Weird questions in the VIVA: could take you completely unprepared

The VIVA for your doctoral dissertation is for what you have taken all the stress and pressure throughout your research. It is important for a PhD candidate to be preparing hard and anticipate the questions that may be asked in the doctoral VIVA. The VIVA can be described in the words of a scholar as a terrible struggle where you have the task to defend your dissertation before the committee is able to rip apart your preparation into shreds. Well, this all may sound scary but surely the fear and anxiety can be reduced drastically if the scholar has prepared well and anticipated questions that may be asked in the VIVA.

To begin with the preparation, the reasons for which a PhD candidate goes through the grilling VIVA have to be understood. The main reasons are:

  1. To ensure that it is the scholars own work
  2.  Whether the scholar has understood his own work completely
  3. Whether the research is worthy contributor to knowledge and worth a PhD degree

The preparation for the VIVA and its intensity is crucial. There are some important aspects to take care of. They are:

  1.  Get the philosophy of your thesis very succinctly and clearly in your mind. There should not be any loopholes where they could catch  you
  2. Figure out all the contentious statements in your thesis where you feel you could be asked for clarification. A seasoned supervisor is always good at identifying the contentious statements. Work around them
  3. Pay more and more emphasis on the conclusion chapter. That is where most of the questions erupt from. Where you have identified the limitations of your work is not to be ignored
  4. It is necessary to know your own thesis thoroughly. The way to do it could be to draft a brief summary of each section of your thesis so that the crux of each chapter is there handy with you for repeated and timely access. This compiled thesis summary has the advantage of letting you identify crucial flaws if any and rectify them. To add to it you could do number of revisions as there wouldn’t be the need to go through the thesis again and again
  5. In an attempt to free the thesis from the most minor of errors do not delay your submission. Remember, the supervisors will still find a flaw as that is their job!


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