Signup date: 13 Apr 2007 at 2:38pm
Last login: 22 Mar 2011 at 5:22pm
Post count: 92
This is what happened in the viva: I went in and they asked if I was nervous and just to try to relax and they were going to just have a discussion about my work but would also obviously need to test me. they said it was good and they had enjoyed reading it. They asked me to give a summary of my thesis and then asked for weaknesses and strengths. They then said they were going to start with quite general questions and this went on for an hour and I can't really remember much apart from finding it really hard! Then they asked if I wanted a 5 minute break which I did. When I came back they said they would now be asking specific questions and so we started going through my thesis chapter by chapter and this went on for another 2 hours!!! I found it pretty stressful and didn't think I was doing very well. My internal walked me back down the corridor and told me I had done very well at which point I didn't believe him! I then had a bit of a cry in my office as think I was totally overwhelmed and about 45 mins later got called back in with my sups and told I had minor corrections! I was really pleased but it was a very weird feeling I kept thinking about the answers I didn't think I had done very well with actually couldn't remember the ones I did well with until 2 days later! We then all went to the pub were my sup bought everyone champagne and toasted me which was very nice and my external told me I had done very well and said sorry he had gone on so long but he was enjoying himself! I spent the weekend completely exhausted and think it is only just sinking in now.
It is only just sinking in! In the run up to my viva I have found it very helpful to read posts on here about people's vivas and how they prepared etc so wanted to do the same for others.
First I just wanted to say that my PhD has been such a roller coaster and I did quite a bit of it part time so seems to have taken forever and really has been the hardest thing I've ever done. I thought about quitting many times and really struggled with my self confidence in my ability to do it so hope this can inspire people who are also struggling to keep going and you will get there!
My viva was about 3 months after I submitted and I started doing bits to prepare about 5 weeks before (I work full time). To prepare I did the following: read a book about the viva, read a few articles of my external (I had already read and referenced quite a few others), read some of my internals, wrote about 20 specific questions they could ask and answers to them and 20 general ones with answers, went on a half day viva course, wrote a summary in bullet points of the first chapter, read the thesis, read about 5 of my key articles. This is probably quite over the top to what other people do and part of me thinks I'm not sure it was really that helpful but I'm sure all the preparation did give me things to say to various questions and I think it's just down to personal choice of how much you want to do.
As well as this I had 3 friends ask me questions to practice and then I had a session with some of my research group for nearly 2 hours which went really well.
Hi Pineapple so sorry to hear about what has happened. I definitely think you should contact your supervisor and try to get the ball rolling for finding another examiner. I'm sure if doesn't reflect on your thesis. Good luck with it all.
Thanks Pink Fluff and thanks for letting us know about the viva. Sounds like they were very impressed with your work and sounds like you enjoyed it! I do feel better after my thing yesterday - it was nearly 2 hours and absolutely flew by so I can imagine that the viva goes so quickly. It is really reassuring to know that someone who was so nervous has done so great. Well done again!
Congrats Dr Pink Fluff - that is amazing! Let us know all about it when you can.
I had my mock viva type thing today and it went well so I just want Friday to arrive now!
So pleased for you!:-)
Good Luck everyone! Do let us know how it goes. :-)
I'm glad you are feeling a bit better.
I have constant butterflies and mine is not until Friday! I have a kind of mock viva tomorrow with quite a few people from my dept at the same time! Not sure why I volunteered for that but thought if I could get through it would help with the nerves for Friday!
Little Star is right though - most of the questions will be clarifying what you have done and you know that simply because you did it. Make sure you have the evening off and do something distracting like watch a film. Good Luck (up)
Hi Pink Fluff I really do hope you are feeling much better today - just think by tomorrow evening it will be behind you! If it helps my friend told me the other day that they had been on a viva course and someone who had been an examiner said a large proportion of people start by crying because of the nerves and it really doesn't matter - they are given time to calm down and the examiners try to relax them. Plus on a course I went on we were told you if your thesis is okay, to fail the viva you would have to literally not be able to answer anything - even if you do mostly not too good you will still just get corrections if your thesis is worthy of a PhD which I sure yours is if you have published from it. If you feel incredibly wound up at the beginning of it I would say to them that you suffer with anxiety generally and have found the build up to this very traumatic and can they take it slowly?
I am sure you will do great - please do let us know how it goes and good luck!
Hi Pink Fluff. My viva is a week today and I was doing so well and now I am in a bit of a state. Really bad butterflies and I couldn't sleep at all last night. I had a practice with a friend yesterday and started crying before we even started! But then I answered the questions okay and that made me feel better. Do you have someone to practice with? I also work at the same place that I have done my PhD so I know what you mean about the pressure of doing okay. I'm sure you will be fine though and think that that is correct about the anticipation being worse than the actual viva. I think it's the first few minutes of it that I am dreading as I think I will be shaking etc!
Just remember that their decision is mostly down to the thesis and yes you would do worse if you literally couldn't answer anything but I'm sure that won't be the case so you will do fine. Please let us know how it goes! Good luck!
It sounds like you are doing great with the preparation so don't worry!
Mine is 2 weeks today! I have been incredibly anxious but feel miles better now - mostly from chatting to other people who have done vivas and realising that actually most (or a least a lot) of the questions will be things that you just know because you did the work, some questions you would never be able to predict being asked and will have to do your best to make an educated answer or say 'sorry I don't know that area but that is interesting and I will look into that', and just a few will be things that you actually prepare for. I think it is a good idea to do preparation though so that you feel more confident.
So far I have written about 20 specific questions and answers - some of which my sup pointed out as possible viva questions as he was looking at my thesis. I have also done 8 general questions but planning on doing more. I have read articles by my internal and external, read a book on the viva and been on a half day course, and read up on the stats I have used. This weekend I am going to read half my thesis and write a summary on each chapter, and write down typos as well as do some more general questions, and next weekend I will do the other half of the thesis. In the eves next week I am going to re-read my key papers (I work FT).
I really can't wait for it to be over...
Thank you for your responses and wishes for the wedding. Getting rather excited now! Going to have a break, enjoy the wedding, and then get back to it after that!
I would really appreciate anyone's advice, especially those experiencing the end bit:
If I have 2 months until my deadline (already had an extension) and I am up to the point of having a third full draft apart from the last chapter which will be a 1st draft and I hand in to my sup to look at again and my sec sup to look at for the first time (didn't want to see it until it was complete) is that enough time for
1. them to have it to look at
2. me to make any changes (last chap may need a couple of revisions)
3. sort out all the formatting
4. friends/family to proof read for me???
This is all while working FT.
The reason I ask is that I am getting married very soon and I think I think I need the next week and a half off to concentrate on the wedding. Worst case scenario if I stop working on the PhD for a week and a half is the above. Is this doable or should I be working every night??
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