Viva preparation is a big part of getting ready. It takes time for a candidate to make sure their thesis is ready and that they feel prepared to sit down and talk with their examiners. Lots of practical tasks and a little planning can make a big difference.
Building up confidence is an important task too. In some ways it’s even more important than the practical tasks that go into prep. It’s not enough to sit down and read your thesis or have a mock viva: you have to feel that you are ready. You have to find your confidence by reflecting on your journey.
While viva prep and confidence building are essential, exploring them often means that we overlook the hardest part of getting ready for the viva – and the one that every candidate has completed.
The hardest part is doing the work of a PhD candidate for years. The hardest part is laying the foundations for study, exploration and development. The hardest part of getting ready for the viva is the thousands of hours of work, invested over hundreds and hundreds of days when you show up.
You need to spend a few weeks getting ready, preparing your thesis and yourself, and reflecting on why you are good enough to succeed in the viva. Don’t forget that the hardest part of your journey to the viva and to success is already behind you.