what do we do with the mistakes that we found during viva preparation?


OK, I found quite a few mistakes when I read through my thesis again, some of them are quite minor such as typo, spelling or punctuation, in some cases, the mistakes are rather big, e.g., wrong sample size, means :-S

I am rather worried now, are these mistakes going to have major impact on my viva (for example, major correction or fail?)

Should I start correcting it myself now, or should I wait until I receive a proper correction verdict? I heard that some examiners require "track change" in the script when doing correction. If it's better to do correction now than later, should I turn on the track change as well?

Do we need to put these mistakes in document and give it to the examiner during the viva?


I am also in the same state...I asked my friend and she said not to mention until the examiner says anything abt it but take the list with me. I am still not very convinced...I am seeing some more errors after re-reading. Hope, others in the forum will advice us how to handle this. Swetch


Don't panic...
You may as well correct typos and spelling as you proofread now, but make a list of other mistakes with the page numbers, and bring the list with you to the viva. Also make a list of any "weak points" or shortcomings in your work as well. That way, if the examiners point these out during the viva, you can respond that you're aware of these points. You should definitely share this list with your supervisor prior to the viva.

People have different opinions about whether it's better to wait until the examiners point out flaws or if it's better to preempt them. You should discuss this with your sup. It really depends on the significance of the flaw, and the mood in the room.

Keep in mind that overall, the examiners are concerned with two things: that you know how to do good research, and that the thesis is really your own original work. Good research doesn't mean that your project is perfect; it's more important that you're aware of strengths and weaknesses, and can think critically about your research.

It would not be good use of your time to try to re-write now, since you don't know what kind of corrections you may be asked to do. Try to read through your manuscript so that you can feel comfortable discussing it. If you can, try to get someone other than your sup to listen to you talk about it.

It's amazing the number of bloopers you'll notice at the eleventh hour, but don't let that psych you out! It's pretty typical, I think.

Good luck!


I found going on for 100 errors in my thesis, including two that changed the meaning of the sentence to the opposite of what it meant!

I made a list with page numbers and line number (it's easy to not find the error agian if just page numbers are listed!) and took it with me to my viva. In the event my examiners barely mentioned typos, and my corrections mainly included about 8 they had spotted. They clearly missed the other 90+! I did end up mentioning in passing that I had found some, kinda to preempt them saying it, and the examiners were said they weren't bothered about that!

In doing my corrections I also corrected the typos I'd found, but did not re-write anything else, even where I felt the language could be improved as I was told we weren't meant to make extra changes not asked for my examiners, but correcting typos was ok. I didn't have to provide a document with track changes for them to check.

My advice is to make a list more for yourself and don't worry too much about typos!


Thanks Catalinbond & Dalmation for yr suggestions. Have listed 12 errors...still coming up as re-reading is ongoing. Apart from some typo, spelling & data citation, I found that some of the references I put in the chapter are not exactly where it has to be. Bit worried: how do I say that I put that in confusion, by mistake!

Just 2 weeks to viva & seems I am forgetting faster than ever. Writing few key points while reading so that I quickly read few days prior to viva. There are so many refereces, having not much time to review even some imp ones...terrified!!! Swetch


Thanks Catalinbond & Dalmation for your suggestions!! That's really helpful!

I am at the same boat as you, Swetchha! Terrifying at the moment!

Keep us posted after 2 weeks how you get one with your viva!

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

======= Date Modified 18 Oct 2012 15:37:35 =======
I did pretty much as posters did, in that I listed any typos I found and corrected them as I found them.  I provided my supervisor with a list, who promptly said "Don't show it to them or mention it."  Er, okay.  I ended up with three minor corrections, all spelling mistakes.  I will reiterate what others have said, in that clearing up minor typos is fine. 

However, the final hardbound thesis is meant to be an accurate reflection of the document the examiners have reviewed so major unauthorised changes to analyses or findings are not acceptable and can actually in extremis end up with the PhD being revoked.  This is very unlikely and depends on someone spotting a change, plus the University being willing to attract adverse publicity in doing so.  I am aware, however, that my own University was very aware of things like this happening and was very watchful of this (normally due to a candidate replacing something in the hardbound thesis they disagreed with - normally a supervisor amendment).


I'll admit to a minor cock-up here, as I ended up with three versions of my thesis in electronic form. 

1) The first was the submission version (long since deleted as it is not needed anymore). 

2) The second was with the three typos corrected as per the examiners' changes plus the typos I found and corrected. 

3) The third I'd blindly started editing the submission version and ended up a version with examiner typos corrected but my typos not.

How I managed that and didn't spot what I was doing, I'll never know, though I think at different times in my rush to get rid of it I'd sat down and edited one without referring to the other.  :-)

I ended up hard-binding version three at the time (the one sitting in the library) and when my Uni. created it's electronic repository a few years later, I turned the second version into a PDF to be donated to and uploaded to it.  I only realised at this stage what I'd done.

No doubt someone will find the hard bound version three has quite a few more typos in the dim and distant future.  Version two is that I normally point people to.

No thesis is ever perfect and as has been said by plenty in the past, it is brought to the point where it is as it's least damaging when it is submitted.

Ian (Mackem_Beefy)


Hi Guys thanks for your encouraging words. I thought I was the only one in this boat and got worried about it. I have my viva coming up and saw several typos was really wondering what to do.


I have my viva next week and I too have found a lot of mistakes (mainly repetitive words, punctuations, break up long sentences etc) and I have made an Excel sheet listing all these. However, I also found that in one particular figure my compound numbering was out by 3! This was because I wrote Chapter 1 (Intro) last and where I'd only thought I will only show two compounds and name them 1 and 2, I ended up having five compounds in this chapter so I had to re-number all my subsequent compounds in Chapters 2-5 as well as change the axis in all the graphs, legends in figures etc.. In this particular figure the legend reflects the correct compound numbers but the actual graphs show numbers that are less by 3 :( I am not sure whether to bring it up or just wait for my examiners to mention it, but I am going to print that page with the updated compound numbers just to be prepared!
My supervisors did advise me not to bring up the mistakes unless the examiners do!