How to Talk About Studying

While it's still summer in the northern hemisphere, the school year is quickly approaching! There are lots of words and phrases that are specific to education, and they are also different between English-speaking countries.

Learn school vocabulary and know how to talk about your courses, exams and lessons in English. Test your new knowledge at the end of the post and let us know how you did!

School Vocabulary: 

academia - (n.) a community concerned with research, education and scholarship
example: Rosie loves being a part of academia; I think she wants to be a professor!

to cheat - (v.) to violate the rules of an exam, by bringing in an answer sheet or otherwise using information/help that should not be available
example: Lisa was caught cheating on the exam and got kicked out of the course

crib sheet/cheat sheet - (n.) a set of notes that offers quick reference
example: I used a cheat sheet to help with the take-home test.

final exam - (n.) the last exam/test of a course; it usually counts for a large percentage of a course grade
midterm - (n.) an exam mid-way through a term; it can be worth a large percentage of a grade.
example: The final exam is worth 30% of your final grade, so make sure you study.

freshman - (n.; adj.: US English) the first year of university or high school; the name of someone in their first year
sophomore - (n.; adj.; US English) the second year of university or high school, the name of someone in their second year
junior - (n.; adj; US English) the third year of university or high school, the name of someone in their third year
senior -(n.; adj; US English) the fourth year of university or high school, the name of someone in their fourth year
super-senior - (n.; US English) a slang term for someone who takes 5 years to finish a bachelor's degree.
example: My freshman year was the toughest one. I needed to adjust to living on my own.

pop quiz - (n.) a short, surprise test
example: My economics professor gave us a pop quiz today! Luckily I reviewed the information last night.

prospectus -(n.) a brochure that gives the details of a school or course
example: Did you see the prospectus for the new creative writing class? I'm very interested in taking it.

revise/study -(v. UK English; US English) to apply yourself to understand and recall a certain set of information
example: Sorry, I can't go to the film tonight, I need to revise for tomorrow's biology exam.

term/semester - (n. UK English; US English) one of two periods that make up an academic school year
trimester - (n.) one of three periods that make up an academic school year
example: It's hard to plan a vacation with Yvonne, my school has semesters but hers has trimesters.

syllabus - (n.) the outline or schedule of a course of study
example: The syllabus for English Literature has made me nervous! We have to write 7 papers this semester.

Practice Activity:

Fill in the blanks using the vocabulary you learned above.

School vocabulary activities 1. I skipped on Monday and missed the ______. (surprise test)
2. What percentage of the grade is the ________ worth? (the last test of the course)
3. The _______ lists everything we'll cover in the course.
4. You're so lucky your professor let you use a ______! We never get to bring notes into our tests.
5. Rather than two _________, we have three ________. (length of a school term)

Check your answers with the Answer Key!

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