Learning and Studying Vocabulary

English Expressions for Studying and Learning

To pick up
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To learn or understand a new concept

“Spend some time with Larry and you will pick up a few skills on how to fix a car.”

Get the knack of
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To start to understand how something is done after having spent some time learning the skill

“I am finally getting the knack of how to control these wild kids. In the beginning I didn’t have any ideas on what to do to solve the problem.”

To be ingrained in you

To be taught something for a long time so that it becomes natural for you

“It has become ingrained in the minds of our children in this country that women are not equal to men. We need to change their thinking!”

To soak it in

To observe something new with an open mind and a good attitude with the goal of learning

“I soaked in a lot of new information about healthy lifestyles at the conference last week.”

To wade through

To go forward with a difficult task, even though it is not pleasant

“I will have to wade through these boring law books tonight so I’ll be prepared for the test tomorrow.”

To skim over

To quickly look at a document or chapter in a book with the goal of finding out what the main points are

“Don’t read all of chapter 3. It is long and boring. Just skim it over and you’ll be fine.”

To sink in

To start to understand a concept or information you are trying to learn

“I am finally starting to understand how the grammar of this language works. It is beginning to sink in.”

To crack the books

To sit down and start studying

“My son needs to crack the books if he doesn’t want to fail out of college.”

To get the hang of

To get to a point where you understand how something is done and you can do it

“After a week or so you will get the hang of this new program. It takes a while to feel comfortable with it.”

To brush up on

To practice a skill that you learned in the past, but haven’t used in a while.

“We will have to brush up on our Spanish before our trip to Mexico.”

To be beyond you

To be so hard to understand that you feel lost

“Calculus is beyond me. I sit and listen to the teacher, but I don’t have any idea what he is saying.”

To be over your head

To be too difficult to understand

You need to teach the basics of chemistry to the class before trying to get them to understand the more advanced material. Right now this stuff is over their heads.

To not have the foggiest idea

To not have any idea of what the answer could be. Not even a guess.

“I don’t have the foggiest idea of why he said those mean things. It is so unlike him.”

To be clueless

To be completely uninformed about something

“When it comes to math I am clueless. I get so confused!”

No matter what level of education you are in, if you are studying ESL there are many Learning and Studying vocabulary terms you will need to know at one time or another. At Drew’s ESL Fluency Lessons, our goal is to help you understand slang terms many English-speaking students of all ages use when talking about learning and studying a variety of subjects. Here are some of the topics you may hear fellow students talk about when discussing learning, studying and education in general.

  • Reading Passage for Learning and Studying Expressions
  • Learning and Studying Terms Exercise II
  • ESL Terms for Learning Matching Worksheet
  • Listening Exercise for Learning Vocabulary