Studies
What do you study? Is there something that helps you to study efficiently? What's more essential for you, lecturers, or friends? Is there anything you want to change in your university? Do you like your studies at the moment?
Vocabulary
  • Postgrad (adj.) - used to refer to university studies or students at a more advanced level than a first degree.
  • Lecturer (noun) - someone who teaches at a college or university.
  • The fount of all knowledge, gossip, wisdom, etc. - the person or place from which all information on a particular subject comes.
  • Mischievous (adj.) - behaving in a way, or describing behaviour, that is slightly bad but is not intended to cause serious harm or damage.
  • Purpose-built (adj.) - designed and built for a particular use.
  • To be surplus to requirements - if someone or something is surplus to requirements, they are not needed.
Questions and answers
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M: Rory, let's talk about studies. What do you study? And where do you study it?

R: I'm doing a postgrad in primary teaching at Dundee University.

M: Why did you choose that subject?

R: Well, I need this particular qualification to become a primary school teacher in Scotland. So it was less of a choice and more of a necessity.

M: If you had the chance, would you change the subject?

R: Well, I changed some of the content if I could, but not the subject, since it's my passion in life.

M: Is there something that helps you to study efficiently?

R: Other than my brain? Oh, I have a file where I keep all of my material that I download from the online learning platform the university has, the platform itself is actually quite well organized. But I prefer to do things my own way. And it means I can combine all the documents and material from, well, from the university with those that I make and gather while doing my practical work outside of it.

M: What's more essential for you, lecturers, or friends?

R: At university? Well, I would definitely say the lecturers since they're the sort of founts of knowledge I need to pass. But I have made friends who helped me out from time to time.

M: Is there anything you want to change in your university?

R: Well, I could probably do without some of the social justice aspect, not because I don't believe in it, but because I don't think it needs to be explained to people who are going into public service. Also, when I get bored, I get quite mischievous.

M: Do you plan to get a job in the same field as your subject?

R: Absolutely. Well, it's the only choice and the course is purpose-built for this. I'm really looking forward to becoming a fully qualified teacher.

M: And do you like your studies at the moment?
R: Well, like I said, I like most of them. I feel like there are some parts which are, which are surplus to requirements.

M: Thank you, Rory, for your answers!
Discussion
M: So actually, the first question the examiner is gonna ask you is something like this, do your work or are you a student? So, Rory, if you were to answer this question, so do you work or are you a student? What would you say?

R: Well, if I was telling the truth, I would say both. But you have to pick one. And I can talk the most about my studies. So I'm going to talk about studies. And I'll say, study, I'm a student.

M: So would you say that... So do you work or are you a student? I'm a student. I'm doing a post-grad in primary teaching at Dundee University. Yeah?

R: Yes. And it's important to point out that the word postgrad is, it's the short form for postgraduate degree, which is something that you do after your first graduate degree. And you always do a degree in or a postgrad in something at whatever university.

M: And you do a degree, or you study for a degree, right?

R: Or you stay patient with the degree. Sorry, I'm making it sound miserable. I do like my degree. I just some parts, I'm, I'm over it. I don't really like.

M: So you are doing a postgraduate degree, which is like a master's degree. Right?

R: Although, really, it's a postgraduate certification. And I suppose that's another expression that you could point out. So a certification is what you have in Scotland, I think. No, that's wrong. I'm sorry. Because there's different education systems in the UK. This is amazing, because everybody thinks the United Kingdom has the same education system, but in fact, there are four or five. So the one for Scotland is actually a diploma on the one for England as a certificate.

M: Oh, my God.

R: Even though it's the same thing, it's the same thing.

M: So you went to university before, right? Okay. So first, you went to school, you did the school thing. Then you went to university, right?

R: Did the school thing... Yes. I was educated.

M: Yeah. And now you are studying for this certificate. So after your main university degree.

R: Yes.

M: Okay.

R: So it's a postgraduate certificate. a postgraduate degree is, it's another degree.

M: Like a master's degree. Yeah.

