04. Education


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 …

  • to attend classes: to go to classes
  • private language school: an independent school run as a business concern
  • an intensive course: a course that offers lots of training in order to reach a goal in as short a time as possible

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  …

  • to meet a deadline: to finish a job or task in the time allowed or agreed
  • to keep up with your studies: to not fall behind
  • to learn something by heart: to memorize it

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 …

  • a single-sex school: a school where only boys or girls attend (as opposed to a mixed-sex school)
  • state school: a school paid for by public funds and available to the general public
  • to play truant: to stay away from classes without permission


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 …

  • bachelors degree: an undergraduate course which usually lasts 3-4 years
  • to take a year out: to spend a year working or travelling before starting university
  • a mature student: a student who is older than average and who has usually returned to education after a period at work
  • to work your way through university: to have a paid job whilst studying to support yourself financially
  • to sit an exam: to take an exam
  • 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
  • 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
  • distance learning: a way of studying where tuition is carried out over the Internet or by post

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 …

  • to give feedback: to offer guidance on a student’s work
  • subject specialist: a teacher who has a great deal of knowledge about the subject they teach

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 …

  • tuition fees: the money paid for a course of study
  • 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

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 …

  • boarding school: a school where pupils live during term time
  • public schools: exclusive independent schools in the UK



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