PhD candidates are generally nervous about the viva. In my experience, most will feel a portion of nervousness at some point before they meet their examiners. Some will continue to feel it during their viva too.
I don’t know that a person can ever completely overcome a feeling of nervousness, but I’m convinced that they could learn to put them into perspective:
- The viva is important, so it’s natural to be nervous about it.
- You may be nervous about it, but it’s only going to be for a few hours. Then it’s done.
- Most people pass – and pass well – so however nervous you feel, the outcome is most likely going to be good.
Nervousness isn’t always rational. You can feel nervous and be confident for success at the same time. Try to focus on what you need to do, so that you can do well.
For the viva particularly, remember that those nervous few hours come after thousands of hours of work on your part. Remember that, and those thousands of hours might help you see that those few hours in the viva are going to be fine.