Education Jargon Buster
Posted by: Dale Godfrey - 16 September 2021 - MPW Group - Read time: 4 Minutes
There are many acronyms and terms that are unique to the UK education sector, which are often used without explanation and can be difficult to understand. We’ve compiled the below guide to help explain and elaborate them, broken up into Acronyms and Terminology used at MPW, University terms, UCAS terms, and general education terms.
MPW Acronyms and Terminology
MPW – Mander Portman Woodward, the surnames of MPW’s three founders.
NCUK – Northern Consortium United Kingdom, 16 UK universities offering guaranteed progression to international students via their foundation programme.
KSS – Kensington Student Services, a specialist accommodation agency providing accommodation exclusively to MPW students.
IFY – International Foundation Year, an NCUK preparatory course for international students prior to university studies.
IFP – International Foundation Programme, a University of London preparatory course for international students prior to university studies.
UFP – University Foundation Programme, MPW’s preparatory course for international students prior to university studies.
UoL – University of London.
DoS – Director of Studies, assigned to every MPW student, supervise students’ academic progress, university applications and general welfare – also referred to as a Personal Tutor.
(Subject) Tutor – teaches you a specific subject, not to be confused with a personal tutor.
TAs – Timed Assignments, are usually of one hour’s duration and are designed to test the understanding of work covered during the previous week in each subject.
EPQ – Extended Project Qualification is designed to teach you how to plan, research and deliver a project.
Easter Revision – is an intensive revision programme offered by MPW during the Easter Holiday, covering (I)GCSE and A level topics.
BSc – Bachelor of Sciences, an undergraduate degree awarded at universities. BSc degrees typically focus on a science-based subject, such as Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and even Business.
BA – Bachelor of Arts, an undergraduate degree awarded at universities. BA degrees typically explore theoretical ideas and subjects include English Literature, English Language, Linguistics and Philosophy.
BEng – Bachelor of Engineering, an undergraduate degree awarded at universities. BENG degrees cover engineering topics such as Acoustical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
LLB – Legum Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Laws), an undergraduate degree in Law awarded at universities.
LLM – Legum Magister (Master of Laws), a postgraduate degree in Law awarded at universities.
MA – Master of Arts, a postgraduate degree awarded at universities. MA degrees are usually based on topics that explore theoretical ideas.
MSc – Masters of Sciences, a postgraduate degree awarded at universities. MSc degrees typically focus on a science-based subject.
PGCE – Postgraduate Certificate in Education is a is a one or two-year higher education course which allows graduates to become teachers within maintained schools.
PhD – Doctor of Philosophy, is awarded after having done advanced research into a particular subject.
DTh – Doctor of Theology, is awarded after having done advanced research in theology.
DEng – Doctor of Engineering, is awarded after having done advanced research in engineering.
Oxon – Oxoniensis, a graduate of Oxford University.
Cantab – Cantabrigian, a graduate of Cambridge University.
Oxbridge – the collective phrase for both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
Russell Group – refers to a collection of 24 public research universities in the UK.
UCAS – Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, the organisation that handles most university applications to UK universities.
Personal Statement – The section within your UCAS application where you describe why you are suitable for your chosen course.
Firm Choice – is an offer that you accept as your first choice.
Insurance Choice – is an offer that you accept as your second choice – just in case you don’t meet the conditions of your firm choice.
Conditional Offer – is an offer of a place to study on a course, subject to specific conditions, i.e. achieving particular grades.
Unconditional Offer – is an offer of a place to study on a course, without any conditions.
Extra – if, after making five choices and receiving no offers, Extra is the service you can use to apply for alternative places.
Adjustment – allows you to apply for a different course or university if you’ve exceeded the conditions of your existing firm offer.
Clearing – if you didn’t receive any offers, declined your offers, didn’t get the grades you needed or were late to the application process, Clearing is a UCAS service that allows you to search and apply for courses that still have vacancies.
At MPW, we have created a guide on ‘How to Complete your UCAS Application‘ packed with insider knowledge to demystify the whole process for you.
General Education Terms
Sixth form – the two school years for students, typically aged between 16 and 18, who are studying A levels. These two school years are often referred to as Years 12 and 13.
Fifth form – the fifth year of secondary school in England, students are typically aged 15-16. This school year is often referred to as Year 11.
A levels – Advanced level qualifications (A levels) are subject-based qualifications in the UK for students (typically) aged 16 and above.
GCSE – General Certificate of Secondary Education, these are the qualifications achieved in the UK, usually at the age of 15-16, at the end of Year 11 studies.
IGCSE – International General Certificate of Secondary Education, these are the international version of GCSEs and are available in many countries around the world, including international schools in the UK.
Extra Tuition – also referred to as Supplementary, Private, One-to-one, Individual or Support Tuition, this involves coaching on GCSE or A level topics between one student and a tutor.
Academic Year – refers to the period of time which schools, colleges and universities use to measure the length of study – usually beginning in September and ending in June.
Term – an academic year is usually split into terms, with an Autumn Term running September to December, a Spring Term running January to March, and a Summer Term running April to June.
Cohort – a cohort is a group of students who studied at the same time.
IELTS – stands for International English Language Testing System is an English language proficiency test for higher education.
VLE – Virtual Learning Environment, a web-based platform that hosts study materials and the digital aspects of teaching.
CIFE – the Council for Independent Education, a group of independent colleges that deliver the highest standard of sixth form education.
ISI – Independent Schools Inspectorate, a government-approved inspector of independent schools.
ISA – Independent Schools Association, the registered charity that represents the Heads/Principals of 569 of the UK’s best independent schools.
BSA – Boarding Schools’ Association, represents member boarding schools, provides staff training and promotes boarding education across the world
Ofsted – the Office for Standards in Education, a government department responsible for inspecting educational institutions.