There are lots of things a candidate could do to get ready for the viva. There’s a few things that they need to do. There’s only so much time in and amongst the realities of a busy life to get it all done.
You could feel bad about what you don’t do, but it’s far more useful to focus on what you can do. Focus on what you have done and need to do, rather than anything you’ve missed.
To start, focus on your priorities. You probably need to read your thesis; annotate it; do a little research into your examiners; write a summary or two; make opportunities to help you rehearse being in the viva.
Within that list though, you have your priorities – with a heavy emphasis on your! As you get closer to the viva, take a little time and reflect for yourself:
- Where do you feel there are gaps in your preparation?
- How could you address them?
- What do you, realistically, have time to do?
- Who can help you?
- If you need more time, how could you make more time?
Jot everything down, make a few little lists and compare it to your schedule. Imagine that you can only do 80% of what you’ve written down. What doesn’t make the list? What comes first? What might you do if you have time?
And so, then, what are your real priorities?
There are core types of work that will help you get ready for your viva. There are many different ways candidates can engage with these activities. Every candidate has different needs, different pressures, and thus different priorities.
What are yours?