preparing for the PhD oral exam

patter

As a supervisor it is part of my job to help doctoral researchers prepare for their viva. I’ve not done one myself, as Australian PhDs are typically examined by means of a long report from two or three examiners. However, I have conducted a lot of viva examinations since being in the UK – four so far this year, seven last year and six the year before, just to start on the count-back. And of course I’ve sat in vivas as a supervisor, frantically taking notes and trying not to let my facial expression give me away when I’ve found a line of questioning a bit troubling. So I ought to know what this viva stuff is about, right?

As supervisor, I actually find the formal viva prep a difficult process, as I’m sure the doctoral researcher does too. Now firmly in the position of candidate, she is nervous and…

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