IELTS A Situation When You Didn’t Have Enough Time: Study the sample monologue below and the questions in part 3. Learn how the speaker developed his monologue and how he discussed answers in part 3. Understand how the speaker used collocations or topic words in his answers. 





Describe a situation when you didn’t have enough time

You should say:

When it was

What you tried to do or finish

Where you were

And explain why you didn’t have time



I lead a busy life since I work as a nurse and at the same time a full-time mom to my two children. There are many occasions that I run out of time finishing my work in the house or completing errands, but let me tell you the time when I really wished that the universe would stop time for at least a few minutes so I could finish preparing all the food for my son’s birthday.


Last year, me and my husband wanted to surprise our son on his seventh natal day by preparing all of his favorite foods. The day before his birthday, my husband and I already planned a big birthday surprise for him and we decided to do it during dinner time since both of us needed to work during the day.



Lead a  busy life [expression] – used to describe what life someone has

Run out of time [phrase] – to have no more time

Errands [noun] – tasks; chores

Natal day [noun] – another term for a birthday



i.) FIRST PARAGRAPH: The speaker started her story by giving the examiner background information about what kind of life she had. (This is important since the topic is about ‘not having enough time’ so it is just right to state this fact.). Then after, she immediately gave her answer.


ii.) SECOND PARAGRAPH: In this part, she explained the situation supporting her answer in the first paragraph. This is the best part of the story to develop the foundation of the whole story. This would give the examiner an idea of what the story would be. Giving primary details to support the first paragraph should be done on this part immediately.


My husband agreed with me that I would prepare all the foods, although he was having second thoughts knowing that I was busy but I insisted since I wanted to make our son be in seventh heaven eating his favorite dishes prepared by his loving mom.


Anyway, on the day of my son’s birthday, I was really busy at the hospital so I ended up working until 2 PM when in fact, I was supposed to finish at one in the afternoon, so I hurriedly went back home as fast as lightning and arrived thirty minutes after. Then I started preparing my son’s favorite dishes such as spaghetti, fried chicken, and vegetable salad – my son is a big fan of vegetables like me and chocolate chip cookies. All the foods were successfully and neatly prepared except for cookies.



Have second thoughts [phrase] – to doubt

Insist [verb] – to make a firm stand; be resolute

In seventh heaven [phrase] – to be very happy; overjoyed

End up [phrase] – to reach or come to a situation

As fast as lightning [idiom] – to be very quickly

A big fan [expression] – to like very much



i.) THIRD PARAGRAPH: This is only the supporting details of the second paragraph for a better understanding of the story.


ii.) FOURTH PARAGRAPH: The speaker transitioned (by using ‘anyway’) to start talking about why she didn’t have enough time. This is the crucial part as this is what the question is about. The speaker addressed this very clearly.



While I was kneading the dough for chocolate cookies, I lost track of the time that it was about time that my family would arrive. I was panicking that I really wanted to stop time so I could finish. Then our doorbell rang, I was a bit upset since my family had come home and I couldn’t do anything to complete the baking. Instead of frowning, I just opened the door and greeted my son with a happy birthday and hugged him so tightly. He was very happy and his smile made me feel at ease. Although I couldn’t bake the cookies on time, my effort still paid off after seeing my son devouring the food happily.


Knead [verb] – work into the dough by moistening the flour using hands

Dough [noun] – flour mixed with water

Lost track of time [idiom] – to forget the time

Upset [adj.] – disappointed; unhappy

Frowning [noun] – displeasure

At ease [phrase] – relaxed or calm

Pay off [phrase] – succeed; yield good outcomes

Devour [verb] – to eat hungrily or quickly



i.) LAST PARAGRAPH: In this part, the speaker emphasized talking about the thing that she couldn’t finish because she didn’t have any time. Previously, she talked about not being able to finish baking cookies. This is the part where she talked about the supplemental details to the idea she gave in the third paragraph.


ii.) The last line of this paragraph is a conclusive statement of her story. She gave her realization to that experience. Such a very good way to end the story.




Do people in your country value time?


Yes definitely, we all share the same mentality that time is money. We believe that one should never waste time as wasting time means wasting an opportunity. This kind of thinking has rooted in our culture which for me is something that we all should be proud of.


It is rare to see someone in my country who disregards time. For instance, in a business situation people always arrive ten or fifteen minutes before the set time of appointment, this is to give importance to the business counterparts and to show respect and responsibility.


In casual meetings like seeing friends, we always make it a point to come at least five minutes early, if in case we cannot avoid tardiness, we make effort to inform them in advance. I could not be prouder of this culture and I hope that this will be cultivated even in the next generation.




