit to it each week. With my current schedule that equals about 1 hour a day for 3 days a week. I don’t want to study over the weekends. Between work and studying, I need some time off. Although, I might have to hit the books on the weekends to complete my assignments if I decide to pursue this study program.

Being that this program is online, I have the convenience of taking my classes anywhere I have access to wifi. More than likely, I will do it from home since I work at home also. Although, I would prefer to take this class in a physical classroom because to me it’s a better learning environment.

I was pleased to come across this course via an ad on Facebook. It certainly caught my eye when I saw the words, Google Educator. I’ve been thinking about what to do to further develop my teaching skills over the past year since I became CELTA certified.

Now, I just need to find the time and money to make it happen. Oh, I maybe a little bit more motivation.


Part 3 Questions

  • Should a university degree be free for everyone?
    • Wow, this is not an easy question to answer. I think this is a highly debated topic and from my standpoint, I disagree that it should be free. First of all, nothing is free in life. So in the end somebody has to pay. In this case, it would be the taxpayers, unless the government wants to foot the bill and I don’t think that’s going to happen. In the second place, I think giving someone a free education doesn’t teach them responsibility. It only teaches them entitlement and that everything in life should be free.
  • They say it’s never too late to learn something new. Is learning still important when people get older?
    • I have to agree 100% that education is a lifelong adventure. Whether it’s learning a new trade or going back to college, it’s never too late to learn something new. I heard that using your brain is healthy, especially for older people. I saw in the news one-time, a 90 plus year old man receiving his bachelor’s degree that he started back in 1942 because it was interrupted by WWII. That just goes to prove it’s never too late
  • Why do some people dislike learning?
    • Personally speaking, I think people hate learning because it’s too much work for them and they don’t see the benefits from it. Maybe it’s also because they weren’t raised to appreciate a quality education. Whatever the reasons, they are more than likely losing out on better career opportunities and possibly a higher standard of living. It’s sad to hear people say education doesn’t matter as it really does.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a teacher who had a positive influence on you. You should say:
    • what subject this teacher teaches/taught
    • how long he/she was your teacher
    • what positive characteristics this teacher has
    • and why you remember this teacher.

It’s definitely my English teacher, Mrs. Lloyd! Maybe she’s the reason I ended up changing my career later in life to teaching English to foreign learners.

I had her for several English classes throughout high school, and I think I had her for homeroom one year also.
The first year I had her was in 9th grade. Don’t ask me what the name of the class was, because it was over 30 years ago. I remember that on the first day of class, when she was taking attendance, she recognized my last name since she had my older brother and sister in her classes before.

She became one of my favorite teachers because she was nice and to be honest, I was mischievous in her class as a way to get her attention. I did things like speak out of turn, talk with other students, and make weird noises during class. She never really reprimanded me, umm, except for a lot of dirty looks and some one on one chats after class.

After I graduated and went into the military, I visited her a few times at school when I was home on leave. It was always a pleasure to see and talk with her again. Even though I haven’t seen her in 25 years, I always think what it would be like to reunite with her again. I’m sure she has retired from teaching by now.

To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure how she influenced me other than being a compassionate and great teacher. She’s one of the few teachers I remember and was fond of.

As I mentioned before, she could have been the one who made an impact on me to become an ESL Teacher many moons later.


