Expand Your Vocabulary For IELTS Speaking & Writing

British Universities – Cambridge and Oxford

There are more than forty universities in Britain. They are all private institutions. Each has its own governing council, including some local businessmen and local politicians as well as a few academics. Students have to pay fees and living costs, but every student may receive from the local authority of the place where he lives a personal grant which is enough to pay off his full costs, including lodging and food.

Each university has its own syllabuses, and there are some quite important differences between one and another. In general, the Bachelor’s degree is given to students who pass exami­nations at the end of three or four years of study. Bachelors’ degrees are at two levels, Honors and Pass. In some cases the Honors degree is given for intensive study and examination in one, two or three related subjects while the Pass degree may be somewhat broader.

The first post-graduate degree is normally that of Master, conferred for a thesis based on at least one year’s full-time work; the time actually taken is usually more than a year. Oxford and Cambridge are peculiar in that they give the Master of Arts degree automatically to any Bachelor who pays the necessary fees at any time after the seventh year from his first admission to the uni­versity.

Oxford and Cambridge resemble each other quite closely. They have a special preeminence, but they two no longer belong to the upper and upper-middle classes as the public schools do. They are both based on colleges. These colleges are parallel and equal institutions, and none of them is connected with any particular field of study. In order to become a member of the univer­sity, a student must first be accepted as a member of a college.

Each college is governed by its Fellows. And most of them were founded before 1600, and the oldest three before 1300. The biggest and most magnificent is Christ Church. Its members, with wonderful arrogance, habitually call it “The House”. It has educated many cabinet minis­ters. Colleges choose their new students mainly on academic merit, but some also admit a few men who are good at sports, or sons of eminent citizens or of millionaires.

It is easy to see the advantages of an education at Oxford. The surroundings of the ancient buildings are infinitely pleasing. The teaching varies between good and bad, hut the whole effect is highly stimulating. The libraries and bookshops are probably unequalled anywhere.

Most of a man’s contacts are with people in his own college, though the average student has many friends in other colleges too. But an Oxford college is a community, anti its students feel very conscious of belonging to it. The inter-college rowing races in the summer provide Oxford with a great and colorful social occasion.

Each Fellow in a college is a tutor in his own subject to the undergraduates who are study­ing it. Each student goes to his tutor’s room for an hour every week to sit in an armchair and read out an essay which he and the tutor then discuss the system of teaching here encouraging inde­pendent thought and judgement.

Oxford is more tolerant than Cambridge, and except Churchill, every Prime Minister from 1945 to 1974 was an Oxford graduate. But Cambridge is more developed than Oxford in scien­tific studies. The rivalry between the two universities at sports is a part of the national life.

England had no other universities, apart from Oxford and Cambridge, until the nineteenth century. During the 19th century, institutions of higher education were founded in most of the biggest industrial towns. For a long time they could not give degrees themselves. But one by one, they grew bigger and became independent universities. Since 1960s, new forms of higher edu­cation were established, among which the Open University is the most interesting innovation. It gives courses through one of the BBC’s television channels and by radio, and it developed prosperously all over the country.

