How Long Does It Take To Complete A Survey In 2023?

Suppose you are on a lunch break and got an email from a company’s customer service team you have just purchased a washing machine, and now they want you to give your feedback by filling out a survey. 

As soon as you open the survey link, you realize that the questionnaire is 50 questions long with ten open-ended answers.

According to Survicate, the average completion rate drops to 65.15% in 4-8 questions surveys. So expecting a person would complete a 50 questions survey is senseless.

So how many questions should you add and how long will it take to finish the survey?

The tricky part is that there is no accurate way to find how much time it takes to complete a survey and every business uses the length that’s right for them.

However, by using some tricks, you can easily calculate the duration of a survey.


How to Calculate a Survey Duration?

How to Calculate a Survey Duration

As we have said earlier, there’s no reliable method to estimate the length of a survey mainly because questions themselves vary widely in length, and it is not possible to calculate the exact time it takes to respond to a survey. 

However, as per the most commonly used research method, the estimated duration to complete a survey is 3-4 questions per minute.

If your survey has grid questions, each row on the grid should be counted as an individual question.


Let’s say a survey contains ten grid rows, this equates to 10 questions that will take a respondent approximately 2.5 to 3 minutes to complete before moving towards the next question.  

Read: 10 Best Survey For Money Sites That Pay Real Money

Also Read: How Do Survey Sites Work?

Methods to Calculate the Length of a Survey

Methods to Calculate the Length of a Survey

Here are some alternate methods to calculate the survey length of a survey: 

  1. Method No1: (W/5 + Q*5 +(D-Q) *2 + T*15)/60

This is probably one of the most accurate methods to find how long it takes to complete a survey.

It is a bit time-consuming but allows you to calculate the length of an English survey within a few minutes. So here’s how it works:

  • Word Count (W)

Calculate the total word count of the questionnaire, including questions, options, and instructions, and also make sure to exclude the coding instructions.

  • Number of Questions (Q)

Count the total number of questions and also give each question 4 seconds of general thinking time and 1 second of navigation time. 

  • Total Number of Decisions (D)

Count the total number of decisions an average participant has to make while answering the survey and allow 2 seconds of thinking time per decision. Here’s is how you do it:

Single choice question= 1 decision.

Multiple choice question=0.5 of a decision per option.

Grids= 1 decision per row.

  • Open-Ended Questions (T)

Sum the total number of open-ended questions a respondent has to answer and allow 15 seconds for each question.

So on average, people take 15 seconds to answer the open-ended question, but this may vary depending on the difficulty level of the question. 

  1. Method No 2: (W/5 + R*1.8)/60

The second method is quite simple but still provides the closest estimate of the survey length. Just calculate the word count (W) and the total number of row options (R) of the questionnaire and apply the formula given above.

  1. Method No 3: (W/150)

Though we highly recommend using the above two methods for a more accurate estimate, if you are short on time to count the number of questions and rows, this method will give you a rough guess of the length of a survey. Simply count the number of words and divide it by 150. 

Also Read: How To Watch Out For Scam Paid Surveys Sites

How Long Does It Take To Complete A Survey?

Number of questionsAverage second spent per questionTotal time it takes to complete the survey
1751 min 15 sec
2402 min
3-10302-5 min
11-15255-7 min
16-25217-9 min
26-30199-10 min


How To Shorten Survey Length?

How To Shorten Survey Length

Let us have a look at some effective ways in which you can shorten survey length:

1. Eliminate redundancy

No one likes reading and answering the same question or question that prompts the same answer again & again. Redundancy can lead to survey drop-out.

So make sure you read your questions and eliminate any unnecessary or redundant questions.

2. Identify your goal

A good survey calls for clarity on your part. Make sure you know what is the purpose of your survey and what you want to achieve from it.

Knowing this will help you in framing questions that support your goal.

3. Opt for iconography

Most of us have a very low attention span, and it gets tiring to read long texts, which can directly affect the survey quality.

So instead of using long texts, opt for iconography for a better response. Research shows our brains can process visual content 60,000 times faster than any text.

So by incorporating pictures, icons, etc., you can improve your survey quality.

4. Use Routing

Routing is a very smart method that helps you in adapting the survey according to the respondent’s answers.

For example: if the respondent is not familiar with a particular brand, then the survey will skip the question automatically.

Research tells us that Routing can make a respondent complete a survey by 200%. 2

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What is the Relationship Between Survey Length & Dropout Rate?

What is the Relationship Between Survey Length & Dropout Rate

People these days do not have the patience to finish long surveys. It is hard to keep them hooked as it is owing to their short attention span.

And now you have more distractions to compete with. The biggest of them being their cell phones.

Very few people take surveys sitting alone at their desks. Most of them would take out their mobile phones and would fill in the survey using it.

As such, you have a lot to compete with. Notifications and messages on their phone, a crying toddler, and a friendly neighbor, among others.

This is why it is essential to keep the length of the survey no more than 10-12 minutes. A longer survey will not keep them engaged and might lead to a high dropout rate.

Wrapping Up

So the length of the survey affects the completion rate to a very large extent.

Hence, make sure the number of questions you put isn’t a lot and not redundant. This will help you in reducing the dropout rate to a good extent.

We hope this guide on How Long Does It Take To Complete a Survey was helpful to you.


When is it appropriate to take a longer survey?

As a golden approach, a survey shouldn’t be more than 10-12 minutes long. A longer survey can bore the respondent and may lead to an increased dropout rate.

However, if the topic of your research requires you to ask more questions, then a longer survey is ok.

How Long Should a Survey Be?

As mentioned earlier, an acceptable length of the survey is 10-12 minutes. And the shorter your survey is, the better quality of responses you will get.

How long does it take to finish a survey with 30 questions?

A survey that has 30-35 questions in it will take approximately 15 minutes to finish.

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