Ask For A Break

You can ask for a break in the viva.

You can let your examiners know that you need one for a medical or health-related reason.

You can ask for one because your viva is becoming long.

You can ask for one if you’re on campus or over video.

You can ask for one if you’ve had one already.

You can ask for one before the end of the first hour.

If you need one, at any time, ask for a break in your viva.

Breaking Up Your Viva

Breaks are an important part of the viva process. For length, for comfort, for medical reasons – there are lots of situations where a break is needed. It’s right to expect your examiners to offer them; it’s right to ask for one if you need one.

Concerns about long vivas often stem from a candidate wondering how they could perform well over long periods of time. Breaks help. Perhaps lots of worries about “what happens in the viva” follow from missing pieces of information.

You can ask for a break if needed, so that aspect no longer needs to be a worry.

What other worries do you have? Who could you ask to help you with them? What could you do?

How can you break up your concerns so that they become something you can resolve?


A very practical post today that springs from a frequent question at workshops: “Can I take a break in the viva?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.


Bathroom break, leg stretch, medical need – you can ask for a break in the viva. As time progresses, your examiners should be thinking about whether or not it is appropriate to offer a break. Most vivas fall in the two- to three-hour range. That’s enough time that a short break is in order.

If you need one, ask. If you’re offered one, say yes, move about and get some blood flowing.