Master's Viva - Passed!


I just wanted to share my experience with my Viva, just to give people who are feeling nervous before theirs something to think about amidst the overly negative feedback you can find on the end of a Google search (and boy did I find them!)

Yesterday I had my viva for my Masters by Research in History and I passed with a distinction. In the entire build up I was convinced I would fail, nothing seemed to stick in my head, every question I tried to ask myself became fuzzy and the whole period of preperation was a stress fuelled nightmare. I had images in my head of a trial by fire, where I would be probed viciously and attacked and that I would stumble over my words and completely ruin all my hard work for the past year and a half.

The moral of the story?

Believe in yourselves. My viva was actually a pleasant experience, aided by the choice in examiners I feel (pick wisely! The more knowledgable they are, the better, it felt like a really discussion and debate rather than an interrogation, I think it also helps cover gaps when you fumble words a little as they are more likely to understand where you're going with it). I dreaded that time would stand still, but when you're in there it goes really quickly, if you relax and take your time with your answers (if you fumble, just calm yourself and then move back towards your poin) you'll be ok. Also, never take criticisms as personal ones, if you show that you appreciate the help and that you're interested in their improvements, it will work in your favour.

All in all, my examiners worked to put me at ease, they were polite and friendly (this image of them as ogres I got from searching online was far removed from the truth).

I hope that people in future can take this from this post: viva's can be a pleasant experience. Don't sweat it, focus on your thesis.


Thanks for this - this is encouraging for the rest of us!


Congratulations, and thank you for charring your viva story, it is really helpful.


First of all, congratulations! I am also gearing up for final writeup and viva and I am glad you shared your story...


Thank you everyone for the congratulations, I am very proud to have achieved something I thought beyond me. I am glad this has been helpful for a few of you, honestly I am the King of doom mongering and stressing myself out (perfectionism I think drives me to good results, but the path to them is wrought with a lot of unpleasant experiences and feelings!). I really convinced myself everything was going to collapse around me because I couldn't anticipate every question and so on and it fogged up my mind. In the end, nothing I research even came up and because I wrote the thesis for so long it was all lock up in there somewhere and flowed, I think you'll all have similar experiences. I am not sure how much my viva being for a Master's made much of a difference (it was only really in terms of length I believe, format, level of importance etc was the same as a PhD) but I would recommend that if you can do yourself any favour, let it be to be kind to yourself even when it feels impossible, take that time to relax and refresh your mind and do not let negativity take over, you'll be doing yourselves a great service!

Good to luck to everyone with their future vivas :)


congratulations and thanks for the encouragement, i am also developing a research proposal