One Way

There’s no single right way to select examiners. There’s no best criteria for deciding whether you should have you supervisor at your viva. I can think of many options for planning out and completing viva prep. I have a lot of suggestions for how someone might build their confidence before their viva – but I don’t know the best one to suggest to you offhand. And, of course, there are many different questions that can be asked at the viva, many approaches that your examiners can take, endless variety of situations on the day.

There are so many aspects of the viva that have lots of possibilities and yet, ultimately, there’s only one way you succeed: you do the research, grow as a researcher, write your thesis, submit it, then prepare for and pass your viva.

It’s the only way to get it done.

Ready or Not

When the date is in the diary your viva is going to happen whether you’re ready or not.

Don’t agonise over the date. Don’t fret about what might happen or what your examiners might ask.

Instead do the work. Do the work that’s needed to get ready.

The work will help steer you away from concern and lead you towards confidence. Preparing for the viva is a practical path and not a long journey – certainly not compared to your PhD as a whole.

Your viva is going to happen, ready or not. Choose to be ready.

Unlucky For Some?

If the viva came down to luck, I’d be worried if mine was on Friday 13th! But it’s not about luck.

  • You’re not lucky if your thesis passes with minor corrections.
  • You’re not lucky if your examiners say nice things.
  • You’re not lucky if you feel good about your viva.

Your PhD comes down to effort, actions and talent: the things you do over a long period of time put you in a good position for the viva.

You can be fortunate, but that’s different. Fortunate is something good happening as a result of effort. You can be fortunate throughout your PhD as a result of the questions you ask, the risks you take and the good work you do. You’ll likely be fortunate in the viva, because of all the work that you’ve done, and the talent you bring with you.

It’s not likely that you’ll be unlucky (or lucky).