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How long should my answers be?


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So, for questions like "Tell me about yourself" or "Why this program?" or even "Tell me about your research background," how long should my answer be? When I practice my answers out loud, the "Tell me about yourself" one ends up around 20-30 seconds. I go a "One word that best describes me" approach, and give broad examples. For "Why this program?," my answer clocks in at around 15-40 seconds (depends on with whom I am speaking, as they don't always know all that I expect the POI to know). And my answers to other questions are normally pretty concise. Also, I try not to rehearse my responses word for word, so they vary there too. 


Any suggestions on length of answer to some of the more common/expected questions? 


Thanks for all your help, everyone!

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Hi! So, I wouldn't really worry too much about the time it takes you to get through an answer vs. making sure you are clear, confident and consistent.  I just got back from a day of eight 30-min interviews and sometimes I would have to talk a little more about why I ended up in my current interests, which went well over a minute.  A longer answer is fine if it makes sense :) A good way to practice is to explain what you do to a family member, colleague or friend.  They can tell you if you made sense to them, which is a great sign.


You will do great!   

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