Probing & Specific

I’ve built up a small library of notes, slides and documents about the viva from a variety of sources. On a scrap of paper I found the thought that “viva questions can be probing and specific.”

This is really worth remembering and preparing for. Your examiners are not typically looking for soundbite answers, they want explanations. A probing and specific question is looking for details and a demonstration of understanding and competence.

But that’s alright!

  • You are competent: you did the work!
  • You know the details: they might not be perfectly organised but you can take time to think.
  • The viva is a discussion: you don’t have to jump to a conclusion.

Remember too: your research and thesis are built on probing and specific questions. You’ll be able to answer similar questions in the viva.