I wrote a post about how I was preparing for my Viva and I said that I would reflect on this preparation after my Viva experience.
I had read in other PhD blog posts that they had over prepared for their Viva and I must say that I completely agree. I spent a lot of time and read a lot of additional research papers to try and pre-empt any questions the examiners may have. I addressed all of my examiner comments and annotated a printed out version of my thesis and also completed a ‘response to comments’ table. I didn’t look at this table once and I also didn’t open my bound thesis once during the defense. This isn’t to say that the preparation was a waste of time. As I had addressed the comments prior to my Viva, I have very little work to do on my thesis before it will officially get conferred. Responding to the comments also meant that I really threw myself back into my thesis and really felt on top of the content.
Two aspects of my preparation that I am particularly thankful for doing were:
- Practicing my introduction spiel over and over again. I practiced this 5 minute overview of my thesis at least twice a day for 3 weeks. I practiced in the shower, while driving, in bed etc. etc. This meant that I was confident at the start of the Viva which allowed me to relax for the Q&A aspect.
- The Viva Cards and Question practice- Although I was not asked any of the questions on the viva cards or that Steve threw at me, as we practiced so many questions I was able to integrate answers I had practiced into the Viva.