Final Preparations for Your Viva Exam

While good preparation for your viva examination is clearly important, you should not allow yourself to overlook the more practical details.

Making sure you are clear on these will help you feel in control of the process and avoid any unnecessary anxiety that could affect your performance on the day. And don't forget that if you are at all unsure as to the details for your examination, contact your School/Department as early as possible for advice.

Getting There

Plan your travel ahead of the exam - it will be one less thing to worry about on the day.

Aim to arrive 15-30 minutes early and this will give you time to settle and make any last minute preparations.

Exam Length

There is no standard viva exam length and it can vary between disciplines. Usually they last between one and three hours - but they can go on longer. Your supervisors can advise you what is normal in your discipline.

Things to Take With You

It's a good idea to have a notepad and pen in case you want to make a note of any comments that are made at the end of the examination.

The most important thing to bring however is your thesis itself. You are not expected to have memorised your thesis and you may want to refer to it at points during the examination. However, the examiners will be unimpressed should you need to flick back and forth through your thesis to find what you need.

You should have a good idea of where things are in your thesis and many research students find it useful to use Post-It notes to locate pages that they think they may need to refer to.

And finally...

Good luck! Try not to worry - you can do this. And in a very short space of time you will find yourself submitting the final version of your thesis and getting ready for the graduation ceremony.

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