Is an online viva “worse” in some way? No, it’s just different.
Is it “harder” in some way? No, it’s just a different set of challenges.
It could be harder to engage. It could be harder to have free-flowing discussion. It could be harder to show your personality over video – a particular concern I’ve heard from many candidates over the last year or so. It’s understandable and there’s no quick fix, but you could act in advance to help get closer to the ideal viva you hold in your mind.
- Rehearse. Use the platform you will for your actual viva and have a mock. Practise with friends. Get a feel for the delays and restrictions of the platform – and consider if there are opportunities too.
- Explore your setup. What could you do to make your space better for you? How would you arrange where you will sit or how you will be? What could you have around you to show something of yourself?
- Dress to impress – yourself! What can you wear to help you feel good? What can you wear to help you feel comfortable and confident? Could this help your personality shine through, even if it’s being directed at a camera rather than across a seminar room table?
Rehearsing is key. It shows the limits but also shows what you need to help you.
You don’t have to play a character for an online viva, but you can make sure the stage is set for success.