Escape The Room

We’ve become a little obsessed with puzzles and escape rooms in our house. It’s odd because we’ve not actually visited a real-life one yet!

My family has been enjoying mystery and challenge programmes that involve escape rooms, as well as video games and board games that have layers of puzzles. We can’t get enough. A visit to a real world escape room is somewhere in our plans for this year.


I was reflecting on this yesterday and it made me think of the viva and some questions I’ve been asked in the past:

  • How can I make my viva shorter?
  • What can I do to answer questions quickly?
  • How can I steer my examiners away from topics?
  • If I write a shorter thesis does that put a limit on the length of my viva?
  • Seriously, what can I do to make my viva only an hour?!

In all of the many themes for escape rooms I wonder if anyone has done a viva-themed one?

There are lots of verbs I would associate with the viva, but escape isn’t one of them. You can’t make your viva shorter; you can make it better. You can take your time to respond well. You don’t need to give quick answers: you need to give good responses.

Your examiners can’t be steered. They have things they need to explore with you and that’s that. Work towards giving good responses. And of course, there’s no data that suggests a shorter thesis leads to a shorter viva!

Engage with your viva rather than try to escape from it. Worries about doing well are valid, but try to invest your energy in being great instead of getting away.