Best of Viva Survivors 2021: Short Posts

There’s only a little of 2021 left, so today’s best of is nice and short: in fact these posts are among the shortest I’ve written and published on Viva Survivors!

Tomorrow we have the final Viva Survivors post of the year and on one of my favourite topics. If you haven’t already, perhaps subscribe to get it – and a daily email of viva help – in your inbox.

Short Thoughts On Viva Prep

Viva prep takes more than a day but less than a month.

Prep isn’t knowing everything, but believing you know enough. Read your thesis, make notes, check the literature and find opportunities to practise.

Know who your examiners and what they’ve done – but more importantly know who you are, what you’ve done and what you can do.

You’re not superhuman, but you are superpowered. You can do things that no-one else can.

Prepare for your viva to be able to show this on the day.


A thought: you and your examiners are more similar than you are different.

Similar: all researchers, all interested, all capable, all talented, all there in your viva for a good reason.

Different: they have more experience than you, you have more expertise than them. They’ve read your thesis, you wrote your thesis.

All of these points help the story of confidence you can tell yourself about the viva.

Worth 1000 Words

What do most books have that most theses don’t? Cover pictures! Novels and non-fiction use cover images to help tell their story, sell themselves to readers and convey some information. Theses tend to just have a title. Hmm…

Quick exercise for today: what would be on the cover of your thesis? What would it have to feature in order to communicate something of your work?

Long exercise for today: mocking up a cover might be a useful (and fun!) tangent to explore while finishing your thesis or preparing for your viva 🙂