Mentality [noun] – way of thinking; the psychology of…

(has) rooted [verb] – establish deeply and firmly

Disregard [verb] – ignore; pay not attention

(Business) counterpart [noun] – a person who has the same position or purpose as another who works in a different organization

Tardiness [noun] – being late

I could not be prouder [expression] – to be very proud

Cultivate [verb] – to develop more



i.) The introduction is straightforward – the speaker did not paraphrase and answered immediately why people in his country think that they give importance to time. He used the old saying, ‘Time is money’ then elaborated his answer by giving a better explanation.

ii.) In order to make his answer be understood better, he connected his answer to the culture that their country has in terms of valuing time plus giving examples. This makes his answer organized and well discussed. When you discuss your answer in Part 3, always make things straightforward and easy to understand that it supports your argument.


Is time management important?


Without question, it is more than necessary because it helps people organize the things that they have to do in their respective lives. When there is time management, they can surely finish their task or work without any pressure or stress and they can always attain peace of mind. That itself is a precious product of time management. Also, the ability to manage time effectively can make people go a long way and I am living proof of that since I have been successful by far in life because I always make effort to manage my time. I cannot thank my parents enough for teaching me the importance of time management.


Without question [phrase]  – without doubt; definitely

Pressure [noun] – insistence; compulsion

Peace of mind [noun] – being calm & quiet

Living proof [noun] – when you say that someone is living proof, you mean that the person sets a good example of something

Go a long way [expression] – to be successful

I can’t thank (someone) enough [expression] – used to express gratitude or appreciativeness to someone




i.) The speaker varied his answer by not only using the common direct answer like ‘Yes – No’, but he also used an alternative way of saying ‘yes’ and that is ‘without question’. This sounds really natural and he proved to the examiner that his vocabulary knowledge is not limited. As an IELTS test taker, try your best to not repeat the same expressions over and over again.


ii.) More than necessary → another way of saying very important


iii.) The speaker answered this question by giving the examiner a possible situation on why time management is important and what people can get if they value time management. Also, he considered himself as an example of his argument that best proved that when people manage time, they can be successful. The technique in Part 3 is to always make sure that your discussion is enough and it won’t make the examiner wonder but understand clearly.


What are the effective ways to manage time?


I believe it varies from person to person, I cannot give an answer that fits for everyone since it depends on the lifestyle or the work a person has. I can only speak for parents since I am one. As you know, parents are oftentimes have a hectic schedule, so time management is always a challenge.


However, it is always possible to manage time by setting a schedule in advance and diligently following it. If a parent does not have any set schedule for doing all the house chores, his house will be cluttered and that is not inviting to visitors.


I am sure that some people practice some best ways to achieve time management, however, to be honest, that is the only way I can think of.



Vary from person to person [expression] – another way to say ‘it depends on the person’

Hectic [adj.]  – restless

Diligently [adv.] – careful and spending much effort

Clutter [verb] – make untidy




i.) The speaker was very honest in answering this question. Yes, I agree with the speaker that ‘it depends on the person’. There are ways that work well with others but not with you. So since he couldn’t give an answer that would fit all, he instead talked about the ways that parents did to achieve time management. Since he is also a parent, it’s very easy for him to discuss the best way since he also practices it in his life. His answer is really natural!


ii.) The speaker ended his answer by acknowledging that there are other effective ways but he could only talk about the ways that parents did. TAKE NOTE: The question is asking him ‘ways’ so he has to provide plural or more than one way BUT remember this if you cannot think of another answer, better use the technique which the speaker used. Acknowledge that there are other ways but it’s just that you can’t think of another one. That is alright, it’s not all the time that you can think of another answer. Be confident doing that and don’t be anxious.  



Do you think time management plays an important role to succeed in life?


Yes, it does being able to manage time means being responsible. Time management is a form of self-discipline since one is obligated to follow the schedule he has set to finish his work or fulfill his goal. Most successful people in the world understand that, as they themselves manage their time more effectively. Bill Gates is a very good example of this, every day he follows a routine to be productive and never wastes a single time as ordinary people do often in their lives.

So, I believe most successful people have very good time management skills and that is one factor that unsuccessful people do not have.




Self-discipline [noun] – the ability to control oneself

Obligate [verb] – oblige; commit

Fulfill [verb] – carry out; accomplish



i.) The speaker answered philosophically and realistically. His answer is being thought deeply which is practical. Also, he provided a realistic example that would support his argument. Then ended his answer with a realization by comparing the difference between successful and unsuccessful people.



And that’s all about IELTS Situation When You Didn’t Have Enough Time recent topic! I hope this post will give you an idea of how to better your answer. Good luck and ace your exam! 


Also, don’t forget to practice the RECENT TOPIC in IELTS PART 1 ABOUT SUNGLASSES on this link


Meaning of Words and Phrases Sources: Collins, Macmillan, Cambridge, Oxford

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