To find out more about vivas ask people who’ve had them. Talk to graduates from your department. If you ask, “How was your viva?” you’ll likely get an answer along the lines of “Fine!” This will be true, but it will be short: the person you’re asking probably thinks you want reassurance; they think you want to know others have succeeded and felt fine in the viva.
You do, but if all you get is “Fine!” then you’ll feel unsure later. To get more from your friends, ask them specific questions. Ask them questions that will give you details. Start with:
- How did your viva begin?
- What surprised you?
- What was the tone like?
- How would you describe the structure?
- How long was your viva? Did it feel like that?
- What questions do you remember?
- What was challenging?
- How did your viva end?
Ask about how they prepared and what helped them. Ask about what corrections they got and how they completed them. Get as much help as you can from the people around you; there’s a lot of help available.
Be prepared to help others when your viva is past too.