There are lots of ways people try to classify vivas. In my own work I’ve asked lots of questions before, hoping to see patterns.

“How long was it?”

“Did you get minor corrections?”

“Did your examiners go page-by-page?”

“Did you find out the result afterwards?”

As a starting point, you could say that my viva was a long/minor/page-by-page/afterwards-type viva. But when I think about it there are other factors that distinguish my viva.

It was long, but felt like it flew by. I was asked to give a presentation. I had to wait about twenty minutes afterwards to find out the result.

So let’s refine: my viva was a long-but-felt-short/presentation-start/page-by-page/minor/afterwards/twenty-minute-wait-type viva.

And it was tiring. Oh, and I was stood up for my whole viva.

So let’s refine again…

…or let’s not.

Questions and stories about the viva help set expectations. They help shape what you do to prepare. They boost your confidence.

But that’s just one side of things. At some point you have to accept that your viva will be unique.

A singular exam for a singular person and their research.