Being known to every student the meaning of viva voce during their examination, literally means a communication between two parties, where one is examiner who is going to review your performance via putting questionnaire and other party is one whose assessment has to be done. We can say it is a “the living voice” examination. But there is high level of anxiety during this time to face surprise questions, although syllabus is all in front of you, sometimes all washed off from mind being already known things to you. So following below tips might help you in overcomimg this anxiety and nervousness.
Survival Tips During Viva Voce:
1) Relax Mode: Don’t get worse yourself by woking on up levels, so get a sound sleep otherwise you will get ill. Find a way to relax, be it yoga, running, meditation or video games; but find something to help you stay calm.
2) Diversion in Fun: Don’t spend all your time revising. You still need to have fun, or you’ll wear yourself down before the exam. You want to be fresh on the day, so go out and have some fun , really with those friends who are facing the same.
3) Trust Yourself: don’t get loosen up by not trusting yourselg, as whole year whatever practicals you have performed you are the expert; you know your stuff, remember that.
4) A good Attitude Expression: Examiners are not evil bodies who will make you suffer. They want you to clear that hurdle. However, if you go in thinking that they want you to fail you’ll not only be more scared, you’ll also be more defensive, which isn’t always a good thing. Instead try to think of your examiners as people who are really interested in what you have done and who understand all the problems and pitfalls associated with research.
5) Presentable: Looking good will help your self-esteem, making you feel more confident. Secondly, it shows the examining committee that you are serious about your Ph.D and the viva, which of course you are, and you want them to know that too.
6) Thesis/Practicals Reading: While you have spent the last several years doing your research and the last however long writing it up, you want to make sure it is fresh in your mind. This is especially true if you have had a long gap between submitting your thesis and the exam. You don’t have to read it once a day every day until your viva, just make sure you go over it a few times before the exam.
7) Rules Awareness: Every institution is different; for some you have just two examiners, others you also have a convener. In some institutions you might need to prepare a talk to present before the viva. You need to make sure you know what your institution does to ensure you are prepared. One important thing to find out is if you are allowed to bring a copy of your thesis into the exam, and if so, whether you can annotate it.
8) Rectification list: Unless you are perfect, or had your thesis professionally proof read, your thesis is likely to contain many mistakes. After reading it over so many times you often see what you think should be written, instead of what actually is written. Before your exam, take another look over your thesis and records. Find all the mistakes, write them down and take them in to your exam. The examiners will be impressed that you did it, and you’ll be less phased by mistakes they highlight. Plus, you could save yourself some time and correct them before the viva, meaning less time spent on corrections afterwards.
9) Celebration Time: Or get a friend to organize something if you’re too busy or nervous. I was so scared of failing I didn’t want to organize anything, but when it was all over and I had passed I was so glad to have a night out organized by my friends, especially after so many Saturday nights doing lab work or writing.
10) Rejoice Yourself: I know it may seem absurd, but this is the moment all the blood sweat and tears has been leading up to. Enjoy your moment in the spotlight. I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed my viva; I was finally able to get it all off my chest. All the big flaws that I was convinced my examiners would point out were barely touched on, and I got to discuss my thoughts and theories with people who were interested and gave me new perspectives and ideas.


Author: Dr. Megha Sharma