How many scary movies have come to cinemas in the last few weeks? How many horror shows have just been released on various streaming services?
Around viva time you’ll notice something about the stories people tell too.
They remember a friend of a friend had a rough time. Maybe it was the wrong examiner for them.
Or that person – what’s-their-name? – whose viva was all day!
And who can forget the story of So-and-so… The year before you started your PhD they failed theirs!
Some vivas are tough or especially difficult: there are real tales of bad viva experiences out there, but the vast majority are positive.
Most vivas result in success and most of those successes are vivas that are two or three hours in length, involving deep discussion and resulting in minor corrections.
Around viva time rumours and half-truths swirl about, like ghosts on a Halloween fog conjured from a spooky cauldron – but inspect them just a little, ask some specific questions from people you can trust and you’ll see that that’s not what all vivas are like.
In fact, terrifying tales are the rare exception rather than the typical situation.