Necessary, Not Evil

Too often the viva is thought of as only a negative experience.

Questions, Examiners, The End, Stress, Worry, What If, Failure, The Unknown…

In advance of the viva, for many very understandable reasons, a candidate could expect it is going to be a bad experience. The viva is a necessary part of the PhD process in the UK, but also one that is a little unclear. It’s an exam so thinking about it can be a little worrying. It involves examiners and discussion – which can make thinking about engaging with the viva more than a little concerning.

The viva and the outcome really matter. The viva is important. Hypothetical questions about what might happen and worry about failure are reasonable.

You can’t simply change a negative opinion of the viva. You have to find out more. Ask friends about their experiences. Check the regulations and prepare yourself to meet the expectations you find there. You might still continue to think of the viva as hard or difficult, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience.

Your viva is a necessary part of your PhD journey. It doesn’t have to be a bad part.