I’m recording two new episodes of the podcast this week. I plan to record several more interviews in the next few weeks too. I like that the bulk of the podcast’s archive is about sharing stories and experiences, but I’m also happy that there’s been space now and then to do things which are a bit different – like the Academic Jobs Specials, the chances to reconnect with past guests, and the Ask An Examiner special. Last year I tried a Q&A episode, and while only a few questions came in, it ended up being one of the most downloaded and listened to episodes that I released last year.
Everyone loves a sequel
Since we’re at the start of a new year, it seemed like a good time to return to this and do another episode which is all about answering your questions about the viva. So:
- Got questions about effective viva preparation? Ask!
- Want to know about viva expectations in the UK? Ask!
- Thought about doing a podcast but unsure of where to start? I’m happy to help!
- Got ideas for future episodes you want to throw past me? Please do!
- Curious about how a shy pure mathematician ended up interested in the viva? I’m happy to talk about it!
Whatever you want to know, please ask, either in the comments on this post, or by tweeting at me. Or you could email me, but in any case you’ve got until February 8th 2017 to get questions in to me. I plan to record the podcast soon after that, with an eye to publish on Monday 13th February.
Really: this episode won’t work without your questions. Just let me know what you’d like me to cover. If you don’t have a specific question, but rather a general theme, that’s fine too – just let me know. Thanks for reading this post, please share it with others who might have questions!
Happy New Year!
Let’s start with something fun 🙂 If you want to save yourself some money on viva preparation books then go check out Books right now! The Viva Prep Handbook is £2.49 delivered to your door and you can get that and Fail Your Viva for only £8.99. They’re on this special offer until my birthday on January 18th; do check them out!
2016 on the podcast micro-review!
Last year was a good one on the podcast. There were fewer visitors to the site but there were also fewer new episodes because of work and time commitments at my end. Despite that, there was a greater number of downloads and listens than 2015! So fewer people visiting, but people exploring a lot more of the archive, listening to stories of PhD research and viva experience. The number one episode of 2016 was Episode 59, where I chatted to @DrHelenKara about life as an independent researcher. Plus we talked about our book that we published in May, Self-Publishing For Academics!
Coming up in 2017!
I’m planning the schedule now and I’ll record new episodes soon. The first new episode will debut in February, and I’m looking for people who want to share their story in the next few months. One of the first episodes will be a second Q&A episode. I’ll write a post in the next few weeks to start getting your questions about the viva, the podcast and anything you want to know that I might be able to help with. If there are any questions in your head now then email or tweet at me!
Back to the Sale!
That’s nearly all for this post, but please do go and check out my January Sale of viva preparation books: the ultra-concise Viva Prep Handbook is £2.49 delivered! 3000 words of viva preparation help condensed down from six years of workshops that I’ve delivered all around the UK.
Plus you can get that bundled with Fail Your Viva for £8.99. Fail Your Viva first came out four years ago as an ebook in the Kindle Store. It has some pretty good reviews on the Kindle Store, but since Day 1 of the release I’ve had people asking about a print edition. Very happy to have helped people with that in the last year, and you can get it now bundled with The Viva Prep Handbook, delivered, for £8.99. All of these offers are only for the next two weeks, so get them at these prices while you can.
If your viva is coming up, check out the archive for stories of people who have been there and got it done. If you need some more help then either email me or check out one of my books or ebooks. And if you want to share your research journey and viva experiences then drop me a line and come on the podcast.
It’s been some time since I’ve posted a new episode, and I’m sorry to say that there might not be another before the end of 2016. Episode 63 came out a few days before we went on a family holiday. When we came back we had the convergence of a busy work period and our daughter started nursery, which has added a new adjustment to the flow of our daily lives here at Casa Ryder.
It dawned on me recently that I had forgotten to follow up with a few people who had volunteered to come on the podcast – and then it dawned on me that I had forgotten to even promote the podcast through the Twitter feed. Recently, I’ve been working on a few new projects and a few old ideas, and the podcast has slipped through the cracks as a result.
