My viva is tomorrow and I am just so worried about it. Part of me just wants to run away while another just wants to get in and try and get it over with asap! I've looked over threads about vivas in this forum and have shared other in some people's great stories and other people's disappointments! I so want to be one of the one's with the great story but I know all too well that (as someone said in another thread) s**t happens and I could easily end with a big disappointment! Anyway, I suppose I just wanted to ask for advice which will help me not to get tongue-tied or so panicked and over-whelmed with the situation that I can't give coherent answers to the questions I've been asked?:$
Hope everyone else's studies are going well?:-)
Can't offer anything really solid - I'm preparing for mine too, although not tomorrow, thank goodness! I have been told to be really clear on how mine fits into 'the bigger picture' and my contribution to knowledge. Also I was told to be strong on my chosen methods and be ready to 'argue' if it is suggested that I could have gone about things differently. Somewhat preversely I have also been told to be ready to defend my structure which is my supervisor's. It's not really that radical, if anything it's very traditional but I do have a Part I and a Part II, really pushing the boundaries, I know (sic).
Best of luck tomorrow - keep us posted (up)
I've only just started my write up so nowhere near viva yet but I just wanted to wish you luck! I think I remember reading another post about someone asking for advice before viva (I like to scare myself by reading tales of viva!) and someone said to deal with nerves don't be afraid to pause and take your time to really consider the question before answering. They will understand that you are nervous and I'm sure they'd prefer that to someone who acts as if it's not a big deal!
Good luck and let us know how you get on! :-)(up)
Hi Alexandra, it is extremely normal to be feeling this way before your viva. You have spent several years researching an area which results in the viva. Naturally, we all put the viva up on a pedestal as this is the gateway to passing our doctorate. As the viva is shrouded in a little secrecy, some say a rite of passage, we therefore read all about other viva experiences both good and bad. The whole viva appears to be influenced by many things, your thesis, your performance on the day, politics of the examiners etc but in reality most viva are about your work. This is a topic that you have studied in detail for a lengthy time so really you need faith in your research. Likewise, your supervisors would be irresponsible to allow submission of poor quality work as this also reflects on themselves too.
My advice to you based on my own experience is this. Today and pre-viva, don't focus on your viva or work on your thesis. Rather than thinking about the viva, re-focus your attention to what is happening after the viva. I focussed on what shops I was going to pop in on my way home and the three hour drive home. This basically desensitizes the viva and removes its pedestal. Have everything you need for your viva packed and ready to go, then relax. Watch a mind-numbing movie, eat well and get some sleep! Nothing you cram in last-minute will make a difference. Dress in comfy but smart attire as you don't want to be worrying about your killer heels, over tight collar (insert your own here lol). Tomorrow, get there early so you don't worry about being late/lost/flustered etc and then sit somewhere nearby and have a coffee with a newspaper. Greet your examiners with a smile as this lifts your mindset. Take some drink in with you so you can pause between questions for a sip/quick think. If you do not understand what they are asking just say so, they are human aswell! If they seem to be pushing a point that you are arguing, just re-think incase you have overlooked a compromise. Just because you agree with them doesn't mean revising your thesis for resubmission, where an minor explanatory paragraph will suffice. If you feel flustered (I did in mine at one point), just say - sorry I just need a moment to compose myself, then re-clarify the question and continue. They are not there to make you into a blubbering wreck and the chair should certainly ensure you are ok. Lastly, what will be -will be. Your examiners have read your thesis and have already made up their minds on which way the decision will go before you walk in the door.
So good luck for tomorrow, you CAN get through this and let us know how you get on. (up)
I know I shouldn't say this, but try to enjoy it if possible. It's more an intellectual conversation between a small group of people about an area of research they are passionate about. Long day at work today, but key areas they'll ask you about include:
How your research came about - so know it's contextual place and how you formulated it.
You contributions to knowldge
Further research ideas.
Some questions will be challenging, some will require you to defend you position.
Vivas are rarely nasty events. There's a good chance you'll even start to enjoy it in the end ;-)
And for Pete's sake, remember: you're the expert and you know more about you research than anyone else.
Thank you all so much for your fantastic support, encouragement and words of wisdom! The viva went really well and although the questions were tough and there were a couple of occasions that I felt my stomach melt, I managed to answer them in an articulate and coherent manner! I can't say that I enjoyed the experience as I was too wound up but I loved the feeling afterwards when I went back into the room and the external examiner held out his hand and told me I'd passed and said Congratulations Dr. During the post-viva analysis my supervisor and the examiners all said how well I'd done and how calm and relaxed I was when answering the questions (they obviously couldn't see my knees knocking under the table). I'm just so thrilled and can't quite believe that I've done. Thank you once again for all your encouragement and I'm pleased to hear about other people from the forum getting dates for their vivas (Ady, Sneaks and Catalin) ....I'll be thinking of you when your vivas come!:-)(up)
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