Red, Yellow, Green

A viva prep exercise to sort out worries and concerns.

Take two sheets of paper. On one of them, write down all the things you can think of that make you worried or concerned for your viva.

  • Think about gaps in knowledge. What else do you need to know and what are you uncertain about?
  • Reflect on your thesis. What do you need to do to feel confident about talking about your work?
  • Think about yourself. What do you need to do to feel good about presenting yourself as a capable researcher in the viva?

When you feel you’ve emptied your head, make three columns on the second sheet of paper. Title them Red, Yellow and Green. You’re going to make three lists, but these aren’t static records so you might want to write in pencil or use sticky notes to capture thoughts.

Red, Yellow and Green are going to be your way of solving your worries. You can’t just leave them. You have to work past worries to help get ready for your viva. Use the columns in the following way:

  • Red: this column captures worries that you don’t know what to do with. You’re aware of the situation, but you haven’t figured out what will resolve it. Items in this column need solutions. Ask yourself what you could do or who you could get help from.
  • Yellow: move items from Red to Yellow when you have an idea of what to do. Maybe you need to perform a particular task (like annotate your thesis or have a mock viva). Maybe you need to ask someone for help. Items in the Yellow column are in-progress; you’re on your way to resolving the problem.
  • Green: move items from Yellow to Green when you have sorted out the worry. It’s no longer a problem. Now, it serves as a record: you’re making progress, getting closer to feeling ready for your viva.

It’s natural to have worries or problems related to the viva. Succeeding at the viva matters.

If something is bothering you it probably won’t go away by itself. Get the worries out of your brain so that you can focus on doing something about them.