Your viva expectations are influenced by the stories you focus on.
- If you focus only on one story, the latest story of viva success that you hear, for example, then your expectations could be quite narrow (even if they are positive).
- If you focus only on one terrible story, a bad experience of a friend-of-a-friend, then you won’t hear something representative (and you’ll probably put a dent in your own confidence for the viva).
- If you try to absorb all the stories you can you’ll probably find nothing to focus on! Instead you’ll have a general feeling that vivas are fine, but maybe less certainty about why.
To help yourself, ask a few people that you trust to share their experiences. Talk to your supervisor and other academics about the role and work of examiners. Find helpful common threads of viva stories to focus on.
And remember to focus on your story. How did you get this far? What did you do? What have you got that will help you to pass?