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.