My daughter has an advent calendar every year at Christmastime. Normally her aunt buys her a toy calendar: every day from the first of December to Christmas Eve she opens the little door and gets a little person or an accessory building a festive scene. Every day she builds up the scene, and also increases her excitement – and ours! – that it’s almost Christmas.

In the same way, I think a little daily viva prep is useful for most candidates to feel ready for their viva. I’m not suggesting it’s the only thing to do; some activities – like, say, sitting down for a mock viva or making a mind map – are too time-intensive or complicated to be classed as “little”. But finding something to do every day to engage with your thesis, to reflect on your research or to prepare yourself in some way is valuable.

A little daily work can really build confidence for the day. Maybe, like an advent calendar, it can also build anticipation for the event rather than apprehension.