Know This

At a recent workshop I was asked, what is the most important thing I should know before my viva?

Know that you are where you are supposed to be.

Know this.

You can be nervous about the viva, but you should know that you’re not only lucky when it comes to your research and success. You can be fortunate, but you can only get this far by being talented and doing the work needed.

You have to be talented to do the work!

You are where you are supposed to be…

If you know this, really know it, then the nerves won’t be all that important. You can do what you need to in order to get ready, and you will be great on the day. If you’re not quite there yet in knowing it, think about what might help, make a little plan, then get to work.


From Wiktionary:

Able and efficient; having the ability needed for a specific task…

Sound like someone you know?

If your viva is coming up, how did you get to this point? How else could you have got here apart from being a capable researcher in your field?

You might be feeling nervous right now, you might be looking for confidence, but you’re definitely capable.

You have the skills, now take action to boost your confidence. What’s your first step?

Just Right

I’ve heard it said that the Earth is in the Goldilocks zone for planets. Just the right distance from the Sun, just the right composition of elements and so on. If things were a little different: no life, no humans, no Viva Survivors!

The Goldilocks viva would vary I guess. Just the right kind of comments, not too critical. Not so long as to be over-tiring, but not so short as to make the examination meaningless. Impartial but friendly examiners. No unanswerable questions, but nothing that’s trivial.

Your definition might be different. Maybe you really want the circumstances of your viva to be just right, but what can you do about it? Very little.

On the other hand, you can be a Goldilocks candidate. In fact, if you’ve done the work to produce a thesis then you must be just right to meet the challenge of your viva.