Do none of these things.
- Ask your examiners, “Did you get the cheque?”
- Start with a joke: “Did you hear about the stupid examiners who missed the obvious plagiarism on page 25?”
- Shake a Magic 8-Ball after each question.
- Plead ignorance: “I don’t know how it got in there!” When asked what you mean say, “Nothing! Nothing!”
- Preface every response with, “Well I’m no expert, but…”
- Sigh a lot.
- Ask if you can sit in-between your examiners. Before they answer, pick up a chair and say, “Come on, scooch.”
- Red Bull. Lots of Red Bull.
Candidates sometimes worry that they might do the wrong thing in the viva. Common sense rules. You’re going to have a great conversation with experienced academics about your long-term research project. Your instincts won’t lead you astray.
Thankfully there’s not a lot of bad viva advice out there. Listen for the good stuff, run it past your gut feeling. You’ll get it right.