If your examiner tells you they don’t like something in your thesis you have options:
- You could say sorry, and do whatever they say as a result.
- You could stare them down, insist that you’re right, and see what happens.
- You could argue with them and try to show you’re right.
- You could discuss things, listen to what they have to say and put your best case forwards.
- You could ask them, “Why do you think that?” and listen before responding.
And you could do a lot more. I’m not suggesting you could have 100% control over how you feel or what you would automatically say as a result of criticism. It can cut deep, you might not know what to do. But there are different options open to you.
How you engage with your examiners can lead to very different ways of being in the viva.