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ESL education vocabulary: 100+ important education words

education vocabulary

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Education is a life-long process of developing the intellectual faculties of people.

Albert Einstein defined education as what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Here is an ESL education vocabulary list that includes a number of collocations and verbs relating to the term education. The list specifically includes also some education vocabulary advanced, some education vocabulary for teachers, and some higher education vocabulary.

Education Vocabulary (Education Words)

Education vocabulary: Essential educational vocabulary

Here is a number of collocations and vocabulary related to education with meaning (education words list)


The qualification students obtain when they successfully complete a college or university course.

Bachelor’s degree

The first degree that students get when they study at the university for three or four years.

 Bachelor of Arts (= BA)

A first university degree in an arts or social sciences subject.

Bachelor of Science (= BSc)

A first university degree in science.

Higher degree

A degree that is taken after a first degree, at a more advanced level. For example, a Master’s Degree ( = MA = Master of Arts), a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) …


Students who left school before completing basic education.

Basic education

It refers to a variety of educational activities that take place in a variety of settings (formal, informal and non-formal). These activities aim to meet basic learning needs like writing, reading.

Compulsory education

A number of years or age span during which children are legally obliged to attend school. (education vocabulary)

Formal education 

Formal education refers to the education that students receive in an educational institution using a programme. This type of education leads to certification (diploma /certificate /degree)

Informal education

Informal education is learning that takes place outside the educational institution in the context of daily life and work. It is a lifelong process whereby people acquire knowledge, skills, and values from daily experience, family, the Internet, mass media, etc.

Non-formal education

Non-formal education usually results from a programme but it is not usually evaluated and learners don’t get a certificate. Specifically, The term non-formal education refers to adult literacy. This type of education is voluntary.

Self-directed learning

It is a type of learning in which a learner plans, implements and evaluates what he/she is learning without the help of anyone.

Vocational education

Vocational education is the kind of education that prepares students for careers or professions.

Vocational school

A school where learners learn and develop skills that are necessary for particular jobs.


The ability to read and write. Nowadays, a literate person is someone who is able to use a personal computer as well.

Adult literacy

Teaching adults who are illiterate reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Adult education (continuing education)

Education for adults that is available outside the formal education system, for example at evening classes.


A person whose job is to teach or educate people. (education vocabulary)


A person who has a special knowledge of the principles and methods of teaching.

Private school

A school where the education of students is paid for by their parents. This type of school doesn’t receive any money from the government.

education vocabulary
College related words (education vocabulary)

State school 

A school that is paid for by the government and provides free education.

Public school (in England)

A private school for young people between the ages of 13 and 18, whose parents pay for their education. The students often live at the school while they are studying.

Play school

A school where kids younger than five years old go to play and learn.

Primary school (in Britain)

A school for pupils between the ages of 5 and 11.

Elementary education

Elementary education, also called primary education, the first stage traditionally found in formal education, beginning at about age 5 to 7 and ending at about age 11 to 13. In the United Kingdom and some other countries, the term primary is used instead of elementary. (Education vocabulary)

In the United States, the term primary customarily refers to only the first three years of elementary education—i.e., grades 1 to 3. Elementary education is often preceded by some form of preschool for children age 3 to 5 or 6 and is often followed by secondary education.

Secondary education

Education beyond the elementary grades; provided by a high school /a secondary school.

Elementary school (in the US)

A school for students between the ages of about 6 and 12.

Secondary school 

A school for young people between the ages of 11 and 16 or 18. (

High school (in the US)

A school for young people between the ages of 14 and 18.

High school ( in Britain)

A school for young people between the ages of 11 and 18.


Something that is compulsory must be done because of a rule or law. (Compulsory education)


They are similar to universities, but in polytechnics, the courses tend to be more practically-oriented.

Tertiary education

Refers to education at the college or university level.

Timetable (UK)/ Schedule( US)

A list of the times when classes in school happen. (education related vocabulary)

 Principal (UK) 

  1. The person who is in charge of a college or a university.
  2. A teacher who is in charge of a school.

Headmaster (US)

A teacher who is in charge of a school, especially a private school.


A group of people working together for the same school, college, university, organization, etc.

Textbook (US)

A book that teaches a particular subject and that is used especially in schools and colleges.

Coursebook (UK) 

A book that is used regularly in a class for studying.

Homework (uncountable)

Work that a teacher gives to students to do at home.


A series of lessons or lectures on a particular subject, usually leading to an exam or qualification.


The subjects which are included in a course of study or taught in an educational institution; a school, a college, or an institute.


A list of the topics, books, etc. that students have to study in a particular school subject or a particular subject at university.


