Researchers at the University of Oxford found that among 1,000 patients, one third had delayed seeking medical attention for more than 24 hours.
68% of TIA patients and 69% of minor stroke patients didn't know the cause of their symptoms.
Participants frequently failed to recognise when they were having a minor stroke and therefore failed to seek immediate medical care.
The researchers added that people of all demographics showed an overall lack of awareness of how to recognise a stroke.
Although TIAs and minor strokes don't usually cause permanent harm, early treatment is vital to reducing the chance of a more serious stroke.
The findings ‘indicate a lack of public awareness that TIA is a medical emergency,' researcher Arvind Chandratheva said.
"There has been very little sustained public education, but for a prolonged impact, sustained national campaigns are required," he said.