I just submitted my thesis on 26th March, feeling very reluctant to open my thesis for now.
I would like to know/learn from other people's experiences:
about how long after submitting your thesis do you re-open it and start preparing the viva?
Namely, what is the length of a normal break after first submission?
I dont want to take a break for too long but I do feel so lazy at the moment....
Then i realize it may need minor revision.
After further reading over the weeks, the thought of major revision emerged...
And i feel that i am smarter after the submission of thesis.
Because i can spot more errors in my thesis now; realize the problem of flow etc...
Maybe my mind is more clear when the stress is lesser.
Maybe it helps to reduce the time for revision later...
in a sense, one may prepare viva in a relaxed way by slowly re-reading your thesis again...
But it is also good to enjoy a holiday trip say Hawaii :-)
Personally I gave myself a few weeks grace and then got back into it.. do you know when your viva date is? I had almost a 2 month gap between submission and viva so I was able to have a little breather. The 2-4 weeks before the viva I did my most work, I looked online to find examples of the most commonly asked questions and then typed up all my responses to those, and also other questions that arose in the mini-viva I had with my supervisors.
I wrote (in note form) a summary of the whole thesis, and also a summary of each chapter to refresh it all my mind, and also noted how I would address any methodological issues that came up. I also did a quick lit search to check on any new literature that had come up in the field that I should be aware of. I also made sure I knew the methods and findings of the key articles/theorists in my thesis that I referred to often. I also did a bit of reading of papers my examiners had done (slightly different fields) to make sure I was aware of their research background and recent research outputs.... I also went on a week holiday to spain the week before my viva (arrived back on the Friday and viva on the Monday!!) Took my thesis with me on holiday and read by the pool on 2 days of the 7 which was actually quite nice ... I also made sure I had a nice outfit for the viva. and knew exactly where it was, so I could plan ahead on the day. Good luck!!
I have no idea when my viva will be yet! I have been told it is likely to be held in June, but they haven't decided the date yet. Thank you for your very thoughtful suggestions, you have covered all the points (from summary of the thesis to the outfit)!!! I will definitely bear all these details in mind. :)
Waiting for a viva date surely makes me feel lazy, hope that I can know the date soon!
I would second all the advice from psychresearcher, that is almost exactly how I prepared for my viva (apart from the holiday, unfortunately!). I had about 6 weeks between submission and my viva, so for the first 2-3 weeks I didn't look at my thesis at all. This really helped to clear my head, so that when I did re-open it I was able to look at it objectively with a fresh pair of eyes, and spot things I hadn't thought of before. The last two weeks before my viva I really got stuck in, making a summary of each chapter, looking for new literature, and memorising properly the details of about 6 of the most important papers that I had cited in my thesis.
Waiting for the viva date is the hardest bit of the whole process I think, but they should give you about 2 weeks notice so even if you don't open the thesis again until you get given a date, you will still have time. Not looking at the thesis doesn't mean you aren't thinking about it!! Best of luck :)
Smoobles, That is so true, I would run through how I would answer viva questions in my mind almost without thinking about it consciously (probably dreamt about it too!)... and I'm sure that helped.
I forgot to say - Congratulations on submitting your thesis! that is a huge milestone in itself, so yes do give yourself a few treats and a break from it before you dive back in again in a few weeks time.
I was lucky in that I knew my viva date before I submitted due to my external examiner having to fly in from quite a distance which did help. Don't worry if you see any typos or minor errors.. indeed if they do pick up on them then it's a good thing as they haven't found anything more significant to comment on. I would really recommend a mock viva (and remember that it is usually the case that mock vivas are far worse than the actual one).. good luck -!
I would also agree with what the Smooblemeister said about summarising chapters and learning key papers related to your study. I am awaiting viva myself, which is due to take place next month after submitting my thesis last August (long time ago now). I will have had nine months to prepare for viva, and am currently in the process of submitting a paper regarding the final experiments that we undertook. I have already authored a review article in a good journal and have a hatful of conference presentations under my belt, so a research paper is quite urgent now. I have also deactivated my Facebook account to limit my distractions!
I would not generally recommend preparing for the viva until a few weeks before it happens. The reason is that the preparation needs to be fresh in your mind on the day. Preparing far ahead of that, and then maybe not having a viva for months, doesn't help.
My viva preparation involved reading a viva preparation book (Tinkler and Jackson) to demystify the process, rereading and summarising my thesis to familiarise myself with it and spot typos (I took a list into the viva and handed it out - all examiners/convenor were very grateful), and thinking about and memorising my answers to 5 key questions: originality of my thesis, contribution to knowledge, methodology, weaknesses/gaps/mistakes, and what would I do differently if starting again. Preparation in this way took a very short amount of time, and could be easily done in the run-up to the day.
It was unfortunate that i re-opened my thesis almost immediately because i met a PhD candidate on the day of submission...
This PhD candidate looked quite sad because he had "Major Revision" despite three papers published.
I even thought of revise and re-submit; this was my decision, not the examiners.
Although i have visited many countries, tried fifteen different airlines..., i still want to emphasize the importance of travel!
My preparation for two more conferences now is not mainly on writing papers,
but where should i visit, which restaurant is good (Michelin star?), which hotel is strategically located...
Have no fear about viva!
Generally, the viva involves you answering the following questions:
what did you do?
Why did you do it that way?
Benefits of doing it that way?
Implications for future research?
Which academics do you disagree with? Why?
If you keep these questions in mind, u should be OK. My viva prep consisted of me reading my thesis several times, before dividing each chapter, noting the key themes and issues, as well as specific examples which I could refer to in my viva. Also, I re-read key secondary lit as well as papers submitted published after my thesis was submitted. This is important as it shows you keep up to date with developments in your field. And the classic advice: defend your thesis, don't be defensive about it! Take your time, if you don't understand something, ask for it to be repeated.
As for prep time, a few weeks is fine. Hope this helps!
Smoobles, ginga, BilboBaggins, Mackem_Beefy, angie81, meaninginlife and psychresearcher:
Thanks so much for everyone's response!!!! I have learned a lot from you all.
My main supervisor has indeed red pen over my draft for around three times,
that‘s why I felt quite tired of reading it at the moment (because I have read it over and over again for so many times!! haha), but I've slowly started to re-process it in my head, should be able to re-open it soon.
Apart from my thesis, right now I have a small research project funded by a governmental institution, which is a bit like the arts council in England (its rather small amount of funding...but during this kind of transitional time I thought earning some extra money, having some sort of job is good for stabilizing my mood). Its not as strict as writing a journal paper, but will still require reading new materials and writing (I'm in humanities). I regard it as a freelance job that I need to handle along with my viva preparation.
I've planned a short trip to Paris though (only for a week).
Thanks a lot , everyone !! :D
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