Better Questions

It’s not uncommon or irrational for a PhD candidate to ask:

  • How long will my viva be?
  • What do I do if I go blank?
  • How do I get out of tricky questions?
  • Is it better to have a morning or afternoon viva?
  • How much time is given for minor corrections?

These are natural questions to have in mind. A supervisor or a friend might be able to offer advice or even a definitive answer for some of them.

These are natural questions for a candidate to ask of others, but it’s better to reflect on questions like:

  • What am I doing to get ready?
  • What makes my thesis contribution valuable?
  • What do the exam regulations say?
  • Who can help me be prepared?
  • What makes me a capable researcher?

Worry, concern and not knowing lead to questions about the viva and preparation.

There are often better questions to consider than the ones which first come to mind.