Be careful when you come to generalise your probable viva experience.

Regulations, viva stories and hearing about vivas from your department all have a role to play in building up your personal expectations. Be sure you have enough suitable information to build your expectations.

This idea also counts for when you think about your work.

You can’t generalise past experiences and responses to your research directly to your viva. Seminars, and past discussions don’t dictate what your examiners might make of your research. If you’ve had tricky meetings or difficult conference talks in the past that doesn’t have to define your future viva experience.


Read regulations, ask people you can trust and build up a good picture of what to expect. Reflect on your journey and remember that you have grown throughout the process.

You are capable, you are good enough and you must have made something by now.

That’s a reasonable generalisation to make about someone close to their viva.