I knew what troubled me before the viva. I couldn’t explain the background of a particular chapter in my thesis. I understood the results perfectly. I didn’t understand the set-up. I tried to avoid thinking about it.
Methodology, results, conclusions, longevity of research – there are lots of areas that set people on edge, lots of directions tricky questions can come from. I don’t have a silver bullet to solve this problem. The only thing I can think of is practice: find opportunities to practise answering tricky questions. It’s not a plan with a guarantee. It doesn’t mean that you’ll answer questions perfectly. You will answer them better and I think you’ll have less anxiety.
What kinds of questions do you feel you might struggle with in the viva? What can you do to answer them well?
As I said, I knew what troubled me before the viva and I tried to avoid thinking about it. That’s not a winning strategy.