Hello all!

I passed my PhD this week with no corrections. I was pretty much gobsmacked (I'd got myself all worked up thinking I would fail) but I thought I'd do some tips. My PhD is in English Lit, but I think these are generalisable.

I used the book 'How to Survive Your Viva' and had a think about different ways of answering some key questions (like what other ways I could've approached my research, where I wanted to go next with the work, how I'd come to this topic and so on). I also read my examiners' work beforehand so I knew which sections they'd be most interested in, and had notes on pretty much every paragraph of those sections, plus on the sections I thought were most important so I could steer the discussion in that direction.

My top tip was using post its to highlight key features of my thesis, and then noting down keywords of that part of the argument on the post it, so I had the vocabulary to hand in case my mind went blank.

Things went a bit pear-shaped for me on the day: I'd wanted to re-read my external's most recent book beforehand, but the library accidentally posted it to Leeds the day before, and my supervisor came down with flu so she couldn't be there with me, but it still turned out ok! I had a chair as well as my external and internal, and he was incredibly reassuring and kind. I didn't exactly enjoy it, but it wasn't the two hours of torture and humiliation I'd been anticipating!


Well done!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!
Very useful comments!!! I hope that in 3 years (?) I will be posting about MY successful viva, too.......(up)(up)(up)(up)


Fantastic! A couple of questions: did you work all your examiners references into your thesis beforehand and were you able to take your copy of your thesis with the postits into your viva - is that usual practice?

Major corrections are my biggest nightmare! No corrections would be such a joy!


Congratulations! Wow - no corrections!


WOW!!! congratulations!!! :-)


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Thanks for the congratulations :)

Smilodon: yep, as far as I know you're allowed to bring anything you want in with you. My thesis was covered in post-its and annotations, but it was to reassure myself more than anything. I'd even flow-charted out an answer to where my research was going next on the front cover in case I got in a panic and forgot how I was going to explain it. I really didn't use most of it, but it made me feel much more in control.

edit: also, yes, I'd already used a lot of my external's work in the thesis, so I knew which parts he would be interested in. I didn't add anything in just for them when I was writing it, although I double-checked everything I was quoting or paraphrasing so he didn't feel like he was being misrepresented!