I have my viva on Tuesday and although I am going in with three relatively positive reports I am am still so, so nervous. I am of course relieved that the day has finally come and I still can't quite believe it as it seemed never ending but I am pretty apprehensive.
I had a mock viva with my supervisors last week going through potential questions and what not and I have a ten minute presentation prepared that I have to do at the start. Today I am going to go over answers to questions again and have another read through some of my chapters.
Has anyone who has been through the process already got any words of wisdom to share? Or just anyone with any tips in general for it?
All the best for the viva. Looks like you are already well-prepared for it so don't worry too much. Obviously there could be a thousand small things that I or perhaps a lot of other folks here can tell you.
However, I think I would give you only one advice. I propose that you ensure that you are getting sleep and rest before the viva so you can face anything and everything in the viva. I know a lot of people advice the same but seriously, in my opinion, practically this is quite hard to do practically.
Pre-viva time can be nerve-wrecking and it is so hard to get some rest. Thing is, if you are well-rested, you can face and respond to anything the examiners throw at you/
Hi Slowmo! Loads of luck, sounds like you're really well prepared. Everyone's viva is different, and your experience will be very much shaped by your examiners. Personally, I only had 6 days between submission and viva, and it was enough. I had prepared for all of the questions I had expected, although hardly any of them came up! They asked with questions that had never even occurred to me or my sup, but they were questions that were answerable if you had been through the process of designing the project and carrying it out....nothing I couldn't deal with, although some of them were tough. In retrospect, I has prepared everything I possibly could have done, and I wouldn't have done anything differently if I had my time again. So I agree with the others- get some sleep and do your best to take time out to do something enjoyable. You will be fine, and I wish you loads of luck for it (but you won't need it!). Best, KB
If your viva is on Tuesday my best tip would be that you do something very relaxing on Monday, nothing to do with your PhD at all. Watch a DVD you enjoy, go for a walk, anything but viva preparation. And try to get a good night's sleep before the big day, although if you don't it's still possible to get through the viva, as I found: adrenaline can make up for a lot!
And best of luck for the day.
I'd agree with the others, you sound like you've prepared as much as you can, so make sure you get some down time on the day before, and get a decent sleep if possible. However, depending on how you are, if you feel the need to do something other than this then that's what you've got to do. I recall the night before my viva, staying in a friends house as it was closer to the uni, and frantically trying to read through my thesis because I was convinced something was wrong, and there was something I had missed. I had this awful ominous feeling in the few days leading up to it, and for my own sanity, I couldn't rest until I'd figured out what it was. Cue sitting up at midnight the night before, finally finding a sentence in one methods section where I had referred to a result which wasn't presented in the results section - easy to miss in a 60-odd page chapter, and it wasn't a very important result, but still! I was worried my examiners would have picked up on it, but felt infinitely better that I had found it, and took the missing result in with me the next day. So, frantically reading ones thesis at midnight the night before a viva and printing out results the next morning before walking in, isn't exactly the ideal way to prepare, but I had to know for my own sanity! The examiners hadn't even noticed btw, so I didn't mention it, and on doing corrections, I noticed a few other things that me, my 2 supervisors, and 2 externals had also missed, so don't worry!
And Good luck!! (up)
Hi Slowmo, knowing your thesis, the arguments, key papers/authors and the reasons you did what you did is as prepared as you can be. You can never really judge what questions may come up but viva prep such as discussing it in a mock will help hugely. For mine I thought I would be working until the 11th hour but taking others advice I actually did little on it for the last 24 hours. I was much more relaxed for the viva, surprisingly! My tips are to get there early so you can have a quiet sit down with a newspaper/novel in a calm place. Nothing worst than running into your viva!! If you start thinking nervously about what the impending viva, then focus your attention to a later time, ie what you plan to do in the evening/next week etc. This takes the focus and adrenaline rush away so you are calmer for your viva.
Good luck with your viva and I will be checking the forum for news!!
Some really excellent posts below, Slowmo! As has been mentioned (I think by Bilbo), don't overdo the prep! You've done your research for around 3 years, and you know it better than anyone! For my viva, I actually followed Bilbobaggin's and passed -she's a wise young lady! Know the key references, know you key contributions to knowledge, etc, etc. The examiners are not there to trip you up. They want to make sure that it is your research and you fully understand what you have done (strengths, limitations, further research). Chances are you already do! Just relax, consider each question and answer honestly. After all, it's not an inquisition or death squad - just a debate between a group of people who are all passionate about the same area of research. Good luck (doubt you'll need it)!
Wow - you guys are AMAZING! Thank you so much for all of the really helpful responses. I spent today doing a long trail run with my partner which has relaxed me and got out the excess energy that would no doubt keep me awake. I'm reading through some notes at the moment which is probably a bit silly but at 7pm I am banned from doing any more and that's in half an hour. I can't believe this time tomorrow it will be done (i'm in NZ).
Thanks again! I will update you when I am doing and have the outcome :-)
I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very minor corrections that they reckon will take about an hour but I have two weeks to do them in. I will post a full report of my experience in a couple of days when my feet touch the ground. Thanks so much again for all the advice!
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