What’s Your Real Worry?

If you feel worried about any aspect of your viva, ask yourself why first. For example:

“I feel worried about the discussion…”


“I’m worried I might forget something important…”

When you know what’s behind a worry you can start to do something about. You could reflect and think of possible steps to take. Continuing the example, possible next steps could be:

  • Highlighting information;
  • Adding notes in the margin;
  • Attaching sticky notes to key pages;
  • Writing summaries of important ideas;
  • Rehearsing for the viva.

These are all possible steps to help. Individually they might not be solutions to the problem, but they could move someone closer to feeling better about the worry. When you have possible steps, you then have to do something.


When faced with a worry about the viva, follow three steps:

  • Ask yourself “Why is this a worry for me?” – and dig a little deeper into what’s really wrong.
  • Reflect and think “How could I do something about this?” – find options that could help.
  • Decide, “What will I do now?” – and take action to help yourself.

Why is this a worry? How could I do something? What will I do?