There’s several strands running through how prepared a candidate could feel for the viva. You might know your thesis back-to-front, but be worried about answering questions. You could feel shaky on what vivas are actually like, but feel certain that you know about your examiners’ research interests.
Building on this post from last year, here’s a quick exercise to help you get a grip on how you’re doing and what you could do to boost your confidence. Give yourself a mark out of ten for each of the following:
- Awareness of your field;
- Knowledge of your research;
- Confidence in your abilities as a researcher;
- Confidence in what you’ve written in your thesis;
- Ability to answer questions and discuss your research;
- Awareness of your examiners’ research;
- Certainty about viva expectations.
Which is highest? Why? Can you be even better or have greater confidence?
Which is lowest? Why? What’s your plan for that particular aspect?
For all of these, how could you increase your mark by one point? What steps could you take? Who could you ask for help?
Now, what will you actually do?