Your Preferences & Needs

Preferences are the things that we’d like, but which we could work around if needed. Preferences for your viva and viva prep might include:

  • Starting in a morning;
  • Reading your thesis with a fresh pot of coffee;
  • Knowing your external a little;
  • Having a mock viva to help you get ready.

You might have a strong preference but, for example, if your supervisor was unable to host a mock viva then you would still go on.

Needs are different. For your viva and viva prep you might need:

  • Advance notice or special arrangements for your viva;
  • Specific stationery or time to annotate your thesis;
  • Agreement that your viva will definitely be over video;
  • To not have a mock viva!

Preferences are very different from needs.


To begin with: what do you want for your viva? Which of these wants are preferences and which are needs?

For the preferences: what can you do to get your preferences met? Who might you need to ask for help? What could you do if a preference couldn’t be fulfilled?

For your needs: what can you do to ensure your needs are met? Who can you ask for support? How can you clearly communicate those needs to the people who need to know?


Viva Survivors Summer Sabbatical: I’m taking July, August and September off from new writing to concentrate on other creative projects, so will be sharing a post from the archives every day throughout those months. Today’s post was originally published on September 16th 2023.