Taming The Blank Page

It’s a good idea to make summaries on the run up to your viva. It’s great, purposeful work while you make them and you have valuable resources you can refer to afterwards. It doesn’t take much, a sheet of paper is a great start. A blank piece of A4 can be intimidating though; where do you begin? What’s worth doing? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Start a mind map: put your thesis title in a bubble in the middle. Add a couple of branches like Starting Points, Important Results, Background and Key References. Keep going.
  • Why, How, What: an exercise I shared previously. Helps to unpick what you’ve done in your research.
  • Timeline: create a timeline of your success. When did you hit your first important goal? What was it? How did you make your way to completion?
  • Chapter-by-chapter breakdown: take a sheet of paper for each chapter and write “What’s Important?” at the top. Use that to prompt your thinking and analyse what you’ve done.

You don’t need much to get started with viva prep. A little push and you’ll find yourself doing great work.