The UnWords

Questions about viva expectations often lead towards the UnWords.

  • “What if examiners are unfair?”
  • “What if I’m unprepared?”
  • “What if I’m uncertain about a question?”
  • “What if what they want to know is unknown?”
  • “Will my examiners be unkind?”

It’s human to expect the worst. It’s normal given the rumours, myths and half-truths told about the viva for a PhD candidate to expect the worst. It doesn’t match the reality though.

Examiners have regulations and training in mind to make sure they’re fair. You can take time to be ready. Examiners are looking for engagement rather than answers. They’ve no interest in being unkind.

It’s natural to ask questions about the PhD viva. Thankfully the answers you’ll find will generally lead you away from expecting the worst.