Whatever you have heard about vivas, good or bad, specific or vague, your viva will be different.
You may have expectations about the length, about the general outcome, about what questions examiners tend to ask or themes they tend to be interested and all of these are useful for being confident in the process and in yourself.
Still, your viva will be different. Every viva is unique, building on a singular thesis and candidate. A candidate has to balance the knowledge that there are general expectations and unique experiences. And different is OK!
- Different-not-bad: an experience that doesn’t match expectations doesn’t mean it must be negative.
- Different-but-fine: maybe slightly longer than expectation doesn’t mean that the outcome is in jeopardy.
- Different-but-not-to-be-concerned-about: a viva over video, or where you’re asked to give a presentation, or if something is unusual because of the kind of research you do – it’s just different!
If you listen to enough stories you can see the common experiences that are worth paying attention to, but also notice that each viva is different. Yours will be too.
Different but not bad; fine, and not to be concerned about.