Educational vocabulary is fundamental when you are both writing a CV/resume in English or having a job interview. So it's important that you don't make basic mistakes when you are writing or talking about it.

In this online exercise on educational vocabulary, we will show you both the essential English vocabulary and an example of how to describe your educational experience/background in a CV/resume or in an job interview.

Click here to see more of our free online exercises on CVs/resumes and job interviews


Exercise:

Read the following job interview between an interviewer and a candidate for a job.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Interviewer:'From looking at your CV, it seems that you studied at the University of Birmingham. Can you tell me a little about what you studied?'

Candidate:'No problem. I studied there for 4 years. I did English Language as my undergraduate degree. I enjoyed it very much and my high final grade demonstrates that.

But it was an academic degree. So in order to improve my job prospects, when I graduated I did a master's in Business Organisation, which was very vocational. As part of my master's, I did a work placement in the human resources department of MacDonalds during the winter term, which lasted about 3 months. It was a very rewarding experience.

All the courses in the master's were very practical or vocational, like for example courses on employment law and business administration. In fact, my thesis was on employment law in the retail sector. I enjoyed everything about the master's and I got a very high final grade.

After that, I decided that I didn't want to do a PHD, I wanted to start my career and use what I'd learnt in the real world.'

Interviewer:'Excellent, and what about at school?'

Candidate:'I studied at Skipton Secondary School in Yorkshire. I passed all my A-levels with high grades. In addition, I did a lot of extracurricular activities like being secretary of the drama club, a very rewarding and enjoyable experience.'



Quiz:

Below is a definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now fill in the blanks with one of these words/phrases in bold. Only use one word/phrase once and write it as it is in the text. Click on the "Check answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question which you can press/click on. In the first icon, , you can find extra information about the word/phrase (e.g. when, where and how to use etc...) and a Spanish translation. In the second, , is where you can listen to the word/phrase and do a pronunciation test (to make sure you can say it correctly).


1.

A more correct way to describe the mark of an exam/essay/course/degree, is

         

Grade:
(noun) It is used in schools, universities and for professional qualifications. In Spanish: "Nota".

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Grade:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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2.

A one or two year course after you have graduated, is called a

         

Master's:
(noun ) The qualification or course between a degree and a PHD. In Spanish: "màster".

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Master's:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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3.

The big project/essay in a degree/master's, is called a

         

Thesis:
(noun) The main piece of coursework done in a degree/master's/PHD. Also called a final project or dissertation In Spanish: "tesina/tesis".

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Thesis:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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4.

Activities that you participate in or organise that aren't part of school/university courses, are called

         

Extracurricular activities:
(noun phrase) It is used to talk about activities done outside of school or university, like volunteering, being in a sports club. If asked about this, you used only use activities that are positive. In Spanish: "actividades extraescolar".

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Extracurricular activities:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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5.

Traditional subjects at school/university like Maths, Physics, History etc..., are called

         

Academic:
(adjective) It is used for courses that don't train or prepare you for a career or job. For example, Law is not an academic degree, while French is. Normally, it is used in front of course, degree or master's. In Spanish: "acadèmico".

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Academic:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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6.

Subjects at school/university which are connected to a job/career like Engineering, Business Studies etc..., are called

         

Vocational:
(adjective) It is used for courses that train or prepare you for a career or job. For example, French is not an vocational degree, while Law is. Normally, it is used in front of course, degree, master's. In Spanish: "de formaciòn profesional".

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Vocational:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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7.

The school/university year is divided in to 3 parts, each part is called a

         

Term:
(noun) There are three terms in an academic year, winter term, spring term and summer term. In America, they use semester, which divides the academic year in to two parts. In Spanish: "trimestre".

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Term:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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8.

Part of a course at school/university where you have experience of working, is called a

         

Work placement:
(noun phrase) When you work in a company as part of your degree or master's. In Spanish: "experiencia laboral".

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Work placement:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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9.

The first qualification at university, is called an

         

Undergraduate degree:
(noun phrase) Normally, an undergraduate degree lasts 3 or 4 full-time (longer for studying one part-time). Remember, don't use career for degree. Career is used for professional experience. In Spanish: "licenciatura".

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Undergraduate degree:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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10.

The different parts/subjects of a degree or masters, are called

         

Courses:
(noun) Course can be used for both the different parts of a qualification (e.g. a development course of an Economics degree) or for the whole qualification. The context is important. In Spanish: "curso".

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Courses:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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Practice

Now that you understand the educational background vocabulary, practice them by creating your own sentences in English with the new words/phrases.

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