Preferences are the things that we’d like, but which we could work around if needed. Preferences for your viva and viva prep might include:
- Starting in a morning;
- Reading your thesis with a fresh pot of coffee;
- Knowing your external a little;
- Having a mock viva to help you get ready.
You might have a strong preference but, for example, if your supervisor was unable to host a mock viva then you would still go on.
Needs are different. For your viva and viva prep you might need:
- Advance notice or special arrangements for your viva;
- Specific stationery or time to annotate your thesis;
- Agreement that your viva will definitely be over video;
- To not have a mock viva!
Preferences are very different from needs.
To begin with: what do you want for your viva? Which of these wants are preferences and which are needs?
For the preferences: what can you do to get your preferences met? Who might you need to ask for help? What could you do if a preference couldn’t be fulfilled?
For your needs: what can you do to ensure your needs are met? Who can you ask for support? How can you clearly communicate those needs to the people who need to know?