100% Wrong

It’s not likely, but if you find something that’s just wrong, then own up to it. Don’t lead with it in the viva, but go prepared. Make notes and figure out what would make it right. You don’t need to be perfect, you don’t need to have all the answers, but you can go with a sense of what you need to explain and explore things with your examiners.

Wrong doesn’t automatically mean you fail. Just because something isn’t right in your research, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.


There’s always a chance you’ve missed something. Not a typo, not a passage that needs editing, but something wrong. Maybe something that is a problem.

It’s a very small chance though. Long odds.

There’s a greater chance that your examiners THINK there is something wrong, or that you’ve not acknowledged something they feel is really important. They might be right, but it’s not a good idea to just accept what they say, or for you to put your head down and insist that you are right.

Instead: ask them why. Why do they think you’ve made a mistake? What are their reasons? What’s their thinking? Because you know your thinking. Once you have both pictures, you can start to see what the reality might be. What sounds like a mountain-high hurdle could be a tiny speed bump. After thinking and talking it through, it may not even be a problem.

There’s a chance that you’re wrong, but given how far you’ve come, it’s much more likely that you’re right or know the way to right. Show your examiners.