Eight Thoughts About Viva Stress

It’s normal to be a bit nervous about the viva. If you’re persistently feeling stressed as you approach the viva, you need to do something. Here are several ideas to help:

  1. Take a break. Step back from prep and do something you know helps you to relax.
  2. Reflect on how long you’ve been doing your PhD. You’ve not got this far by being lucky.
  3. Reflect on how short the viva is compared to how long you’ve been doing your PhD.
  4. When you can, gently read your thesis and focus on all of the good stuff to begin with.
  5. Visualise yourself crossing the stage at graduation. It’s not far away.
  6. Talk about it with someone you trust, someone who will listen before they offer advice.
  7. Write down exactly what is stressing for you about the viva. What can you do?
  8. Make a list of five things that help you to feel confident. Which of them can you do regularly between now and the viva?

Some people see stress as an endpoint. I try, not always successfully, to use it as a motivator: “I feel stressed. What do I need to do about that?”

Do you feel stressed about the viva? If so, what are you going to do about it?