Today you’ll learn high-scoring idioms and slang.

These all have the word “minute.”

They’re perfect to use on your next IELTS Speaking Exam.

Take a hot minute to listen, learn and enjoy improving your IELTS score.

These idioms and slang phrases boost your Vocabulary score.

On IELTS Speaking, you must use idiomatic language!

#1: It’s been a minute

This means it’s been a long time.

On Speaking Part 1, if you’re asked:

How often do you exercise?

How often do you go to the cinema?

To be honest, it’s been a minute since I actually went to the gym!

If you’re asked whether you keep in touch with friends from childhood.

It’s been a minute since I talked to any friends from when I was a kid!

#2: For a minute, I thought…

This means a short time.

It’s not an actual minute, so it’s still idiomatic.

For a minute, I thought it was Tuesday and then I realized it’s Friday.

On Part 2, use it if you’re asked what you wanted to be when you grew up.

For a minute, I wanted to be a cowboy, but then I decided I didn’t want to smell horses all day.

If you’re asked about a party, use this.

When I first showed up, for a minute I thought this was going to boring!

#3: Hot minute

This means a short amount of time.

It’s used to emphasize how quickly something happens.

We often hear it used about fashion trends.

Scrunchies will be popular for a hot minute, and then they’ll be out of fashion again.

Use this anytime you think something won’t be popular long!

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#4: New York minute

This means very fast!

New Yorkers are busy and waste no time.

Similarly, something done in a New York minute is done very quickly and efficiently!

I didn’t have much time, so I grabbed coffee in a New York minute!

Use this anytime you want to say you did something very quickly.

#5: Not a minute too soon

This means something happens at the last minute before events went wrong.

It happened right when it happened, and if it happened any later it would’ve been a problem.

I caught the bus, but not a minute too soon!

It pulled up right as I got to the bus stop, and I almost missed it!

#6: Not for a minute

This means never.

It is used with stative verbs.

  • Think
  • Want
  • Feel

Not for a minute did I think that social media would be healthy for society.

Not for a minute did I think I would get a 5 on IELTS!

Not for a minute did I want to stay in my hometown after high school.

Use this instead of saying ‘never’ to boost your Vocabulary score!

#7: There’s a sucker born every minute

We use this when someone has been a ‘sucker.’

  • sucker: a fool, someone who believes something they shouldn’t

If someone gets duped or scammed, we say this about them.

On Part 3, if you’re asked about the spread of disinformation.

You might be asked, “Why do people believe everything they see online?”

You know, there’s a sucker born every minute! Whatever is put out there, someone’s going to believe it.

This is great to use when talking about conspiracy theories.

I don’t buy into it, but, surprisingly, people do. There’s a sucker born every minute!


There are a myriad of expressions in English using the word ‘minute.’

They can be confusing, because it’s the same word and some of these have opposing meanings.

Don’t get confused, and don’t let these trip you up!

These idioms can help you meet the idiomatic language requirement on IELTS Speaking.

Add a few to your vocabulary notebook!

Practice using them right away!

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

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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