Good Preparation

Viva prep is the work you do to help yourself feel ready. It’s a set of relatively simple tasks and activities like reading your thesis, rehearsing for the viva, making summaries. There are a lot of options for how you can approach things and when you combine all of the work together it’s relatively small in comparison to the rest of your PhD.

What helps make viva prep good?

You do.


As you begin, think about your situation: your work, your responsibilities and your commitments. How can you plan to do your viva prep in a way that won’t overload you?

Think about how and when you will get your prep done: what can you do to make that time effective? What can you do to work with the amount of energy or focus you might have available?

Explore your own preferences: if you need to read your thesis, for example, how will that work well for you? Will you read it for a chapter per day for a week? Will you take an afternoon to read it all?


There are specific tasks that help someone get ready for their viva. How you do the work, when you do the work and the circumstances you create for that will show you how good that preparation is. Good viva prep doesn’t follow a masterplan for all candidates. Good viva prep is personal: shaping the tasks to your circumstances and doing it with as little stress as possible.