Horrible masters viva - examiner conduct

posted
11-Sep-18, 19:40
Avatar for PlantSci13
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi all. Sorry for this post, but I need to vent, I’ve had a horrible couple of days. I’m doing a Masters as part of a 1+3 PhD. The masters year is based at a different university. I’ve had a horrible experience there over this last year, but things got worse yesterday. I had a viva for the second lab rotation. Whilst the viva itself was ok-ish, when I arrived one of the two examiners had just got there. He and the other examiner requested a couple of minutes whilst they had a quick discussion, so I told them I would wait outside the office. Without shutting the door and with me in plain sight, he loudly began to tear in to my work and proclaim that he had given me a terrible mark for my presentation. I was completely taken aback and humiliated, especially as I was quite pleased with my work this time around. I then had to endure the viva, and I’m not sure how I didn’t break down. I’m now terrified that I’ve failed and won’t be able to progress. But more than anything I’m very cross about his conduct.
posted
12-Sep-18, 08:04
edited about 2 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
I know it isn't easy hearing others criticise you, and it sounds like this person is yet another academia arsehole but to be honest I think you would be best to try and focus on what was wrong with both your presentation and your work in general. It sounds like it wasn't as good as you thought it was and it is very important to find out why. Try and see the rest of it as pointless froth.

I have to be honest that if I had been in your situation, I would have walked into that office and asked them straight what their issue was with my performance in a non aggressive but highly assertive manner. Easier said than done but I couldn't have just stood there hearing my work being torn apart.
posted
12-Sep-18, 10:58
edited about 28 seconds later
Avatar for PlantSci13
posted about 1 week ago
Thank you. From what I heard, he didn't like my project because I didn't use very novel techniques, but if I'm honest what I was investigating neither warranted it, nor would it have made sense to do so as it was supposed to be something that could be carried out rapdily to get lots of data. In the previous rotation, nothing I had done was particularly challenging, just time-consuming. It isn't part of the marking criteria and wasn't an issue last time. I accept that he's correct, it just was never suggested that this was the main objective.

As for the presentation, I'm a little clueless as two of the other academics who were present gave me very high marks, so I'm not sure why he thought it was terrible.
posted
12-Sep-18, 12:33
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 1 week ago
Sorry to hear you had a tough time. In acamdeia (also in indusry), there are researchers who usually do not like work except if is perfect. For example, when I reviewed some papers and gave a good review, other colleagues gave very bad reviews because they tend usually not to like the research of others (and sometimes even their own) easily.
At the end of the day, you will more likely end up with a good grade. The lesson you learn is to try to get used to such hard criticism and try to be less sensitive to it. There is no golden rule for this and assholes usually ittetates us but there are some strategies to "weaken" their effect but they will always exist.
posted
22-Sep-18, 19:54
Avatar for PlantSci13
posted about 3 days ago
Just wanted to give an update: I found out that actually I have been awarded a distinction! The academic in question - as it turns out - is having some tough times professionally so I guess that explains his conduct. All that worrying for nothing!
posted
24-Sep-18, 11:51
edited about 18 seconds later
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 1 day ago
Congratulations. I have told you :). Now look forward and all the best

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