Preparing For The Unknown

Your examiners will have a plan for what they want to talk about at your viva.

This isn’t a script. They’re not asking a set list of questions like a questionnaire. They’re using pre-prepared questions and points to prompt the discussion.

You might have some expectations. Based on past experiences of talking about your work or because of your research you might think, “I’ll probably be asked about…” or “I’ll bet they want to talk about…”

It’s reasonable to have hopes or expectations, but you still won’t know until you get to your viva and it’s happening. There’s lots you can do to be prepared for the unknown though:

  • Talk to friends about their experiences.
  • Talk to your supervisors about viva expectations.
  • Reflect on your contribution to think about what examiners might want to talk about.
  • Read your thesis to remind yourself of what you’ve done.
  • Practise for the viva by talking about your work or having a mock viva.

You won’t know what questions will be asked until you get to your viva, but doing any of the above will help you feel a little more ready for whatever questions your examiners do ask.