Education and School Idioms and Quizzes

Education and School Idiom Quiz #1

cartoon of two students studying at a table

Quiz 1 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score and the correct answers at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

1. The teacher (got no response) from the students when she asked the question.
a)   took attendance
b)   filled in the blanks
c)   drew a blank
d)   cracked a book

2. The government is spending much money on (university and college education).
a)   the three R's
b)   show-and-tell
c)   the old boy network
d)   higher education

3. The final exam was (very easy) and everybody passed easily.
a)   off campus
b)   as easy as ABC
c)   back to basics
d)   from the old school

4. I decided to (study hard) for the final exam.
a)   make the grade
b)   call the roll
c)   hit the books
d)   know my ABCs

5. I was supposed to go to school today but I decided (not to go).
a)   to learn by rote
b)   to live in an ivory tower
c)   to have my nose in a book
d)   to play hooky

Your score is: ___  out of 5

Education and School Idiom Quiz #2

cartoon of a teacher at a blackboard

Quiz 2 - Choose the correct idiom to replace the expression in the brackets. Check your score and the correct answers at the bottom. Click on the idiom for the definition.

6. I received (recognition for my effort) in my attempt to write a short story.
a)   an A for effort
b)   a show of hands
c)   a cap and gown
d)   an eager beaver

7. I was able to (receive official recognition for) the math course that I took last summer.
a)   cover a lot of ground for
b)   get credit for
c)   take the roll for
d)   get through

8. I was asked to (read all of the book) before the next class.
a)   learn the book by heart
b)   publish or perish
c)   read through the book
d)   read the book out loud

9. I worked hard all weekend to (write a paper) for my history class.
a)   crank out a paper
b)   meet the requirements
c)   pass with flying colors
d)   brainstorm

10. I spent most of the morning (reading a book).
a)   on campus
b)   goofing off
c)   counting noses
d)   with my nose in a book

Your score is: ___  out of 5

Education and School Idioms

cartoon of two students in a classroom

an A for effort

- the recognition that someone has tried hard to do something even though he or she may not be successful

The students received an A for effort for their work on the class project.

above average

- better or higher than average

The boy's marks were above average in all subjects except history.

as easy as ABC

- very easy

Learning how to use a computer is as easy as ABC for the children.

back to basics

- an approach in education that uses traditional ideas or methods that have been successful in the past

The teacher believes that back to basics is important in her classroom and the parents are happy with the results.

below average

- worse or lower than average

Most members of the class were below average in the math test.


- someone who reads a lot

My sister is a bookworm and is always reading a book.

brainstorm (something)

- to try to develop an idea or think of new ideas

The students got into groups to brainstorm ideas for the school play.

call the roll

- to call the names of students on a roll and expect them to answer if they are there

Every morning when the class starts the teacher calls the roll.

cap and gown

- the special cap called a mortarboard and the robe that is worn during academic ceremonies such as graduation

All of the students wore a cap and gown to the graduation ceremony.

catch up to (someone or something)

- to move fast or work hard to reach someone or something that is ahead of you

After my illness, I had to study very hard to catch up to the rest of the class.


- someone who copies the work of another

The children called the girl a copycat when they saw her copying the test of another student.

count noses

- to count the number of people

The teacher stopped to count noses several times during the field trip.

cover a lot of ground

- to complete a lot of material in a class or course

We covered a lot of ground during the first month of the science class.

cow college

- a school where farming or agriculture is studied

My cousin will go to a cow college when he finishes high school.

crack a book

- to open a book to study (usually used in the negative)

I did very well in the course even though I did not crack a book until the last week of classes.

crank out a paper

- to write a paper or essay in a mechanical way

I had to crank out a paper almost every week to pass the course.

cut class

- to not go to class

I decided to cut class in order to study for my geography test.

draw a blank

- to get no response from someone when you ask him or her a question

The teacher drew a blank when she asked about the boy's plans for the weekend.

drop out of school

- to stop attending school

My friend dropped out of school and began to drive a truck.

eager beaver

- someone who works very hard and is very enthusiastic

The young girl is an eager beaver and always comes to class before the other students.

educated guess

- a guess that is based on one's knowledge or facts or evidence so the guess is probably correct

The science teacher asked the students to take an educated guess to find the correct answer.

