A Key Expectation

It occurred to me recently that a key expectation for the viva, very rarely expressed, is that the candidate will not know what questions they will be asked until they get there.

There are helpful lists of potential questions on the internet. You might suspect or guess some topics. You have your thesis and know that everything you’ve done will be a possible area for discussion. And you can get some ideas of what to expect from your supervisors, your colleagues and the stories that people generally tell about the viva.

But you won’t know.

That’s not a cause for panic or concern, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t be prepared to respond to a question. Rehearse for the viva, place yourself in situations where you have to engage to build your comfort and competence for doing it again in the future.

You don’t need to be prepared to respond to particular questions; you can be ready to engage with whatever question is asked in the viva.

You won’t know what you will be asked at your viva until you get there, but you can still know that you will succeed.