A half-hour or hour of viva prep doesn’t have to be spent with your eyes glued to the pages of your thesis. Yes, you need to read, and yes you need to spend time on slightly longer, considered tasks – but short activities can be useful too. A few five-minute tasks spread between longer pieces of work can add to your sense of being ready.
Small things add up. Here are ten ideas for five-minute viva prep tasks:
- Reflect on a key reference for your thesis and write a paragraph about why it helped your work.
- Think and write down three questions you’d like to ask your examiners (and make a note of why for each).
- Record yourself (either audio or video) responding to the question, “What are you most proud of in your research?”
- Write about a tricky challenge you overcame. Why was it tricky? How did you resolve the situation? What did that help you to do?
- Search through your thesis for five pages/points that are great; put a Post-it Note or bookmark with all of them so you can find them again with ease.
- Record yourself responding to the question, “What do you not know about the viva process that you think would help?”
- Click the random Viva Survivors post link five times to get five random pieces of advice/help/perspective!
- Record yourself responding to the question, “What do you hope your examiners ask you about?”
- Make a list of five things you could do on the days leading up to your viva to help you feel confident.
- Take five minutes to listen to or watch one of the recording tasks from above.
More time-intensive tasks are required to build up your preparation for the viva. Smaller tasks help too. Think about how you can use your time well to increase your readiness for your viva.
(and contrast with 1-minute viva prep tasks!)