How to Survive a First year Viva

Hannah RobertsThis post is by Hannah Roberts. Hannah is currently a PhD Student in the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences .

“I’ve just submitted my first year report and my VIVA is in a couple of weeks. I keep getting mixed advice from the second and third year PhD students about how easy/difficult it was for them, and all that the others in my year talk about are worst case scenarios”

Sound familiar? That’s because the majority of the PGR population all have similar experiences.

So, what should you know?

Here are my top tips at having a successful first year viva:

  1. RELAX. I was far too wound up going into my first year viva, and it didn’t help me at all. A small amount of nerves can help, but you don’t want to end up as a quivering mess.
  2. TALK to both your assessor and supervisor before the day. It is worth finding out what your assessor will be looking for during the viva and your supervisor will also be able to give you some pointers on what to expect.
  3. READ over your report the week before the viva and especially ensure that you understand the literature thoroughly. I cannot stress enough how important this is!
  4. RECHARGE the night before. Get an early night, put your feet up or watch some TV. It doesn’t matter how much you think cramming will help, you will become tired the next day.
  5. DON’T WORRY. Although it may feel like the end of the world if things don’t go your way, after receiving feedback any additional tasks the assessor might ask from you can only improve your research skills.

AND REMEMBER, you are the person who knows the most about your research in the room!


One thought on “How to Survive a First year Viva

  1. Pingback: Catch Up, 13th October 2014 | Nathan Ryder

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