Your colleagues and peers are a great source of help for your viva. They can listen to you talk about your research, ask useful questions and even help you to take your mind off things! The PhD graduates among them can also help you figure out what to expect for your viva.
Get in touch with some recent graduates from your department and ask them about their experiences, so that you can help to shape your expectations. Ask them:
- How long was their viva?
- How long did it feel like?
- How did their viva start?
- What was the structure or flow of their viva?
- Were there any questions that surprised them?
- How did they feel at the start?
- Did that feeling change?
- What were their expectations for the viva like?
- How did their viva meet those expectations?
- How do they feel about it overall?
- What advice do they have for you?
Each answer is a piece of the puzzle. The picture won’t be completely clear. You can have realistic expectations for your viva, but it will be different from any other viva you hear about.
Ask and listen, then reflect and see how this helps you for your own viva.