Viva Prep Heuristics

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to preparing for the viva. As every thesis and candidate are different, and every set of circumstances for viva prep are different too, so every person has to decide for themselves how best they are going to approach things – rather than listen to someone on the internet telling them what to do.

With all of that said, here are some general ideas from someone on the internet that might help you – or not!

  • Plan your prep in advance and allow two to four weeks to do the work.
  • Start your prep by reading your thesis.
  • Ask friends from your discipline about what helped them get ready.
  • Read the regulations to get a feel for viva outcomes.
  • Arrange a mock viva.

And very importantly: test any advice against how you feel about something. There is a lot of good advice, a lot of well-meant advice and support for the viva, but it doesn’t apply to every situation.

A mock viva is regularly seen as the gold standard, “best way to rehearse,” but it might not be what you need (for lots of possible reasons).

Read the rules of thumb, explore ideas that have worked for others and then square all of that with your experience, your preferences and your needs. It’s helpful when others share advice, but ultimately you have to find a way to do the work.