There are three parts to a successful viva:
- Effective preparation before the viva;
- Full engagement during the viva;
- Relieved celebration after the viva.
Before the viva you need to take steps to get ready. Plan your prep in advance so you don’t feel pressured for time. There’s a lot of generally good advice about kinds of activities help (and a lot of that on this blog). Make sure you don’t leave it too late, but remember you have done a lot already that puts you in a good position.
During the viva take your time. Breathe. Pause. Your examiners want you to engage with and respond to the discussion. They are not simply looking for rapid-fire responses or testing your memory. They need to have a conversation so that you can demonstrate what you did, what you know and what you can do. Take your time. Engage – and enjoy!
When the viva is finished do something to celebrate. Smile. You’ll probably have corrections to complete, but all in due course. On the day you can celebrate your achievement. You’re very likely to succeed, so perhaps have an idea or two in mind before the viva to help motivate you.
There are three parts to a successful viva – after, of course, a successful research journey and thesis submission.
Notice that at every stage the key factor is you.