It is a type of education and training that uses information technology such as computers and the Internet.

Active learning 

In this type of learning, students learn by doing things rather than sitting at their desks reading, listening to a teacher, or doing exercises inside or outside of school. Education vocabulary

Mental agility

The ability to think quickly and clearly.


A building where a collection of books, CDs, newspapers, etc. are kept for people to read, study or borrow.


A class at university or college when a teacher and a group of students meet so as to study and discuss something.


A formal event at a university or college where a larger group of students listen to a lecturer and take notes.

Student counselor 

A person who is trained to listen to students and give them pieces of advice about their personal problems.

A student

A student who always gets higher marks.


A teacher who works with a student / a learner or a small group of students.


A university teacher of the highest rank. ( a senior university academic)


Somebody who teaches at a university or college.


A student in his or her first year at a university or college.


A student in the second year of a course of study at a college or university.


A third-year student at university or college.


A fourth-year student at college or university.

Graduate student

A student with a bachelor’s degree (e.g. BA, BSc)


The amount of money that students pay to go to a private school, university, etc.


An amount of money paid by a school, university, etc. to a student who has a lot of ability, but not much money.

A student loan

The money that a student borrows from a bank while at university or college.

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) (Distance education/ distance training)

A course of study that is made available over the Internet. It is usually followed by a large number of learners.

Education vocabulary list of verbs: Education collocations (education vocabulary)

  • Attend

To go regularly to a school or university

  • Learn

to acquire knowledge, a skill, or an ability to do something.

  • Learn by heart

memorize, commit to memory.

  • Study

take a course or a number of courses on a particular subject.

  • Prepare for an exam/a test /a quiz

To review what you have already learned to get ready for an exam…

  • Take an exam/ a test/a quiz

To do an exam/a test/a quiz.

  • Sit an exam/a test/a quiz

To do an exam/a test/a quiz.

  • Pass an exam/a test /a quiz

To achieve a successful outcome from an exam…

  • Fail an exam/a test /a quiz

Not to succeed in an exam…

  • Resit an exam

To take an exam a second time.

  • Do well

Do well in an exam/a test/a quiz

  • Do badly

Do badly in an exam/a test/a quiz.

  • Skip classes

miss classes deliberately.

  • Skip lectures

miss lectures deliberately.

  • Graduate

To complete a university degree successfully.

  • Secure a place

To be accepted as a student; get a place.

  • Acquire knowledge

To learn and get to know about different things.

Education Vocabulary: Adjectives with prepositions (words for education)

  • Good at: Successful

She is good at languages.

  • Bad at: Not successful

She is very bad at Physics and Science and she hates them.

  • Be interested in: To want to do something or know more about it.

I’m really interested in history.

  • Be keen on sth: To like something very much.

My son is really keen on Mathematics. He likes it very much and he never skips it.

  • Bored with: Not interested

He is usually bored with Philosophy. He finds it boring.

Education vocabulary: School vocabulary (school subjects)

Core subjects:

Subjects which all the students on a course have to do.

  • Languages
  • Physical Education (Sport)
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Science
  • Biology
  • History
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Art
  • Computers
  • Literature

IELTS education vocabulary

Online education vocabulary/ Vocabulary about education


An app is a short term for “application”. It is the same as a software program.

Blog (also web blog)

A website where a blogger writes regularly about topics or events that interest them, usually with photos and links to other websites.


Cookies are computer files that a website uses to track a (visitor) user’s online activity. Cookies also recognize when a visitor returns to a source website.

Fully Online Learning

Fully online learning refers to the learning where all the work and activities are done completely online, especially when you are enrolled in a course at a school or university that is physically far from you. (Education vocabulary)


A word, phrase, or picture on an electronic document that you can click on to jump to a new section or another document. Hyperlinks are also found on web pages.


The standards or rules that people should follow when working online (when using the Internet).


URL stands for Uniform/Universal Resource Locator. An URL is the address of a specific website or file on the Internet.

Virtual classroom

A virtual classroom is an online classroom learning space that allows both educators (teachers) and learners to interact with each other over the Internet rather than in a physical classroom. A virtual classroom may include a variety of features such as videoconferencing, instant messaging, a digital whiteboard, group chats, etc.


A list of websites of electronic works about a particular subject that have been used by a person writing a book, an article, etc.


A magazine that is published on the Internet, not on paper.

Vocabulary words related to education pdf

Education vocabulary pdf

This list of education vocabulary is not exhaustive. More vocabulary education, education collocations, school vocabulary, and education advanced vocabulary will be added to the list.

If you are interested in online education, check this article about the best online colleges and universities.

If you are an English teacher, these free online courses with certificates are perfect for you.

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