As I stood outside the door, knowing that my examiners were at the opposite side, I was quivering. I had worked day in and night out for my PhD and had spent several years enhancing my language and grammar, everything proceeding to this moment: My interview of the viva voce. As I waited outside, quite impatiently, to start my debate, the door at last opened, and the committee head said, “we are ready to pay attention to you”. I walked past the door, took a deep breath to refresh my confidence, and never turned back.
Now, you may think what viva voce is. Let’s learn about it. A viva voce interview, extensively known as viva, is a verbal examination that takes place at the end of your PhD. It encompasses a committee of examiners of both sides, internal and external, who examine your overall work and make the decision whether your hard work is eligible enough to pass your PhD or not. So typically, viva voce is an interview, and there are various ways in which it is being conducted. Sometimes, the viva is conducted publicly – it means whoever is interested in the subject is allowed to attend it. But most of the time, they are closed – it means it is just the student and the committee of examiners.
In both cases, the examiners are people of each side, internal (Someone from your university who has knowledge about the subject but has not supported you with the PhD work) and external ones (generally two to four people who holds expertise in the subject and are well aware of the discipline but do not work at your university).
The duration of a viva voce is roughly 1 hour to 3 hours max, and revolve around questions that relate to your PhD topic that you have chosen. All the examiners present have read your PhD thesis and have to make a list of some questions. It is the student’s job to be well aware of the research and answer those questions in order to clear the viva.
In this post, we will discuss some of the most common things to keep in mind when preparing for the VIVA-VOCE of PhD.
How to Prepare for the VIVA Interview?
Preparing for a viva interview is so much like preparing for an interview for a job. Although you cannot predict all the questions you are going to come across, you can certainly practise putting a positive impression from the beginning of the interview.
Make Sure you Aware of your Research Weaknesses
Let’s just face the truth: There is nothing such as perfect research that covers each and everything. There are always low sides and limitations and they are part of the whole procedure and are perfectly acceptable as long as you know how to talk about them. Moreover, you need to be prepared to tell the committee about why you choose a certain methodology to work with.
Generally, you will be allowed to ask your advisor to support you in this regard. The advisors/supervisors are the most valuable asset. They can help you with suggestions as to what possible questions the examiners can ask you.
Additionally, to the downsides, you need to be able to justify your research approach. So, why did you choose to conduct a survey over alternative options? Try not to rely exclusively on the existing situation (for example, COVID-19 may be a viable option, but is there a better one?). Consider all of your study protocol’s advantages and utilise this information to explain your decisions.
How to Dress?
So are you thinking that clothing does not matter when you are trying to make a positive impression? Well, it is! It is something you should definitely take into consideration. Try choosing something professional to wear, but let it be comfortable. For men, this is usually a collared shirt, though a suit jacket and tie are also quite common. Wear a skirt or trousers with a sweater, shirt, or suit jacket for women.
And when it comes to footwear, wear professional shoes but make sure they are comfortable as there is nothing more embarrassing than feeling something uncomfortable while you need to focus on what you are going to talk about. However, it largely depends upon in which country you reside as there is certainly a difference of standards.
Things to Keep in Mind
There are some chances that you get a list of names of the examiners who are going to be part of the committee for the viva interview. This list can be of real benefit. First, go and check all the publications made by all of them. By doing this, you will get a fair idea of what gains their interest and what does not.
And what will be better than coming across some of their work that relates to your PhD thesis? You can include that in your viva interview, letting the interviewer know that you have the proper knowledge and background information. A bit of flattering does no harm but make sure you don’t go overboard.
Some Tips and Tricks to be Successful in your Viva
Most probably you are aware of the people who have taken the viva-voce interview before., and therefore, you can utilize them for your practice. Now, other than this, people often like to over tell things that happen in viva voce interviews. So, if you come across someone who tells you that it is stressful inside the interview room, instead of panicking, find someone more supportive and helpful.
You can also make a list of practice questions to provide to a friend, coworker, or family member so that you can practice answering them. Even if the individual asking the question isn’t an expert on the subject, they’ll be able to tell if your response is unnecessarily comprehensive and repetitious (poor) or succinctly short and organised (excellent) (good). The more you practice, the more at ease you’ll be with the thought of discussing your study to outsiders, which is exactly what a viva voce exam entails.
Listen Attentively to the Questions
In a viva voce exam, there are a few important areas where a candidate might go wrong, and failing to answer the question presented is one of them. To begin, if an examiner asks a question, do not interrupt or speak over them. Allow them to finish their inquiry before you begin your response (even if you think that you know what they will ask.
Once the committee member has done asking the question, do not rush to answer. Take a few moments, gather your thoughts and ensure what you say is related to the question asked.
Let Positives be in Focus
It’s human nature to linger on the negatives when considering the questions, you might be asked; to try to reason away the flaws in your research. You could have used a larger sample size, used a different research approach, or run a more thorough statistical analysis on your data. You could have chosen a different theme or supplied more information on a certain topic.
Till the time of viva approaches, none of these negative thoughts really matters. The research is completed and there is nothing more you can do about it. Just try to focus on the positive aspects of your thesis as they will make you feel more confident in the interview.
Smile (and don’t forget to breathe)
It is alright to get nervous between any examinations. Especially if it is the first step towards your PhD because there is so much pressure on what you can come across. If your examiners are experienced, they’ll certainly know that you are getting nervous because they have interviewed many students like you already.
Just keep in mind that although they are gatekeepers of your success that doesn’t make them aliens. Possess friendly behavior. Smile and be friendly without making them feel that you’re doing so to hide your nervousness.
The process of PhD is difficult as compared to other academic courses. It requires extensive research, a lot of years of preparation and writing a thesis, and whatnot. Whereas in college or university years, students get leniency in different ways such as redeeming online essay homework help. Therefore, to offer a helping hand, we have incorporated this guide that helps you in dealing with the anxiety and stress of PhD viva voce. We highly hope that our effort provides you with the necessary help that you’re seeking and saves your time roaming site to site.