School Vocabulary about Success

brainstormIt is natural to want to do your very best. Unfortunately, complicated expressions can sometimes get in the way. Lucky for you, we are here with this set of school vocabulary about success so that you can concentrate more on your studies than idioms!

to put someone’s thinking cap on – a figurative expression used to describe someone who is thinking very hard

  • Okay, team, the new advertising slogan is due next week and we are absolutely nowhere. Let’s put our thinking caps on and get this done!

to brainstorm – to deliberately think of new or unusual ideas, typically with a group

  • The first step in effective planning is to brainstorm for ideas.

to turn (something) around – to recover from a poor position

  • Don’t lose hope, boys, we can still turn this thing around!

Note: The verb rally has a similar meaning.

to pull off – to succeed when it seemed unlikely

  • Although our team was behind in the first half they rallied and pulled off a last-minute victory.

an A for effort – to receive recognition for one’s participation more than one’s skill

  • Well, Denise, you didn’t win but you did finish the race, so you get an A for effort.

Note: Participation trophies (or “a trophy for participating”) are another way to reward people for finishing what they start.

to make the grade – to earn a high score (often by a wide margin)

  • If you study hard you have nothing to worry about – you’ll make the grade without a problem.

to pass with flying colors – to make an extremely high (or perfect) score

  • Congratulations, you passed your driver’s test with flying colors.

cap and gown – the unique clothing that is traditionally worn by people during their graduation ceremonies.

Don’t Forget: Regular visits to our school vocabulary homepage can help improve English mastery!


School Vocabulary About College Classes

Some things are universal and others are not. While many aspects of college courses are similar to their high school equivalents, there are some unique aspects of college coursework. Take a look at this collection of school vocabulary about college classes and you will understand why.

an easy A – a class that require little effort to make an A in

  • Everyone I knew took Wildlife Issues because it was such an easy A.

as easy as ABC – used to describe something that is basic and simple to understand

  • Quantum mechanics isn’t that hard! Once you get the hang of it, it is as easy as ABC.

Note: An alternate version of this, naturally, is as easy as 1-2-3.

a weed out class – a class that is extremely difficult and used to eliminate people from a certain discipline before they have taken many classes

  • I wanted to study Finance so I took Financial Accounting my first semester at Uni – how was I supposed to know it was a weed out class? I have never worked so hard for a C in my life!

back to basics – to start from the beginning in order to compensate for missing information

  • After Alejandra’s third failed attempt at a cake, we decided it was back to basics with her baking lessons.

get credit for something – to be officially recognized for something

  • When you are trying to survive a weed out class, getting credit for it is more important than acing it.

Note: As in the above example, in college the something is usually a course. For example “I got credit for my AP exams and started college as a sophomore.”

honor roll – the list of students with above average grades

  • I made honor roll twice times in my Junior year.

Note: Alternate names for the honor roll at the university level include Dean’s List and President’s List.

Ready to head to the top of the class? Practice with more examples by visiting our homepage.


School Vocabulary about Studying

studyingPreparing for an exam is stressful enough without any confusion over academic terminology. So concentrate on your coursework and let this custom-made entry be your guide to school vocabulary about studying.

to scan – to read, without close attention, for general themes

  • Headlines help you to scan a newspaper quickly and still get an idea of the day’s major stories.

to skim – to read lightly for main ideas but not specific detail

  • I didn’t have a lot of time to study last night so I just skimmed the finally chapter. I hope the test doesn’t ask too many questions from that section of the book!

Note: A closely related expression, “to get the gist,” is what results from skimming something: a general, if not detailed, idea about a situation.

to read aloud – to say the words while reading them so that others can

  • Students sometimes take turns reading aloud while in class.

Note: This expression is also written (and said) as read out loud.

to read silently – to read without speaking

  • During Study Hall students often read silently prepare for other classes.

to pour over – to read closely

  • Jane is pouring over her notes in preparation for the upcoming exam.

to hit the books – to study hard

  • Thank goodness the exam is on a Monday; I can use the weekend to really hit the books.

to learn by heart – to memorize

  • When I was in 8th grade I had to learn Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” by heart for my Language Arts class.

Note: Another expression with the same meaning that is used in the UK is to learn by rote although this is almost unheard of in the US.

to pull an all-nighter – to stay up all night studying

  • Alex pulled an all-nighter last night and is completely exhausted today.

to push through – to overcome an obstacle (be it mental or physical) in order to accomplish a task

  • Alex needed three cups of coffee to help him push through and finish all of his classes today.

Study up on this and other school vocabulary by visiting our dedicated home page!


School Vocabulary about Nicknames

bookwormKids will be kids so, of course, they will call each other names from time to time. Good, bad, or ugly, in this entry we discuss school vocabulary about nicknames.

bookworm – someone who reads a lot

  • Jeremy is such a bookworm! I mean, he uses his library card more than his metro card!

eager beaver – someone who is extremely excited to start work on (or be involved in) a project

  • Woah, hold on a second! Don’t be such an eager beaver – you still haven’t read the instructions!

teacher’s pet – a student who is constantly seeking positive affirmation or attention from the teacher

  • The teacher’s pet is often accused of being a “suck-up” but that term is considered fairly rude.

Note: Another, related, term is to brown nose (noun: a brownnoser), but this, too, is considered rude.

copycat – a generally playful term used to describe someone who reproduces the work (or actions) of others

  • Marcy is such a copycat; the minute I got a new backpack, she got one exactly like it.

tattletale – the name given to students who always report events back to authority figures

  • Don’t be such a tattletale; no one else needs to know about the fight!

wise guy – the name give to someone who acts as if he or she knows everyone (and is often rude about it)

  • Every class has a wise guy; sometimes he the class clown, other times he is a major teacher’s pet.

Note: Similar phrases like smart aleck and know-it-all are also common but have slightly different connotations.

bully – a mean-spirited person who enforces his or her will by the use of violence or other cruelty

  • Every school has a bully but not every child needs to be a victim!

To be better prepared for school be sure to visit our dedicated school vocabulary page!