IELTS Podcast (Ep. 13) | Vocabulary Lesson 8: School

Magoosh IELTS Podcast

Vocabulary Lesson 8: School

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In this episode of the Magoosh IELTS podcast, your teacher Eliot Friesen explains how to use four words all related to school: Institute, Tutorial, Office Hours, and Course.

These words will be useful in IELTS Listening conversations, as well as in some IELTS Listening solo speeches.

If you like this lesson, please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher for more IELTS Vocabulary lessons, and check out all of our IELTS Podcast episodes here!

Download the complete list of IELTS Vocabulary words.

(Translations: Tiếng Việt, فارسی, عربى)

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IELTS Podcast: Episode 13 Transcript

Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Vocabulary Podcast. This is Lesson 13. In this episode, we will cover 4 words all related to school: Institute, Tutorial, Office Hours, and Course.

Don’t forget to check out our show notes for a link to your free IELTS vocabulary list containing these words and others, and visit us at for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score. Use coupon code “ieltspodcast” to save 20% off your IELTS test prep!

Okay! Let’s get started.

I’d like to introduce you to your teacher, Eliot. He is the Magoosh IELTS expert and, here’s a fun fact about Eliot: he went to a tiny high school with only 200 students.

Eliot Intro

Hello Magoosh IELTS podcast listeners, welcome to today’s show. I’m Eliot, the IELTS expert from Magoosh, and it’s true, there were only about fifty kids in my graduating class. So today, we’re going to look at four words that are going to help you to understand the kind of language you’re going to hear in the listening passages on your IELTS exam.

Make sure to go to the link in the show notes to get the full list of vocabulary words.

The theme for the words in today’s episode is school life, and words we might use to describe different places and events that are related to school.


Let’s begin. Institute is the first word on the list. So let’s start with that one, okay?

Institute, what does it mean?

Well, an institute is an organization with a particular purpose, especially one that is involved with science, education, or a specific profession.

But when you hear or read the word “institute” on the IELTS, it will almost always refer to a university. So “Institute” is another word for university or campus on the exam.

Many universities that are involved with private research are called institutes. For example the full name of MIT is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, small liberal arts schools or local community colleges are not typically talked about using the word institute. When taking the IELTS, just try to remember that the word institute is talking about a university or its campus.

So that’s institute.


The next word is tutorial.

A tutorial is a period of instruction given by a university or college tutor to an individual or very small group. So on the IELTS, the word “tutorial” refers to a single teaching session between a teacher and one or more students.

A tutorial could be a single lesson on the use of symbolism in a famous novel. Or a tutorial could teach students on how to use a certain computer program. You get the idea.

A tutorial could also be one session in a semester course, a one-on-one meeting with a tutor, or a learning activity that is directed by a student club or university support centre.

Here again, we see an IELTS vocabulary word that is different in British and North American English. In American contexts, “tutorial” is more likely to mean an instructional video or booklet. Of course, the IELTS is a U.K.-based exam, so chances are that when you run into the word “tutorial” on the IELTS it will be the British definition.

Okay? So that’s tutorial.

Office Hours

The next word is office hours. Technically office hours is a phrase, but it’s an important phrase to know!

So what are office hours? Well, “office hours” is the name for the time that professors and teaching assistants schedule outside of class to meet with students. Office hours are set periods of time during the week which a teacher makes themself available for students to come by their office and ask questions.

For example, a professor might keep office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 2pm. During those scheduled two-hour time periods, students can come see the professor, even if they don’t have an appointment.

Students are encouraged to attend office hours to ask questions about assignments or anything they didn’t understand during class. Office hours are also a great way to get to know your professor, and get a little extra help with your schoolwork.

So that’s office hours.


The final word today is course.

Course is one of the most common words on the IELTS. This may seem like a very simple vocabulary word, but many IELTS test-takers get confused. It’s easy to forget that this word can have two meanings.

The word “course” can be used to mean a single class that a student enrolls in, such as a one-semester history course.
However, on the IELTS, a course can sometimes also refer to an entire degree. A bachelor’s degree can be called a four-year course, and a master’s or doctorate may be described as a postgraduate course.

Note that in North American English, a course is almost always just one class. But again, the IELTS is a U.K.-based exam. Test-takers who are less familiar with British English should be careful when they see this vocabulary word on the IELTS.

So that’s course.


Great! In this episode you learned 4 words related to school life–for more vocabulary, download the full list of vocabulary in the show notes and tune in to the next episode.

If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in iTunes and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh wishing you happy studying.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • Molly Kiefer

    Molly is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She designs Magoosh’s graphic assets, manages our YouTube channels and podcasts, and contributes to the Magoosh High School Blog.

    Since 2014, Molly has tutored high school and college students preparing for the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. She began her tutoring journey while in undergrad, helping her fellow students master math, computer programming, Spanish, English, and Philosophy.

    Molly graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and she continues to study ethics to this day. An artist at heart, Molly loves blogging, making art, taking long walks and serving as personal agent to her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


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