I don't think I've ever been so nervous in my life, but it turned out to be a really constructive (dare I say enjoyable?!) 3.5 hours of positive discussion about my work. I've got a few corrections to make, but nothing major.
I'm still a bit in shock about it all as I'd prepared myself for it to be horrible, but it wasn't. I secretly thought the people that said they enjoyed their vivas were nutcases, but now I get it! ,-)
I don't post here very often, but as others have said in the past, this forum has been a source of a lot of help and support over the past few years, so it's nice to be able to post a positive story :-)
All the best, especially to those preparing for their vivas!
Well done Amy! I will be looking at my viva in about six months and am already getting nervous about the thought of it! I don't envy the 3.5 hours you had to endure but I guess if it was enjoyable the time will fly.
I guess a little celebrating before cracking those minor corrections is in order, enjoy!
======= Date Modified 01 Dec 2010 16:43:33 =======
Congratulations! Time to celebrate, x'mas would be much more nicer this year(gift). 3.5 hrs seems long but if you were enjoying the discussion then it's great and time must have passed quickly. My V-day is closer now and prep has been less than interesting. fingers crossed.
AmyP, well done!(up)
Thanks everyone, it seems to have sunk in a bit more now and I'm just so happy to have it all done now :-)
Sorry @Chuff, here's some detail...
I'm in Biological Sciences, so I think 3.5 hours is pretty normal. They started off by saying that they thought the thesis was well written and an interesting study. Then they asked me to give a summary of my work, which I was pretty much expecting.
Each examiner had a list of things they wanted to discuss, so we went through the thesis to each page where they wanted to discuss something, or had a query. They said they were more interested in discussing the work rather than pointing out typos so we left the list of typos until the end when we briefly went through them - I had taken in my own list, which they appreciated me doing, and said that there weren't many typos/mistakes and that it was definitely at the lower end of the scale compared to other theses they had examined (so I owe big thanks to my family who were great at checking for typos for me!).
I had some tough questioning about some of my experimental design, but I had expected this and had a good counter-argument which my examiners found very convincing (thank goodness!!!). We also had some good conversations about some of my interpretations of results and it was really nice to have the opportunity to spend a really good amount of time debating my work with other experts, but mainly they wanted to check my understanding of what I had done and why I had done it...I now understand why people say you can't really prepare for your viva in a few weeks before. It's too late by then - all the preparation is done during your PhD as you go along.
The time went really quickly and although it was mentally draining and I was knackered afterwards, it was a really rewarding experience as I have much more confidence in my own knowledge and abilities. Right up to walking into the viva I was still scared of being revealed as a "fraud" who didn't really know anything - a common feeling among PhDers I know! But the viva let me prove to myself that I really do know what I'm talking about :$
To prepare I just re-read my thesis a couple of times. Once to remind myself of the detail of some of my arguments and the other time to check for typos. I had also checked for any new papers that had been published since I submitted.
Once we had gone through the thesis I was asked to leave the room whilst they decided on their recommendation, and after about 5 mins they called me back in to say I had passed, providing I corrected the list of typos. I think I may have resembled a Cheshire cat at that point!!!
Then we all went into my supervisors office and cracked open a bottle of bubbly that my supervisor had hidden in our office fridge
Thanks Amy appreciate it.
Also good to know that doubt is normal, could we say good ? maybe it restrains the worst trait of all - arrogance.
I'm nearing the end myself, hence my intense interest in the viva.. and i feel I'm more aware than ever .. but unfortunately what I'm more aware of is how much I don't know.. how much is "out there". Guess you have to love the confusion, and continue to love it for the rest of your career else you're doomed.
Regards, and congrats again. Chuff
======= Date Modified 04 Dec 2010 00:28:54 =======
Congrats that's fab news ... good to hear another positive experience. I'm starting it think perhaps it won't be soooooooooo bad after all as long as I do loads of prep! I should open the old thesis again to see what I wrote! You'll be able to enjoy Christmas this year - it'll be great just to chill out! (gift) (robin) (snowman) (tree) (turkey)
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