I’ve written a fair bit about viva questions before. I’m exploring different angles on the topic at the moment for future posts and workshops.
Here are eight short thoughts that might be useful:
- There are lots and lots of lists of common viva questions. Google it. There’s no reason for anyone to go to the viva ignorant of what could come up.
- There are lots and lots of questions you could be asked about your thesis which won’t be on any of those lists.
- You can’t practise every potential viva question.
- You could reflect and practise a few in particular on explaining your research or methodology.
- You can practise answering unexpected questions so you get comfortable in thinking through questions you’ve never considered before.
- You don’t have to answer a question immediately without pause or asking for clarification.
- You don’t have to answer a question without making a note of it first.
- Every question in the viva is being asked for a reason.
Number 5 is important. You can gain confidence by knowing that you can answer questions in viva-like conditions. Mock vivas, conversations with friends, giving seminars – there are lots of opportunities. Go find them.