Part 3 Questions

  • Do you think high schools and universities prepare young people adequately for real life?
    • For the most part, I believe they do, at least in the USA. However, I feel the responsibility to groom a student for adulthood is not just that of the schools and colleges. More so, it’s the parents and, especially the student who need to take on the responsibility. If a student doesn’t want to learn, the schools and the parents can’t force them. I think it will only cause the student to act rebelliously and fail in the long run. So, ultimately, it’s the student who needs to make the difference and take on the challenge in a positive way to succeed later in life.
  • Some people say that your school days are the best days of your life. Do you agree or disagree?
    • Positively, I concur that it is the greatest part of my life. When you are a student, for the most part, your only responsibility is your school work and possibly some chores like cleaning your room or helping out around the house. You don’t have bills to pay, care for children, and, umm, maintain a home. Practically everything is provided by your parents. My parents always told me when I was growing up that I will wish to be a student again once I have to live the life of an adult. Now that I’m an adult, I realize what they said was true. Oh how I want that life of a carefree student back.
  • Should teenage students be allowed to submit evaluations of their teachers?
    • What a great question and a difficult one. Let me see, well, I would have to say no for a couple of reasons. Primarily, I don’t think teenagers can assess a teacher while being objective. They would only think of the negative qualities and not so much about the positive ones. In the second place, it would probably be a time consuming and expensive task for a school to administer such a program. Don’t get me wrong, I think students should be allowed to talk with school authorities about their teachers if there’s a problem between the teacher and student.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe a school or university that you went to. You should say:
    • when you went there
    • what the teachers/professors were like
    • how long you spent there
    • and explain what you liked and disliked about it.

The last educational institution I attended was the EF Spanish Language School in Tamarindo Costa Rica back in 2015. I went there to study a 6-week intensive Spanish program so I could increase my proficiency level.

The first step was to register for the course via an online process, which was a fairly uncomplicated process. I did have to make two or three phone calls to my account manager to clear up some questions I had about the program like housing, tuition, and a few optional programs that they offered.

Once the registration was completed, I needed to arrange my travel such as airfare and transfer. Additionally, I had to familiarize myself with the airport I was flying into and the beach town I was going to stay in for 6 weeks. I did this online using some travel apps like tripadvisor.

Needless to say, I was excited to start my program. The day finally arrived for me to leave on my next great adventure.

I arrived in Tamarindo on a Saturday, so I had the weekend to acclimate myself with my new surroundings.

Monday came and I started my 6 week Spanish classes. I couldn’t help but notice I was one of two older students and the rest looked, say, umm, 18 to 22 years old. We had orientation at the school and a quick tour of downtown Tamarindo to include the beach.

I’m going to switch to the school itself now. The school was an old boutique hotel turned into a small school. It has a pool, BBQ area, about 6 classrooms, administration office, and dorm rooms. Fortunately I stayed in a private hotel across the street.

Since this school is not a high school or university there are no semester breaks or final exams. Students can take as many weeks as they want. I have to mention one thing about the students. I noticed the younger students had a habit of skipping classes.

All in all, the 6 week course was beneficial and I improved my Spanish a lot. Moreover, I was able to walk the beach and breath fresh ocean air almost everyday in the morning and evening. A fringe benefit of this language school.


Part 3 Questions

  • Is the Internet a valuable educational tool?
    • As far as I’m concerned, it’s invaluable. I only wish it was a part of modern technology when I was a student. Google search would have been my best friend for things like research papers and homework assignments. On the other hand, it’s also a tool that can have a negative impact on a student. For instance, a lot of students become addicted to video games and play them all night. They forget about their school assignments or are too tired to do them. To change directions, as fas as teachers are concerned, there’s a wealth of educational resources on the internet to teach their students.
  • Which subjects do you think should be optional and which should be compulsory?
    • I never really thought about this before, but….Speaking for myself, some elective courses should be math and science. Although, I think they should be required for at least 2 years in high school. Take math for example, everyone should know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, so business math should be a requirement in one of those 2 years. Let’s move onto another required course that I think it necessary and that is English. I believe your own language should be taught every year from kindergarten until your senior year of high school. You’d be surprised how many people have trouble speaking their own language correctly.
  • Is obtaining an online university degree the same as obtaining one from a physical university?
    • Since an online degree is growing more and more in popularity, umm, and there are more of these online universities, I believe yes. I’m not a big fan of online university degrees, and I would not personally obtain a degree from one, because I think there’s a difference in the quality of education one receives from an actual institution over a virtual one. One example would be the interaction between the student and teacher. In the virtual class there’s none.

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

cambly-practice-button2

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

cambly-practice-button2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s