Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Do you know how long Speaking Part 3 answers should be?

You may have heard they should be about one minute.

However, there are some timing quirks about IELTS that could change this!

Listen in today for timing details on IELTS Speaking Part 3.

Today’s question

Hi, I hope this email finds you well. I have been listening to your podcast for years and found that your strategies are beneficial. However, I also found a tip from a local teacher in my country, Indonesia, which says that in speaking part 3, you need to at least speak for 1 minute long per question. Honestly, I don’t feel that the strategy is quite reliable since I have no clue which component will be affected to boost our score. Could you help me to clarify this tip?


Timing changes

We recently shared timing changes to the IELTS Speaking exam.

Examiners have to be more strict than ever about the timing of questions.

Because of this, the amount of time you have to answer might be affected.

The Examiner has to answer a certain number of questions.

In order to ask them all, they may need to stop you to ask the next question.

Fluency score

For highest fluency scores, we recommend speaking for about a minute when answering IELTS Part 3 questions.

This gives you enough time to share a lot of detail.

It allows you to show your fluency.

However, there’s not a specific amount of time required.

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Factors affecting timing

Every answer is different.

How long you speak will depend on how much you have to say!

For some answers, you won’t have as much to say.

If you try to force yourself to keep talking, you might not make sense.

You could also repeat yourself, causing your fluency score to go down.

As long as you answer the question, it is acceptable for some answers to be shorter.

Focus on the general structure of your answer.

Share your opinion or your answer to the question directly.

This should be followed by the reason for your answer or opinion.

Next you must share an example and details.

  • Formula: opinion/answer + reason + example/details

Don’t stress about time

You have a lot to think about when answering IELTS Speaking questions.

  • Vocabulary
  • Details
  • Pronunciation/intonation
  • Variety of vocabulary (idiomatic language/slang)
  • Grammar

One thing you should not be stressing about as much is how long your answer has been.

If it goes too long, the Examiner will stop you.

This does not affect your score.

In fact, it shows how fluent you are!

Focus instead on sharing lots of interesting detail.

This will show your fluency.

Time your practice answers

A good strategy when studying is to time your practice answers.

This is absolutely vital for Speaking Part 2 so you can be ready to speak the full 2 minutes.

It is also important for Part 1 and Part 3.

The more you have an idea of how long your answers are the less you’ll need to worry about it on test day.

It will build confidence to know you can speak for a minute on many different topics.


It’s vital to know what the Examiner is looking for on IELTS Speaking.

Today we share a lot of information about the Fluency score.

Rather than stressing about how long answers are, make sure you are showing your fluency.

Share a lot of detail with interesting vocabulary.

Some answers will be shorter than others, but share as much detail as possible every time.

For all the strategies you need, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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