The R Expectations

Information about viva experiences can be presented in different ways.

I did a survey some years ago that showed that approximately half of vivas were less than two hours. How do we turn that information into a useful expectation?

  • There’s a fifty-fifty chance your viva will be over in two hours!
  • You just can’t know what’s going to happen.
  • Hope you’ll be done in two hours – but you might not be!

None of these are helpful!

There are three words to keep in mind when framing expectations:

  • Is the framing relevant? Does it practically help?
  • Is the framing reasonable? Does it match common sense ways of thinking – so as to be accepted as useful?
  • Is the framing realistic? Does it agree with the information?

Approximately 50% of viva are less than two hours. How can we share an expectation to help someone?

How about: Expect your viva to be at least two hours: it might be shorter, but you can prepare for the potential effort.

This is a big expectation for the viva, based on a lot of data and experiences. It helps to try to express things clearly and concisely. I keep the three Rs in mind when sharing general viva expectations, but they help when sharing your experience too.

When trying to share your story or viva experience, consider whether what you’re saying is relevant, reasonable and realistic.