I can’t imagine that many people reading this would want to encounter surprises at their viva.
- A question that you’ve never considered.
- A piece of feedback that makes you freeze.
- A suggestion that you really don’t want.
- A realisation that you’ve been discussing your work for two hours and not noticed the time pass.
- A change to the viva process that’s different from what you expected.
Maybe that’s the key. There are so many fairly well-known expectations for the viva – not to mention regulations – that when something different does happen it can feel like it must be “wrong”. A viva surprise doesn’t have to mean a problem for you though; it’s not automatically beyond your ability or outside of your comfort zone. A surprise is just an event that you weren’t expecting, but is here all the same.
For any viva a candidate has to be ready to meet the expectations they learn about – and be ready to respond when something outside of those patterns happens.
(Because what else can you do?)