Words and Expressions for IELTS Speaking & Writing

  1. institution (n): a large important organization that has a particular purpose, for example, a university or bank ⇒ “They are all private institutions.”
  2. govern (v): to legally control a country or its people and be responsible for introducing new laws, organizing public services,… ⇒ “Each has its own governing council, including some local businessmen and local politicians as well as a few academics.”
  3. council (n): a group of people who are elected to govern an area such as a city or county ⇒ “Each has its own governing council, including some local businessmen and local politicians as well as a few academics.”
  4. local (adj): belonging to or connected with the particular place or area that you are talking about or with the place where you live ⇒ “Each has its own governing council, including some local businessmen and local politicians as well as a few academics.”
  5. academic (n): connected with education, especially studying in schools and universities ⇒ “Each has its own governing council, including some local businessmen and local politicians as well as a few academics.”
  6. fee (n): an amount of money that you pay for professional advice or services ⇒ “Students have to pay fees and living costs, but every student may receive from the local authority of the place where he lives a personal grant which is enough to pay off his full costs, including lodging and food.”
  7. authority (n): the power to give orders to people ⇒ “Students have to pay fees and living costs, but every student may receive from the local authority of the place where he lives a personal grant which is enough to pay off his full costs, including lodging and food.”
  8. grant (n): to agree to give somebody what they ask for, especially formal or legal permission to do something ⇒ “Students have to pay fees and living costs, but every student may receive from the local authority of the place where he lives a personal grant which is enough to pay off his full costs, including lodging and food.”
  9. lodging (n): temporary accommodation ⇒ “Students have to pay fees and living costs, but every student may receive from the local authority of the place where he lives a personal grant which is enough to pay off his full costs, including lodging and food.”
  10. syllabus (n): a list of the topics, books, etc. that students should study in a particular subject at school or college ⇒ “Each university has its own syllabuses, and there are some quite important differences between one and another.”
  11. bachelor’s degree (n): the first degree that you get when you study at a university ⇒ “In general, the Bachelor’s degree is given to students who pass exami­nations at the end of three or four years of study.”
  12. Honors (n): great respect and admiration for somebody ⇒ “Bachelors’ degrees are at two levels, Honors and Pass.”
  13. Pass (n): to come over test or examination ⇒ “Bachelors’ degrees are at two levels, Honors and Pass.”
  14. intensive (adj): involving a lot of work or activity done in a short time ⇒ “In some cases the Honors degree is given for intensive study and examination in one, two or three related subjects while the Pass degree may be somewhat broader.”
  15. post-graduate (adj): connected with further studies that someone does at a university after receiving their first degree ⇒ “The first post-graduate degree is normally that of Master, conferred for a thesis based on at least one year’s full-time work; the time actually taken is usually more than a year.”
  16. master (n): a man who has people working for him, often as servants in his home ⇒ “The first post-graduate degree is normally that of Master, conferred for a thesis based on at least one year’s full-time work; the time actually taken is usually more than a year.”
  17. confer (v): to discuss something with somebody, in order to exchange opinions or get advice ⇒ “The first post-graduate degree is normally that of Master, conferred for a thesis based on at least one year’s full-time work; the time actually taken is usually more than a year.”
  18. thesis (n): a long piece of writing completed by a student as part of a university degree, based on their own research ⇒ “The first post-graduate degree is normally that of Master, conferred for a thesis based on at least one year’s full-time work; the time actually taken is usually more than a year.”
  19. in that: at a point within an area or a space ⇒ “Oxford and Cambridge are peculiar in that they give the Master of Arts degree automatically to any Bachelor who pays the necessary fees at any time after the seventh year from his first admission to the uni­versity.”
  20. automatically (adv): without needing a person to operate controls ⇒ “Oxford and Cambridge are peculiar in that they give the Master of Arts degree automatically to any Bachelor who pays the necessary fees at any time after the seventh year from his first admission to the uni­versity.”
  21. admission (n): the act of accepting somebody into an institution, organization,…; the right to enter a place or to join an institution or organization ⇒ “Oxford and Cambridge are peculiar in that they give the Master of Arts degree automatically to any Bachelor who pays the necessary fees at any time after the seventh year from his first admission to the uni­versity.”
  22. resemble (v): to look like or be similar to another person or thing ⇒ “Oxford and Cambridge resemble each other quite closely.”
  23. closely (adv): near in space or time ⇒ “Oxford and Cambridge resemble each other quite closely.”
  24. preeminence (n): the quality of being more important, more successful or of a higher standard than others ⇒ “They have a special preeminence, but they two no longer belong to the upper and upper-middle classes as the public schools do.”
  25. parallel (adj): two or more lines that run parallel to each other are the same distance apart at every point ⇒ “These colleges are parallel and equal institutions, and none of them is connected with any particular field of study.”
