Doctoral research is no piece of cake and the path is very bumpy. When you are on your way to defend the research and theses, you need to be prepared for it and you need to be prepared for every question to make sure that you impress the examiner and he passes your thesis. Well, as we said it’s no piece of cake but not impossible, right? You can follow the below given tips to make sure you pass out with shiny colors and rainbows!
Understand The Expectations
During the viva and case defending, you will have to face the top panel of academic experts who are going to make sure that you don’t pass out but at the end of that day, your answers can change their decisions and you have to make them agree to your facts. The thesis will be presented to the panel and they will go through and after that, they will ask questions from it in the full-fledged interview style. After that, they will ask for a report which will consist of corrections that need to be made (if any). The only motive behind all this is to make sure that you have invested time in writing the thesis and that the content is not just copied and pasted from Google. So, this means that if you have written it all on your own, you can just relax because you will even enjoy proving your points in front of the panel.
If they get to agree to your points, they might even help you in publishing the papers. But before all this, you need to know that the doctorate is no joke and you will have put up a debate to defend your points and that is not an easy thing to do. So, make sure you study enough, and you are well-prepared for every question coming your way. No matter if you fail or pass, make sure that you listen to what the panel has to say because by implementing their corrections and pieces of advice, you will be increasing the chances of your passing out!
Try To Remember Each Thing You Have Written Inside The Thesis
We have already mentioned the aim of the debate that viva is only to make sure that you have not to copy and paste from Google. So, to make sure that the panel doesn’t feel this way, you need to be prepared for every point in the thesis that you have written. You need to know each point that you have written in the thesis because it will test your knowledge and effort.
While working on your thesis, keep in mind that there are high chances that your thesis will be laying around in front of top academic experts and they will be making the decision if your thesis can go a way forward.
When you hand out the copy of the thesis to the panel, make sure that you and they both have the same copy to make sure that everyone is on the same page (we are saying this because many people hand out the older version to the examiners and that causes issues during the viva). If by any chance, you forget your point, you can look into the thesis to regain the knowledge and no one will mind that!
Try To Anticipate The Viva Questions
People always dread the questions that examiners and panel are going to ask, but you do not need to panic because all the questions will be related to your thesis and nothing else. The main things asked will involve what the thesis is about, what is the point of the thesis, what you researched while writing this thesis, and why your research has a point, etc. The questions that are generally asked involve;
- Explain the basic research questions that you worked upon?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of your thesis?
- If you are given more funding, how will you change the thesis?
- If given a chance, what would you like to change and improve in your theses?
- Where do you want this thesis to go?
Before appearing in the viva, make sure that you have tested it all down (we mean the answers to basic questions) and rehearse them so that you do not feel lumps in your mouth while answering to the questions. Moreover, always stick to one point because if you go here and there, you might be asked questions which you have not prepared for!
Apart from all this, you are always welcome to tell some engaging stories related to the thesis like how you got here and how you started off the thesis and maybe what made you choose the respective topic for the thesis. These will help you make some important points which will in fact, impress the panel.
Have A Look At Your Examiner’s Work
One thing is for sure that the examiners in the panel will be no ordinary people and they will be the masters of their field. You will be given information about the examiners and academic experts that are going to be present in the panel, so, invest some time in knowing their work by searching for their published papers up on the internet. It will help you have an idea of their perspective and you can try finding some correlations. Moreover, it will prepare you better as you will be able to calculate their views and the types of questions they might ask.
You can even read other related thesis and take help from people who have recently given the viva in the same field as it will provide your deeper insights into the viva process and the environment in there. You also need to be prepared to provide evidential data as they might want proofs of your research. Before going on with viva, you should have a look at the available examiners and make a panel of your choice and as you seem fit because many universities allow that!
Plan Your Viva Day And Exam
You are informed about your viva date in months advance, and you will have plenty of time on our plate. So, other than working on the thesis, you should work on planning the day and make revision again and again so that you can focus on the practicalities on the day of the viva exam. This also includes staying hydrated, well-fed, and well-slept because you need to be healthy for the kind of strain thesis puts on you! Moreover, you should also plan the commute beforehand in order to make sure that you are on time for the viva as it will leave a good impact on the panel.
In addition, you should work on staying positive all the time and avoid the situations that can cause you stress or wear you down. A night before the viva, prepare everything that you need to take with you i.e. copy of the theses along with extra notes and pieces of evidence to support the claims in your thesis.
Most importantly, the panel isn’t the devil and they will try their best to help you out. So go with a positive attitude, greet them nicely, and introduce yourself. They might even say a little joke or other talks to ease your nerves and calm you down from all the panic.
The viva can last up to four hours which means that you need to be prepared for the time and you need to be open in your opinion. The examiners will put up a statement in front of you, but you do not have to comply all the time. You can disagree all you want, but politely, but also make sure that you have enough evidence to support your disagreement. During the discussion, if you feel like needing a break, you can pause as the examiners will not mind it and fail you!
We hope that you ace your viva and become the Ph.D. holder! Good Luck!