One Size Does Not Fit All

There’s no single way for someone to get ready for the viva. I wish I could say there was a specific sequence of tasks that would help every candidate get ready. If only it were as simple as saying, “Sit down at 3pm every day and do 45 minutes of…”

Every candidate’s life and circumstances present opportunities. In your situation, find the pockets of time and quiet; use them to get ready. Look at what you’ve done and how you feel, and figure out for yourself how much you have to give now to be prepared.

To get ready a candidate needs to read their thesis. When it’s your time you have to find the best occasions to do the work: an afternoon off or an hour per day for a week? A chapter per night or when you’re on the train? You have to decide.

Every candidate will benefit from annotating their thesis. For your research and your thesis you have to understand what’s there and decide what might help you before you add notes, bookmarks and highlights. There are hundreds of things you might do to annotate your thesis: you have to decide on the handful of things that will help you.

All candidates need to rehearse for their viva. You’ll know whether what’s best for you is a mock viva or lots of conversations with friends. If you have a mock viva you’ll figure out what the best time is for you and what you need to get from that experience.

There is no single way for every candidate to get ready for their viva. There’s a set of tasks and activities that generally help with preparation; take these onboard and then figure out for your situation the right times, places and specifics you need to help you be ready.