Nervousness about the viva sometimes comes from feeling unprepared or unsure about the quality of research, but often it comes from just not knowing enough about the viva itself. This is understandable: you need to see a target to aim for it. Without something tangible to aim for you can’t easily reach success.
The viva is made out to be a big unknown, but in reality there are lots of place to find out more information:
- Your institution’s guidelines;
- Your supervisor(s);
- Recent graduates from your department;
- People from your wider network;
- Even random blog-people and Twitter-folk!
There’s no reason for the viva to be a mystery. Think about what you do and don’t know about it, then find ways to fill in the blanks. Learn about expectations, norms and what to do.
Then you can hit the target.