What if I forget something? What if I go blank? What if my examiners don’t like something?

All hypothetical questions. All reasonable too: any PhD candidate could feel worried about these things for their viva.

But why are hypothetical questions about the viva always framed negatively? I think we could ask a different kind of hypothetical question to help prepare for the viva.

What if you didn’t forget anything? What if your mind stayed clear during the viva? What if your examiners told you what they liked?

What if you had already done the hardest work? What if you had committed three or more years to getting to the viva? What if you had prepared for it?

What if you were good enough?

Hypothetically speaking, what would you do, think and feel?

(using hypothetically rhetorically!)