q (sorry!)

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How long should your answers be?

I'm getting into a bit of a panic - I've not had any guidance from sup, she's not even discussed the fact I've submitted. My viva is in about 2 weeks, she's going to meet up the day before with me. But I think this is too late, but she hasn't offered another day.

So how long do I have my answers - should they be long and detailed or short and let them prompt me for more? (then I worry I'm underselling the research) arrrgh!



Don't think there is a right or wrong way to do it, save don't just give a monosyllabic yes or no answer. My problem was that some of the questions were very long. Don't jump straight in there with an answer. If it helps clarify back to them what you are being asked (gives you a bit of thinking time too). I brought in a notebook in which to write the main points of any questions; I thought it would give me time to think and formulate an answer. however I never took it out of my bag nor did I open the thesis I had brought with me complete with post it notes!!!! One piece of advice which I did implement was to keep referrring back to my thesis. Some of my questions were actually more like comments and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to answer.

It happens on the day and I wouldn't stress toooooo much about it - easier said than done I know. Even as I was walking through the door, I was thinking "I can't believe this day is actually here". I was v nervous and I probably came over as unfriendly. Lots of people cry and get emotional when they're told they have passed - me, I sort of nodded, said thank you but don't think I remembered to smile:$


It didn't register with me that I'd passed, I knew they'd told me but I don't think I reacted in any way. Sneaks, how long your answers are will be guided by the question. This should become apparent on the day. Try not to stress too much about the viva, simply because the stress isn't at all helpful but that's easy for me to say.

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I'm thinking about questions such as "summarise your key findings" - I mean I tried to do this last night with hubs, and ended up giving him a 20 min answer, which included why I did the studies, what I did and the findings and implications - and he was like whoooah there - you need to do a very simple a, b c... and then let them prompt you.

Gah this whole process is so STUPID!


As strange as this may sound, I think you're trying too hard to prepare. I'll admit my experience was different to most but my viva was such that I couldn't have prepared answers as they asked questions I didn't expect. Try not to over prepare as you're one person in this process and it is the examiners who will dictate the course of the viva. Know your thesis as well as you can, understand why you did the things you did and the decisions you made. Know the 4 or 5 things examiners look for (originality, contribution to knowledge etc etc bilbo often talked about these) and try to highlight these and try to.......relax.

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haha you see I feel like I'm being ultra lazy. I've basically written out a list of qs that I've been given by other people and looked through them once, and I've read the thesis through once (I'm hoping to read it another 2 times at least before the viva), I just feel under-prepared but so busy with my work that I don't have a spare minute to really think about the answers.


Hey Sneaks, don't stress over this! If they want more detail, they'll ask, and if they want you to shut up, they'll probably indicate that as well! Just aim to give them the best answer you can think of. Some of the questions I had I could answer in a sentence, but most of them sort of turned into a discussion where they elaborated on the question and we went into it in more detail. Just try to stop rambling if you get to that point lol! Loadsa luck with your prep- my best advice is to just know your work. I rehearsed every 'guaranteed' question I could find and none of them came up- I couldn't possible have predicted the questions I got, but I was able to answer them! Best, KB