Useful Idioms for Students

Are you a student? Wouldn’t it be nice to spice up your English with some useful idioms for students that you can use at school, at the university or when talking to your friends about school and studying for the school subjects.

There are some useful idioms related to school and learning. We can hear these idioms from our teachers at school in our English classes or use them ourselves. These are idioms for students or for someone who is studying a language, learning a new subject, etc. But it is possible to use these idioms in other areas of our lives too.

Take a look at the list of idioms below which you can use when talking about school, studying and learning. First read the example sentences, and make a guess about the meaning of the idiom. Then, read the definition.

Which ones did you already know? How many of them are new to you?

crystal clear

Example sentences:

Trigonometry is not a problem for me anymore. I can understand almost all of the questions with my Maths teacher’s crystal clear explanations.

The instructions for the activity were not crystal clear, we were a little confused, and didn’t know what to do next.

We learned the Present Perfect Tense today. It was difficult to understand but our teacher explained it very well and made it crystal clear to us.


very easy to understand

(be) all ears

Example sentences:

Everybody in the class was all ears when the teacher said “This is going to be in the exam.”

Teacher: Are you listening to me? This is important.
Carol: Yes, I’m all ears.

The teacher was reading a story about a monkey with a puppet and all the children were all ears. I think, they really enjoyed it.

Please be all ears now. I will explain the answer again.

Definition: to listen very carefully, to pay attention to what you are listening

have / get butterflies in one’s stomach

Example sentences:

I always have butterflies in my stomach before the exams.

Mayla gets butterflies in her stomach everytime she needs to give a presentation in front of her classmates.

Bernard had butterflies in his stomach when the teacher called his name to answer the question.

Definition: to feel very nervous before doing something

burn the midnight oil

Example sentences:

I will burn the midnight oil every night till the end of mid-term exams.

She burned the midnight oil last night to finish the assignment.

Alissa has been burning the midnight oil for her presentation tomorrow.


to stay up very late working or studying 

at the eleventh hour

Example sentences:

Matthew sent his assignment at the eleventh hour.

Liadan finished her homework at the eleventh hour.

He made changes on the project at the eleventh hour.


Very late or at the latest  possible time