R: I don't think it really matters, though. Well, no, even. Yes, that's a really big simplification. But yes, basically, a master's degree is a postgraduate degree.

M: So, dear listener, make sure that you do know what you're studying. So you can say that, okay, I'm doing a master's degree. I'm doing a PhD or I'm doing a course in teaching in engineering, in IT, at bla, bla, University, right?

R: A course might be easier if you can't remember it. Just I'm doing this course.

M: I'm doing a course, you know.

R: I'm doing this course, it's fine.

M: But if a kind of I've just finished school and I entered a university, what do I say? So I'm studying for my bachelor's degree, right? I'm doing my bachelor's degree? So my kind of my first degree.

R: There's a BA, and there's a BSc which is a bachelor of Science. So a BA is a Bachelor of Arts, which is what most people have, but you also Bachelor of Science, which are in scientific subjects, like forensic anthropology.

M: Yeah, if this sounds crazy to you, dear listener, you can always say I'm studying mathematics, at bla, bla, University. Just like that.

R: That's great, we've gone through all this fantastic vocabulary and then we just say, just say you're studying something, would you?

M: No, but seriously, oh, for example, I'm, I'm a two years student, yeah? No, I'm a second-year student at bla, bla University. So, yeah.

R: Yeah, or even I'm a first-year student.

M: I'm a first-year student at Dundee University. Dundee. Where's Dundee, Rory?

R: Dundee is in Scotland. It's the 4th largest city and it's the sunniest city. And you can see that today because I'm inside my office when I shouldn't be outside in the sunshine.

M: Oh, boy. Yeah. And then Rory goes, I need this particular qualification. So this is a qualification. So your degree is qualification, or a course, or a certificate that you're studying for is a qualification. And why is Rory in Scotland studying? Because he wants to become a primary school teacher in Scotland. Hey, hey. Yeah, so this is the... His choice, for some reason. And the question was, if you had a chance, would you change the subject? Yes? So the second conditional, and you go with the second conditional, I'd change some of the content. I would change, I'd change. The content, like the content of the course. Right?

R: Yes.

M: And then the Rory says, like, it's my passion in life. What's your passion? I thought this podcast is your passion.

R: Well, I have vary passions in life. Can I not have many passions?

M: No.

R: What I should have said is it's one of my passions in life.

M: There we go.

R: Is everyone happy now?

M: Yes, yes. We are happy. Hey, yes, everybody's happy.

R: Well, I thought about that. And I feel like if being a primary school teacher doesn't work out, then I could just do this for the rest of my life and it would be fine.

M: Yes. Excellent.

R: You're having a day where you just like you're saying things and your face just doesn't match the expression at all. Excellent. Fantastic. We're going to be doing it until we're dead.

M: So to study efficiently, what does Rory do? He keeps a file where he keeps all his material. And Rory is studying online, right?

R: Oh, wow. You could talk about a hybrid or a blended course. Yes.

M: Half is online. The other half is face to face. Hybrid education or blended. Blended learning, right?

R: Yeah. I think it's great.

M: Why is it great?

R: Because I can have coffee in the morning while I listen to my lectures. If any of my lecturers are listening to this, I'm sorry. But I'm drinking coffee in your lectures, because it's nine o'clock in the morning.

M: In your pajamas.

R: No, no, I get dressed. Although there are people who have said, I'm watching this in my pajamas right now. I'm just like, God, a little bit of professionalism, please.

M: Do you have your video on?

R: Sometimes.
M: Okay, all right. Yeah. And if you study online, you can then say something about the online learning platform your university has. So the platform is quite useful, well organized. And then you can say that you do things in your own way. So yeah, you download the materials from the platform. It's kind of user friendly, or not user friendly, you can say it's horrible. So I can't just find anything there. Yeah.

R: Or you could say it's well organized and be done with it. Oh, you could say it's not well organized, actually. We need to make this a thing where people say what something is not. So they can still access this vocabulary. So yes, you could just say it's not well organized.

M: And then you have lectures, and people who deliver these lectures are called lectures. So lectures. And Rory said that lectures are the founts of knowledge.

