Right Summaries

I’ve shared a lot of thoughts on the importance of writing summaries as part of viva prep. They can be a useful way to explore an aspect of your work. They can help to focus attention and simplify complicated ideas. They can give you greater certainty that you know what you need to know.

I believe writing a summary is a valuable use of your time when getting ready for the viva, but:

  • Don’t write summaries to give yourself a script to read from.
  • Don’t write summaries to just do something while you’re getting ready for the viva.
  • Don’t write a certain kind of summary if you can’t see the point.

You’re not expected to simply read things out in the viva. Your prep should be purposeful and directed. Not every idea of a “good summary” is going to be relevant for every candidate and thesis.

The right summary for you to write is something that frees up your thinking, rather than finding the only words for sharing something. Write a summary that’s right for you.