It is difficult to know how much the new stadium will cost but we can at least make an educated guess.

fill in the blanks

- to supply the missing words or information on a test or other exercise

We had to fill in the blanks for the questions on the test.

flunk out

- to fail a course, to fail and then leave school

The boy was very smart but he flunked out of his language class.

from the old school

- ideas that were popular in the past but which are no longer popular or common

My grandmother is from the old school and always made her children make their own lunches and walk to school.

get credit for (a course)

- to receive official recognition and credits after passing a course

I was able to get credit for the course which I took in the summer.

get through (a course or a set of materials)

- to finish a course or a set of materials

The boy was a very good student and got through every course that he took.

goof off

- to waste time

My sister spent most of the week goofing off and was not prepared for her test.

have one's nose in a book

- to be reading a book

The boy loves to read and always has his nose in a book.

higher education

- education after graduating from high school (usually college or university)

The government has recently invested a lot of money in higher education.

hit the books

- to begin to study hard

After relaxing all weekend I hit the books on Sunday evening.

honor roll

- a list of people or students with exceptional achievements

My neighbor was on the honor roll during his last year in high school.

in pen

- written or signed with a pen

The teacher asked the students to make sure that they wrote the essay in pen.

in pencil

- written or signed with a pencil

I wrote the test in pencil so that I could change my answers easily.

Ivy League

- a small group of older and famous eastern United States colleges and universities such as Harvard and Yale and Princeton

Several of the company executives went to an Ivy League school.

know one's ABCs

- to know the alphabet or the most basic things about something

The students worked hard and everyone knew their ABCs very well.

learn (something) by heart

- to memorize something so that you can repeat it without thinking

The children learned all of the songs by heart for the school play.

learn (something) by rote

- to learn or memorize something without thinking about it

We learned many verbs by rote in the foreign language class.

live in an ivory tower

- to not be aware of the realities of everyday life

The university professor lived in an ivory tower and had no idea what was going on around him.

make the grade

- to be satisfactory and of an expected level

My final assignment did not make the grade and I had to do it again.

meet the requirements for/of (something)

- to fulfill the requirements for/of something

The young woman was unable to meet the requirements to enter medical school.

off campus

- at a different location than the grounds of a college or university

Many of the students liked to go to a restaurant off campus.

old boy network

- the situation where people (usually men) who went to the same school help each other get good jobs

It was necessary to be part of an old boy network to get a job at the law firm.

on campus

- located on the grounds of a college or university

There was a bank on campus which many of the students used.

pass with flying colors

- to pass something easily and with a high score

I was able to pass the science test with flying colors.

play hooky

- to not go to school when you should

The boys played hooky and went to the video game center for the afternoon.

publish or perish

- university professors often have to publish books or articles in journals or they will not be successful in their jobs at the university

The university professor wrote many scientific papers. He was forced to publish or perish.

put one's thinking cap on

- to start thinking in a serious manner

The boy put on his thinking cap and tried to think of a new name for the school newspaper.

read out loud

- to read something so that other people can hear you

The students each had a chance to read out loud from the book of poems.

read to oneself

- to read without saying anything so that other people cannot hear you

I spent the morning in the library reading to myself.

read through (something)

- to read all of something

I read through the test briefly before I started to answer the questions.

school of hard knocks

- the ordinary experience of learning from work and daily life

The girl left school early and began to learn about life in the school of hard knocks.

school of thought

- a particular way or philosophy of thinking about something

There are many schools of thought about how to learn a foreign language.


- in the lower grades of elementary school children bring something interesting to show to the rest of the class

The little girl brought in a turtle shell to show-and-tell at school.

show of hands

- a raising of hands in a classroom or other group to vote or see what people think about something

After a show of hands the class voted to go on a field trip next week.

single file

- a line with one person standing behind another person

The students lined up single file before they entered the auditorium.

take attendance

- to record the names of persons who are attending school or something similar

After our teacher took attendance we began to do our math lesson.

take the roll

- to call the names of students in an attendance book and expect them to answer if they are there

The teacher took the roll and then we started the lesson.

teach one's grandmother to suck eggs

- to try to tell or teach something to someone who knows more than you do about it

Teaching some of the students how to use a computer is like teaching my grandmother to suck eggs. Most of them know more than I do.

teach someone a lesson

- to do something to someone in order to punish him or her for their bad behavior

My friend is always late so I taught her a lesson and left our meeting place before she had arrived.

teacher's pet

- the teacher's favorite student

My sister was always the teacher's pet at her school.

three R's

- the three basic skills for a basic education (reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic)

My father studied in a small country school where they studied the three R's.


- the relations (often bad) between a town and the university and university students who are located in that town

There were some town-and-gown conflicts when the graduation parties began in the small town.

university of life

- the daily life and work where you learn more than from going to university

My grandfather began to work on the family farm when he was fourteen and learned everything from the university of life.

work one's way through college

- to work at a job to help pay for your college or university expenses

My brother worked his way through college at the local supermarket.