The Flow of Discussion

It’s important to remember that the viva is a discussion.

The viva is not a quiz, not an interview, not a question-and-answer session. Your examiners have notes and questions and plans – but no script. There is no big sheet of things to tick off.

Questions and comments are prompts. They are a means to get you to talk. They help you find your way through and help your examiners see what they need.

Questions are not skewers! Comments are not automatically criticisms!

The discussion in the viva flows from your examiners: most of the questions will come from them. But that still leaves room for you to ask questions. There’s space for you to dig deeper too.

And even if the discussion does start with your examiners, where do their questions come from?

From your research, your thesis and ultimately from you.