So what now?
- I need to spend time to shake up the design of the site and get the Other Resources page up to date;
- I need to follow up with people who have volunteered to come on the podcast and share their experiences;
- I need to book a window in my diary to start a new research project and I want to ask both for your help to promote it, and for question ideas;
- And I need to do another Q&A episode, because I enjoyed the challenge of making the first one.
If I spend a bit of time now and think it through, make a proper plan, then I can get 2017 off to a good start!
In the mean time…
…if you’ve been in touch before about coming on the podcast, expect an email in the near future. If you’d like to come on and share your research and viva experiences, then please get in touch. If you’re looking for viva experiences from a wide range of PhD graduates then check out the Archive. And if you’re looking for a bit of extra support then check out my ebooks and print offerings – including the ultra-concentrated Viva Prep Handbook!
Thanks for reading, thanks for your support and thanks for listening to the podcast.
Last week I delivered my independent Viva Survivor workshop. I’ve been excited about the possibility for a long time, and to finally do something in this way was great. I’ll try to write something about it soon, but wanted instead today to share something that I made for the workshop: The Viva Prep Handbook.
It started life as wanting to do a nice two-page handout for participants. It grew into a small zine, a 12-page booklet dense with practical viva preparation. It’s concise, around 3000 words, and I really like how it turned out. Here’s how it begins:
It may be that you have a luxury of time available to you between submission and the viva. It is more likely that you may have no choice but to prepare in your spare time because of work or life circumstances. This is not a problem. Why? Because this is how many PhD graduates have prepared for the viva. You can do it too.
Through the rest of this concise book I will be presenting tools and processes that you can break down into small, manageable tasks and activities. Viva preparation is not a full time job: follow these tips, tools and processes to manage your time and energy well.
You can see more about it over on the Books page, along with the print edition of my first book Fail Your Viva. It costs £3.49 to have one delivered to your door (and there are options if you want to buy it in bulk too, or buy it with Fail Your Viva). Sales help to support the podcast’s overheads and my business. I like the short but useful format of the zine, and I think I will make a few more guides like this before the end of the year.
If The Viva Prep Handbook sounds useful to you, go ahead and order a copy from the Books page – or via the Paypal button at the bottom of this post – I’ll get it in the post to you as soon as possible! And if you want to know more, just drop me an email.
Thanks for reading.
A week ago I announced my viva preparation workshop, Viva Survivor, which is taking place on June 29th in Manchester. I’ve been delivering these workshops in universities for six years, but this is the first time that I’ll be offering it directly to PhD candidates – and I want to make it extra special for people who are coming. Over the next four weeks I’ll be blogging here and over on my work blog about the behind the scenes things as I prepare for this workshop; this is my first update over here, so let’s recap:
- I’m delivering the workshop on June 29th, and full details and booking info are on this Eventbrite page.
- I’ve explored the why of the workshop a little in a blog post last week – I want to offer something valuable to PGRs who I might not normally be able to connect with, and I want to stretch myself with an interesting challenge.
- Yesterday I shared something about Ziferblat, the great venue in Manchester that will be our host for the workshop.
I’m writing a blog post soon for my main work blog about books, but here is a sneak peek: I’ve created a paperback print run for my first book Fail Your Viva!
Participants at the workshop will receive a copy as part of their participant pack, and I made a print run of 100 copies to be able to offer the book directly. I’ve created a books page where you can order them from me, and have a stack of padded envelopes ready and waiting to send them on their way. I love reading books on my Kindle, but there’s something awesome about a print book. If print is more your thing, then maybe this is what you’ve been looking for! Check here for more details.
I have some more great things to share about the workshop over the coming weeks – and plus next week the podcast is four years old, so I’ll do something fun over the week to celebrate that 🙂
Thanks for reading – check out the Eventbrite page for more details, and if you know someone who might be interested then feel free to share this with them!