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Oral defense / viva
An oral defense or viva is an oral examination in which a student defends his/her thesis to an audience of experts as part of the requirement for his/her degree.
How to survive a PhD viva : 17 Top Tips (2015)
Rebecca Ratcliffe from Guardian asked a number of academics and recent survivors for their tips:
- Check your institution’s policies and practices
- Re-read your thesis – and keep up-to-date with research
- As an examiner, you tend to stick to things you’re an expert in when driving the questioning
- Think about what you will or won’t defend
- Draw up lists of possible questions – especially ones you dread
- It’s not like sitting at a laptop where you can edit a sentence as you go along
- Bring a printed copy that is exactly the same as that of your examiners
- Get off to a good start
- Prepare for the icebreaker
- Silence doesn’t mean bad news
- Don’t point out your own weaknesses
- Don’t talk like a politician
- You may need to move from friendly questions to complex debates
- If things get on top of you, use the excuse of having a look at the thesis
- Focus on your contribution
- Expect your viva to last between one and three hours
- Enjoy it
More Survival Tips
How to Survive Your Viva by How to Survive Your Viva, Second Edition, builds on the strengths of the previous edition, with additional questions and exercises as well as information on trends and developments in the field.
Publication Date: 2009-01-10
An Orals Survival Kit by Eric Hallstein, Michael Kiparsky, and Anne Short
It is like standing in front of a firing squad. Your executioners are four professors who are experts in their fields. You writhe before them as they take turns posing questions almost beyond your grasp. The threat hangs constantly over your head: Fail to satisfy them, and your graduate career will end.