  26. particular (adj): used to emphasize that you are referring to one individual person, thing or type of thing and not others ⇒ “These colleges are parallel and equal institutions, and none of them is connected with any particular field of study.”
  27. college (n): a place where students go to study or to receive training after they have left school ⇒ “In order to become a member of the univer­sity, a student must first be accepted as a member of a college.”
  28. fellow (n): a way of referring to a man or boy ⇒ “Each college is governed by its Fellows.”
  29. found (v): to start something, such as an organization or an institution, especially by providing money ⇒ “And most of them were founded before 1600, and the oldest three before 1300.”
  30. magnificent (adj): extremely attractive and impressive; deserving praise ⇒ “The biggest and most magnificent is Christ Church.”
  31. arrogance (n): the behavior of a person when they feel that they are more important than other people, so that they are rude to them or do not consider them ⇒ “Its members, with wonderful arrogance, habitually call it “The House”
  32. habitually (adv): in a way that is usual or typical of somebody or something ⇒ “Its members, with wonderful arrogance, habitually call it “The House”
  33. cabinet (n): a group of chosen members of a government, which is responsible for advising and deciding on government policy ⇒ “It has educated many cabinet minis­ters.”
  34. merit (n): the quality of being good and of deserving praise, reward or admiration ⇒ “Colleges choose their new students mainly on academic merit, but some also admit a few men who are good at sports, or sons of eminent citizens or of millionaires.”
  35. eminent (adj): famous and respected, especially in a particular profession ⇒ “Colleges choose their new students mainly on academic merit, but some also admit a few men who are good at sports, or sons of eminent citizens or of millionaires.”
  36. advantage (n): a thing that helps you to be better or more successful than other people ⇒ “It is easy to see the advantages of an education at Oxford.”
  37. ancient (adj): belonging to a period of history that is thousands of years in the past ⇒ “The surroundings of the ancient buildings are infinitely pleasing.”
  38. infinitely (adv): extremely; with no limit ⇒ “The surroundings of the ancient buildings are infinitely pleasing.”
  39. vary between (v): to be different from each other in size, shape,… ⇒ “The teaching varies between good and bad, hut the whole effect is highly stimulating.”
  40. stimulating (adv): full of interesting or exciting ideas; making people feel enthusiastic ⇒ “The teaching varies between good and bad, hut the whole effect is highly stimulating.”
  41. unequalled (adj): better than all others ⇒ “The libraries and bookshops are probably unequalled anywhere.”
  42. contact (n): the act of communicating with somebody, especially regularly ⇒ “Most of a man’s contacts are with people in his own college, though the average student has many friends in other colleges too.”
  43. average (adj): calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts ⇒ “Most of a man’s contacts are with people in his own college, though the average student has many friends in other colleges too.”
  44. community (n): all the people who live in a particular area, country, … when talked about as a group ⇒ “But an Oxford college is a community, anti its students feel very conscious of belonging to it. The inter-college rowing races in the summer provide Oxford with a great and colorful social occasion.”
  45. conscious (adj): aware of something; noticing something ⇒ “But an Oxford college is a community, anti its students feel very conscious of belonging to it. The inter-college rowing races in the summer provide Oxford with a great and colorful social occasion.”
  46. tutor (n): a private teacher, especially one who teaches an individual student or a very small group ⇒ “Each student goes to his tutor’s room for an hour every week to sit in an armchair and read out an essay which he and the tutor then discuss the system of teaching here encouraging inde­pendent thought and judgement.”
  47. undergraduate (n): a university or college student who is studying for their first degree ⇒ “Each Fellow in a college is a tutor in his own subject to the undergraduates who are study­ing it.”
  48. tolerant (adj): able to accept what other people say or do even if you do not agree with it ⇒ “Oxford is more tolerant than Cambridge, and except Churchill, every Prime Minister from 1945 to 1974 was an Oxford graduate.”
  49. rivalry (n): a state in which two people, companies,… are competing for the same thing ⇒ “The rivalry between the two universities at sports is a part of the national life.”
  50. higher education innovation (n): changes or improvements in higher education ⇒ “During the 19th century, institutions of higher education were founded in most of the biggest industrial towns.”
  51. channel (n): a method or system that people use to get information, to communicate, or to send something somewhere ⇒ “It gives courses through one of the BBC’s television channels and by radio, and it developed prosperously all over the country.”
  52. prosperously (adv): rich and successful ⇒ “It gives courses through one of the BBC’s television channels and by radio, and it developed prosperously all over the country.”

Exercises

Fill in each blank with the appropriate word, making changes where necessary

govern, institution, thesis, intensive, resemble,confer, parallel, merit, close, eminent

  1. A church, school, university, hospital, asylum, or prison is an ………………
  2. In Britain, the Queen is the formal head of state, but it is the prime minister of a cabinet that ……………..
  3. ……………… efforts are being made to resolve the dispute.
  4. An honorary degree was ………………. on him by the university.
  5. He is writing his doctoral ……………… in electrical engineering.
  6. He …………….. his brother.
  7. He’s one of my ……………… friends.
  8. The road is …………….. to the river.
  9. Her singing is totally without ……………
  10. Even the most ………….. doctor could not cure him.

Expand Your Vocabulary For IELTS Speaking & Writing
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