Corrections worrying


Hi there,

I just need somewhere to rant and gain a perspective on things.

Some background - I'd developed quite bad anxiety problems during my PhD and had to take some time out to try and cope with them. Somehow I managed to submit in January and vivaed in February. My outcome was Major amendments and I was given 6 months to do them.

The list of corrections was quite vague and said things along the lines of "improve your explanation of your contribution to knowledge through the thesis" and "make your use of voice, person, punctuation, etc more consistent throughout". They recommended some specific areas to improve not related to those "Big" points which they didn't recommend any particular parts in my thesis to improve.

I've got just over 6 weeks left now and I've been working on them practically every evening and at weekends after my 9-5 job. I'm at a stage where I feel like I'm rewriting my corrections over and over again because I don't know at what point , enough is enough. My supervisor thought my thesis was fine in the first place and so I just feel like I'm bashing my head against a brick wall. I've become so paralysed at the thought of failing my corrections that I',m back to where I was during my PhD, having severe anxiety issues and panic attacks but feeling very stuck too. The fact that I just feel like I have no downtime to myself ever is really getting me down.

I dunno if anyone has any ideas to try and help? I'm just so very sick of this constant doubting of myself and how all this time and effort could all be for naught. I'm so scared at the moment and I just don't know how much more I can take. I'm particularly nervous because my examiner was quite anally retentive and some of the comments from the viva felt ridiculous - even the internal said so .

Sorry for rambling


Hi Babbage,

I think you will be ok as long as you do the corrections as they asked.

I think "improve your explanation of your contribution to knowledge through the thesis" and "make your use of voice, person, punctuation, etc more consistent throughout" is actually quite specific.

The first is asking to state more clearly exactly what you have achieved so saying things like 'this is the first report of this', 'this was shown for the first time here' and then for example making bullet point lists of your achievements in your discussion chapter. This is really sign-posting the contribution to knowledge throughout the thesis and I can't see what else you could do. Of course, if you did this already and they are still asking for more then...!

I think the second is just asking for consistency, so check whether your style of writing is similar throughout. Were there long periods of time between writing each chapter? I feel that some of my chapters are better written than others depending when I wrote them, for example.

Maybe ask your supervisor to look over it again, highlighting the areas you have changed and see what they think?

The good news is that by doing the corrections you are pretty much going to pass, so keep on going, you are nearly there!


I feel for you, Babbage. I was in a similar situation - in fact my supervisor thought I would get no corrections at all. It really messes with your head when your examiners think differently, and makes you question how you know what's good enough. The way I got through corrections was to spend quite a bit of time listing each of the examiners' points and specifying exactly how and where I had responded to them in the thesis. This helped me to feel more confident about submitting the revisions - they can't fail you if you have done what they asked - and was also helpful to refer to while waiting for their response, to calm anxieties about whether I'd done enough. Where the corrections are very general, explain how you interpreted them and provide examples of the changes you made.