R: Yes, that just means that's where I get information from. It's this fantastic expression, it's a font of knowledge, or they're a fount of knowledge. And really what it means is I can get information from them. Lots of information.

M: Can I say that you are a fount of knowledge or the font of knowledge for me.

R: Well, you could say that it wouldn't be very accurate, but okay. You're a fount of knowledge. You corrected me when I was going off on one saying that have to is a phrasal verb.

M: Oh my God, you just said it again.

R: Well, look, you can see why I would think that though, surely.

M: Yeah, yeah, I understand. Yeah. But it's just wrong, Rory. Okay? Don't ever say it, ever again.

R: I believe, I think I'm right. But I think I might be right for different reasons. Anyway, moving on.

M: Yeah. Could you give us an example with this fount of knowledge? When can I use it?

R: No, I can't. No, but I've given you two already. I've just said that you're a fount of knowledge, because you know, all of the stuff about grammar and the university lectures are fonts of knowledge, because they know a lot about primary teaching. Is that not enough?

M: Yes. That's enough. Okay. Thank you.

R: Thank you. Good. Okay. Let's move on.

M: About changes in your university, Rory said I could do without some of the subjects. So I could do without it. It means that okay, you can survive without it. I can do without coffee. No, I can't do without coffee. Yeah, like, what would you like to change in your university? I could do without some subjects, which are boring, right? So kind of I want to remove them. You said that some social justice aspects, what are they?

R: So I'm going to really oversimplify this because it's a big subject. So social justice is the idea that everything in society can be made more equal. Because there's some people who don't have equal access, which is not a principle I disagree with, it's just, I don't think that needs to be told to people who are going into teaching that they need to be prepared for some people who are poor, and some people who are rich and some people who are disadvantaged because they might have a disability. Like, I think this is something that most people would be aware of, I can't think of like, maybe if you're an alien from Mars, then you would know.

M: So they kind of tell you, okay, there are poor people, there are people who are rich. There are people with disabilities. They just like teach you this stuff. Okay. Interesting. All right.

R: Yeah. Well, I mean, that's not like I should say, that's the worst part. A lot of it's quite useful. Not the social justice stuff, but a lot of the more practical stuff is useful.

M: Yeah, so if you want something to be removed from your education, I could do without physical training, or I could do without philosophy, for example. When Rory gets bored, he gets mischievous or mischievous. Yes.

R: It just means that I get up to no good. That doesn't actually make it clear. It just means that I start deliberately doing things which are disruptive because it's entertaining.

M: So Rory starts getting a bit naughty. Like, you know, like leprechauns in Ireland, leprechauns who stole the gold. So they're, like, mischievous. Mischievous or mischievous. Or where do you put the stress? Or both?

R: Do you know what if I thought about it, and I am thinking about it now. I've used both. Probably, I would say, mischievous, when I'm speaking just casually, but I'd say mischievous if I wanted to put stress on the fact that I'm, this is my behavior.

M: And mischievous is something like not really bad. It's just like, a bit naughty, you know? You can say like, naughty children.

R: Cheeky.

M: Yeah, cheeky.

R: I am extremely cheeky, like, you should ask the people in my tutorial group. God, poor people.
M: Nice. Yeah. So Cambridge Dictionary says mischievous. So the stress is, yeah, on the first syllable, but yeah, I've heard people say mischievous, too. So I think if Cambridge says mischievous, then we have to say mischievous. Yeah. All right, and about getting the job in the same field. So it's kind of like in the same field, if you're in teaching, this is your field. And Rory said that I'm really looking forward to becoming a fully qualified teacher, or you can say, I'm really looking forward to becoming an IT specialist. But if you're not looking forward, you can say that, oh, I'd like to change my field. What else can we say?

R: I was gonna you're not looking forward to it, then why the hell are you studying that subject? Lke study something you like.

M: No, but sometimes use like yours, you start doing a degree and then in the middle of it, you understand, like no, there's no way I'm going to do that. But you just like, want to finish the degree and then work in some other field? I don't know.

R: That seems like phenomenal waste of time.

