The Viva Radar

In movies, people look at radar, sonar and other detection screens and as a noise pings and a blur moves across the screen they say, “Something’s coming!”

Everyone stops and stares, holds their breath and wonders, “What is it? It’s getting closer! It’s big! It’s almost here!”

They wait to see what will happen. What exactly is this thing? What do they need to do in that situation? And then whatever it is – a submarine, an alien, a spaceship – arrives and urgent action is needed.


This isn’t so different from the situation some PhD candidates find themselves in with their viva.

“My viva is coming soon! Something will happen! I’ll be asked some questions! I need to get ready!”

But they hold it all in. They focus inwards. They wait until the day nears and they have to take urgent action.

Thousands of vivas happen every year. There are plenty of people around every candidate, not to mention books, blogs, podcasts, resources, supervisors, graduate schools and more. There is no reason for the viva to be just another vague blob on your screen.

Find out what it is and you’ll know what you need to do.