Going Back

What would you change about your viva prep if you could go back and do it over?

I was asked this at a recent webinar. I knew immediately what I would change: I would have a mock viva. I definitely spent way more time on getting ready for my viva than any typical postgraduate researcher would need, but the one thing I didn’t do was rehearse.

For five or six weeks I read my thesis, made notes on pages and read my examiners’ work. I checked several papers I’d forgotten and had a weekly meeting with my supervisor where we talked about a thesis chapter. My examiners asked me to prepare slides to give a presentation for the start of my viva.

And while all of this helped, none of it prepared me directly for the simple thing I would spend my time doing in the viva: responding to questions and being part of a discussion.

So what would I do differently? Rehearse. I recommend every candidate do this too!