An Alphabet Of Actions

What could you do to get ready for your viva? A lot! For example you could:

  • Annotate your thesis to make a better version for yourself.
  • Brief your friends and family on how they could support you.
  • Create a cheatsheet of key ideas and notes about your research.
  • Discuss what you can expect with your supervisor.
  • Explore the thesis examination regulations for your institution.
  • Find out what friends and colleagues have heard about the viva.
  • Give a seminar to have a little practice talking about your work.
  • Host a viva prep club where you meet with others getting ready.
  • Identify key points about your examiners’ recent research.
  • Join a friend for coffee and a chance to share your research.
  • Keep a record of your actions to help boost your confidence.
  • Listen to podcasts or interviews of PhD graduates.
  • Make a plan for your viva prep.
  • Notice what stands out about your research.
  • Organise your notes and resources for prep.
  • Prioritise your preparation to make sure you cover the important tasks.
  • Question your supervisor about your research.
  • Rest. Simply rest.
  • Summarise your research contribution in a single page.
  • Talk about your research more generally to have some rehearsal for the viva.
  • Understand the viva experience and how that relates to regulations and expectations.
  • Verify your viva date, location and process.
  • Work towards being ready by simply doing things and ticking them off your list.
  • X-out, or mark the days leading up to your viva when you do something to get closer to being ready.
  • Yawn – in which case you need to rest some more!
  • Zero in on what makes you a good candidate.

All of these could help but finding what makes you a good candidate – in terms of your knowledge, your research outcomes, your thesis, your success – is really important. It’s the kind of work that helps develop confidence.

It’s last on this list, but not least in importance. Take time to reflect on what makes you a good candidate.

Remember that success and confidence are founded on your actions – and there are many, many actions you can take to build confidence for your viva.