It’s not in the nature and setup of the viva that things will simply go exactly how you want. There is so much about the viva that is beyond your control:
- You don’t choose your examiners. You can make suggestions, but you might not get who you really want.
- You don’t know what the questions will be in advance.
- You can hope, but not know what your examiners will think about your thesis and research.
- You can learn about the viva’s general expectations, but there’s no way of knowing until you’re in there how close your viva will skew towards the general experience.
All of which is to say, you can write well, prepare well and do well, but not know what will happen or what the outcome will be until it arrives.
And yet the majority of candidates pass – and pass with minor corrections. A viva could be long or difficult, but it’s done on the day. Your examiners could be kind or questioning (or both!) and still you can respond to everything.
Expectations help to frame the viva situation. Preparation, hard work and the PhD journey help to succeed in your viva reality.