Viva experience PART II


======= Date Modified 09 Nov 2011 11:55:18 =======

My examiners had what looked like an awful amount of sticky notes all over my thesis and I was terrified that I was going to be ripped to shreds, but as it turned out I think I managed to disarm some of the questions in my presentation anyway and others came out as I was talking generally. In my case I found my external examiner, though he asked more thought provoking questions, easier to deal with than my internal examiner, who it seemed was there just to make my life a bit difficult (I might feel a bit different about this once I've had some time to reflect). I'd say DON'T let the number of sticky notes you can see on the dissetation put you off or make you more nervous. I don't think any examiner gets through all the questions they might like to pose.

As for journal publications which might help you defend contentious points, I DID use mine and it did give my internal examiner no room for manouvre when he asked me questions about how I'd gone about using a certain technique. His paper was a conference publication which had said what I'd actually done in my thesis wasn't possible. I had a journal publication which showed why it was, and I'd implemented it. If I hadn't had this with me (through doing some background reading on my internal examiner) I would have had a much harder time defending it. Do try to find things that are relevant to your research that your internal and external examiners have published. It will show their train of thought when reading your thesis and give you a little bit more of an advantage.

I was asked all manner of questions. Do remember that some of these questions ARE a matter of opinion of the examiners and not gospel. Don't roll over if you disagree. But at all times, be polite and courteous about it. It ISNT personal, and you do have to keep reminding yourself of this.

My viva took roughly three hours and I was asked to leave the room. I wasn't left waiting long at all which did surprise me. I know it was less than ten minutes, and I have a feeling it was much shorter than that. Essentially I didn't really have time to worry about the final conclusion, I was only ust starting to think about the relief of no more questions. It was quite an intense experience but it did go quicker than I realised and at NO point did I feel as rough as I had done in the lead up to it. In hindsight I'd have sat there alot longer if needed and didn't feel I needed to call time on it. The examiners just suddenly seemed to stop.

When I was called back in, I was given time to get myself seated again and I was immediately told that I had done enough to warrant passing my PhD. I was GENUINELY shocked. I was told I would have some corrections to do (minor). To be perfectly honest it hasn't really sunk in yet.

I hope this helps someone, I had two proper panic attacks before mine.

Avatar for Caterpillar27

Massive Congratulations!!! And thank you for your viva story - it is very interesting and helpful for us who have yet to get there!
Well done 8-)


I found reading your posts very, very helpful. THANK YOU! It's always lovely to read when someone has passed as well and so many congratulations (up)

All good wishes for the future and thanks for taking the time to post:-)


Very helpful posts; thank you for taking them time to share! Well done on passing, you must be so happy. (up)


Congratulations! Also, thank you for the detailed story and your hints and tips, I will hopefully be in your position in about a year's time (depending on whether I ever get my write up finished!)


Thank you and congratulations!


======= Date Modified 09 Nov 2011 15:32:16 =======
Dr. Cplusplusgirl,

Heartiest congratulations on this achievement. Today, my own degree was finally awarded and I can relate my experiences with yours! And after so many months, I am finally feeling from the inside that I have actually finished it all up.
BTW I am assuming that you are a CS person (based on the nick) so it would be interesting to figure out how vivas in different disciplines differ though. Anyways you should now try to take a break and somehow relax as it can be hard (or at least it was for me) before you finish up the corrections!!

Cheers (up)


Many congrats Dr Cplusplus girl :-) and thank you for the detailed viva story - very interesting.

And congrats Dr Mak as well(up)


Thanks to you all.


======= Date Modified 14 Nov 2011 16:54:25 =======
============= Edited by a Moderator =============


Congrats! And thanks for sharing (up)


I've now put the two threads together as someone has rightly suggested it. (had a bit of an overtired blonde moment when I posted them seperately)

Part I and part II are now all on the same thread:


Quote From ady:

And congrats Dr Mak as well(up)

Dear Ady,

Thank you so much!