Both before and after you submit your thesis, one of the best things you can do to prepare for the viva is find opportunities to share your work.
Telling others about what you’ve done helps you think about how you explain your work. It can give you space to practise structuring your research. It can lead to questions, which then help you to think again and fill in the blanks for your audience, whether it’s one person or one hundred.
There are lots of ways you could talk or write about your research. Here are ten opportunities for sharing just off the top of my head! You can probably think of more that would be relevant for you:
- Give a talk, big or small, in your department or at a conference.
- Share your work via outreach.
- Go for coffee with a friend.
- Have a meeting with your supervisor.
- Write a paper and submit it for publication or preprint comments.
- Write a blog post summarising your progress.
- Send an email to a contact at another institution.
- Tweet something short, sweet and simple! #awesome
- Be a guest on a podcast about research (@PlanetPhD is a new one I found recently!)
- Find some friendly first-years who want to hear from someone with experience.
None of these are free: they always cost something, particularly in terms of time. Coffee with a friend might be an hour, a blog post could be a few, but a paper or a talk could be days or weeks of work.
Think of it is an investment rather than a cost. Every time you share your work, the return on the investment will be greater than what you’ve “spent”. Every opportunity you find or make will give you a chance to improve.