Faced with a difficult question or unexpected comment in the viva, perhaps the best thing you can do is ask why.
- Ask your examiner(s) why that question is important.
- Ask why a comment matters to them.
- Ask why they think the way they think.
Or ask yourself why. Why have you gone blank? Why is something difficult? Why did you write something the way you did, or do something the way you have?
When you ask why you uncover some of the reasons beneath the surface of a question or comment. You take the first steps to being able to respond and participate in the discussion.
If a question or comment makes you pause, ask someone “Why?” and see where that leads.