Once you complete your dissertation and submit it to your supervisor, the process does not end here. The next step is to prepare for your viva exam. It is crucial to passing the viva exam because failing that will cause a delay in your degree. Preparing for viva is not arduous; it is easier if you take care of some important things and prepare accordingly. This article at The Global News will provide important tips when preparing for your viva exam.
What is the purpose of the viva exam?
A Viva exam is an oral presentation of your research thesis or dissertation. The examiner expects you to have a good grasp of your research. The examiner asks questions relevant to the research and expects you to justify the research findings and results. Examiners deliberately pose difficult questions to puzzle students to assess their command over the research.
Examiners evaluate students’ ability to summarise the key findings of their research within a short period and justify the research significance. Viva voice examination comprises internal and external examinations. Internal examiners for viva voce exams are usually the professors from the same university as the student. External examiners are those who might be research experts or professors from other universities. Including an external examiner ensures that the students produce quality research capable of adding value to the literature.
What Are The Important Things To Consider When Preparing For Your Viva Exam?
1. Re-read your thesis
It is an understood thing that you get to read your viva several times while writing and proofreading. But reading to correct mistakes is separate from reading to prepare for the viva. You will have to read carefully and summarise the key aspects of your research. The examiner expects you to have a thorough understanding of the research contents. So, it is important to keep the following things in mind while re-reading your dissertation:
- Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your research
- Memorise the research problem, questions, aims, and objectives. Structure your viva exam preparation according to the research problem, hypotheses and research objectives
- Read the dissertation thoroughly and note down the key findings of your research
- Identify the limitations of your research
- Memorise the rationale of your research and the justifications you provide because the examiner expects you to provide confident answers
- Read each chapter and make notes about the key aspects. The notes will help you prepare a summary of each chapter.
- Anticipate the questions the examiner can ask you during the viva exam and prepare answers
You can hire a PhD dissertation writing service if facing any issues at any of the above steps.
2. Get a Clear Idea of Presentation Medium
The usual medium for viva exams is oral, and the examiners engage you in a discussion by asking questions relevant to your research. You will have to reply promptly and grasp the research contents well to provide satisfactory answers. Some universities ask students to prepare for the viva exam using Microsoft presentations. Students can prepare slides for presenting the research contents. So, it is important to consult your supervisor beforehand and get a clear idea of the presentation medium.
3. Time Management
Time management has critical importance in the viva exam. Viva exam time varies as per the degree level. For example, the PhD viva exam lasts between one to four hours since PhD dissertations are lengthy. On the other hand, undergraduate and master’s dissertation viva voce exams can range from thirty minutes to one hour. It is important to clearly understand how much time you have to present your dissertation. Time management is important because you cannot talk about everything in a short amount of time. You will have to prioritise and make strategic decisions about the contents you want to include in your viva presentation. You must take a balanced approach that requires practising to present crucial information in a short span of time.
4. Practice answering questions
The examiner can ask you various questions to puzzle you. But if you thoroughly understand your research, you can tackle the questions, and you will pass the viva exam with flying colours. You must prepare yourself beforehand to answer the questions of the examiners. Imagine yourself as the examiner, put yourself in that frame of mind, and consider what questions you would ask if you were the examiner. It will give you a different perspective and enable you to prepare suitable answers for responding to the examiner’s questions. You can expect the following questions from the examiners during the viva exam:
- What is your research problem?
- Relevance and significance of your research problem
- What are your research questions? Why did you ask these questions?
- What are the aims and objectives of your research?
- What is the hypothesis of your research if it is a quantitative study?
- Can you provide us with a little background on your research?
- What was the necessity of doing this research?
In response to the question of the necessity of doing this research, you will talk about the literature review. A literature review enables you to identify the existing gaps. You can inform your examiners about the existing gaps and how your research addressed those gaps.
5. Questions related to Methodology
During the viva exam, the examiners can ask you questions related to the research methodology. You can expect the following questions:
- What research methods did you use in your research? Why did you use them?
- Did your research method help you infer valid results?
- What were the scope and limitations of your research methodology?
- What were the ethical issues you faced during data collection?
6. Questions related to Analysis
- What was the method of analysis for interpreting and evaluating the research findings?
- Did the results and findings help you answer the research questions?
- Were you successful in validating or refuting the hypotheses?
- How did you interpret the research findings?
- What are the practical implications of your research?
- Which recommendations you will give for future research?
- What are the limitations of your research?
Preparing for the viva exam requires careful planning and time management to answer the examiner’s questions. Examiners expect you to demonstrate a good grasp of your research findings. You must summarise the key aspects of your research during the viva exam and inform the examiners about its strengths and limitations.