Ten Questions For Better Answers In The Viva

You hear your examiners ask a question. You have a first thought, the shape of an answer appears. Ask yourself another question then to help that shape develop. Try one of the following:

  1. Is this the best thing that you could say?
  2. What else do you know?
  3. What do you not know about this area?
  4. What’s your best evidence to support this idea?
  5. Have you definitely understood the question?
  6. What could you point to in your thesis to support this response?
  7. When have you answered a similar question before?
  8. What’s the first sentence of your response?
  9. What objections could someone raise to what you’re about to say?
  10. Is what you’re saying an opinion, a suggestion or a fact?

Speech and thought overlap in conversation. While you’re talking, you’re thinking. You don’t need to memorise these ten questions for the viva, but do find questions to help make your answers better.