M: Well, yeah. But yeah, people do that. So what do I say if I won't be working in the same field, as my education.

R: Just I'm not planning on working in that field.

M: Yes. Just like that

R: I don't know. I've never really had these conversations before. I don't know why you would want to study, well, no, I have had these conversations and I used to get confused every time why someone is studying something they don't like. And of course, they'll say like, oh, it's for the money. But then it's just thinking, why are you... Why would you want to be miserable and bored with your work? I mean, you're gonna spend a long time doing this. Anyway.

M: And then you said something surplus.

R: Surplus to requirements. Surplus to requirements just means that it's extra, and it's not necessary.

M: How do you spell that?

R: Yeah, but surplus is all one word. Surplus means extra.

M: Oh, god. Okay. Surplus requirements, just like extra requirements.

R: No, no, surplus to requirements, woman.

M: Surplus to requirements. So we need like "to"?

R: Yeah.

M: Oh, boy. Give us an example. And what did you say.

R: Some of the social justice aspects of the course are surplus to requirements, or some of the lectures on the course or surplus to requirements, because most people already know how to work a computer, for example.

M: So they just extra?

R: Yeah, it's like, it's something that you have that you don't need.

M: Yeah, like philosophy.

R: What is your beef with philosophy?

M: No, because I have a degree in teaching and also like we had like useless subjects like philosophy, for example.

R: Why do I keep thinking that you have a degree in psychology?

M: No, no, it's a degree in teaching. I haven't finished my degree in psychology. I started and then I studied for about three years. And I understand that no, this is just nonsense. And it's just old, and I pay money for pretty much nothing. And I studied online. They haven't updated the materials. So it was just, you know, just useless. So yeah, I stopped doing that.

R: This, I should say, we've had this conversation at least three times, we have it once a year. Because I always think, I always forget that you have a degree in teaching. It's not in psychology. And I, someone told me once that your degree was in psychology.

M: Yeah. But this is my second degree, my first degree is in teaching. So I have like a BA in teaching, and I wanted to do a master's in psychology. So it's like I have a half of a degree. Half a degree. There we go. Yep.

R: That's insane.

M: Super educated.

R: Absolutely.

M: Right, people

R: Super educated but don't know the phrase surplus to requirements. Sorry.

M: No, because it's like surplus, surplus. It sounds really strange. And I think our listeners would agree with me.

R: Probably the phrase surplus to requirements is surplus to requirements, you could probably just say like, it's extra, like it's just stuff.

M: It sounds really bizarre. Okay?

R: But it's also a high-level collocations. So use it.

M: It is, it is, but it just sounds strange. Some words just sound strange. And maybe our listener, like if you go back and listen to Rory's answer again, you would be like, what? What...

R: Even I was struggling to remember the phrase. So I was just like, what is that word again? Or that expression?

M: Oh, yeah, yeah. You kind of hesitated. Yes.

R: Would that mean that I don't get a band nine score for hesitating.

M: Actually, yes, you might get an eight.

R: Even one time?

M: Even one time.

R: I think that's not fair. I think a native speaker would say... Native speakers forget their phrases all the time. That's not fair at all.

M: Well, educated native speakers who deserve band nine don't forget, they just know. because they're educated.

R: All of these things just come out of their mouth, and it's fine.

M: Anyway, dear listener, we've recorded several episodes about studies because this is an ongoing topic in IELTS speaking part one, so make sure that you listen to all of them, religiously. Okay? And read all the scripts. So yeah, it's a good idea to listen to other episodes because we do discuss the difference between degrees and a master's degree, a PhD and blah, blah, blah. And now we have given you even more vocabulary because now Rory is a student, a student, Rory is a student in Scotland. Anyway, thank you very much for listening! Rory, what's your final word?

R: Emm...

M: Thank you, Rory! That was informative!

R: There should be something. Hopefully, we've given you...

M: No, just send hugs and kisses.

R: No, I want to end on a pun. Hopefully, we've given you vocabulary to study. Ha! Here we go!

M: Oh boy...

R: God.

M: Bye!

R: Bye!
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