I’ve observed some PhD candidates think their examiners’ expectations will be set way too high.
Candidates can worry…
- …whatever someone has produced for their thesis, the examiners will want more.
- …if you’ve published a paper, they’ll wonder why you don’t have three.
- …if your future plans don’t include academia they’ll put a question mark around the whole viva.
None of this is true. Examiners are trained. They’re professional. They know what they’re there to do in the viva. They’re not there to be harsh or to set impossible standards (that they couldn’t hit themselves!).
The mistaken identity in the viva process, if it’s there for you, is the identity you believe you need to be in order to pass.
The wonder-brain, the super-achiever, the one-in-a-million.
That’s not who you need to be. That’s the mistake.
Your identity, who you are, is enough.