Viva Presentation of your PhD thesis requires you to prepare thoroughly. Viva Voce defense could be a failure if you don’t present properly. Learn tips on how to do PhD viva dissertation defense that makes you pass in doctoral viva. Face Viva exam confidently with an impressive opening speech. Keep some sample PhD viva questions and answers readily.
- Adjust voice as per the room size during the presentation of PhD viva.
- Clear Audibility is the first step for viva Voce success.
- Present Confidently viva thesis presentation.
- Do not stammer while defending PhD viva voce.
- Learn how to make an appropriate eye contact during PhD viva presentation.
- Keep ready some ready-made sample PhD viva answers.
- Know how to extend PhD viva validity.
- Never say you don’t know about any question
- Try to give your best from nothing during doctoral viva presentation.
Here are my detailed advanced tips on how to pass viva voce during your PhD studies. These viva tips will help you remain confident throughout your presentation
What is a Viva Voce?
A PhD scholar does not consider completing the thesis paper an accomplishment because they are still required to go through the viva voce process.
Although there are countries such as Australia that do not require one to do so, others like the United States necessitate the scholar to go through the process.
A viva voce is an oral examination whereby the researcher is required to stand before a panel of examiners to defend their dissertation.
This is why it is essential for the scholar to ensure that they have clearly mastered the field and the chosen topic by conducting the research on their own.
During the viva voce, the evaluators are at liberty to ask whatever question they feel is related to the topic and the candidate has the obligation of answering the question satisfactorily.
Simply put, a viva voce is an oral presentation that is aimed at proving that the researcher commands knowledge on the topic and has gained knowledge on the field of study.
When is PhD Viva voce examination conducted during PhD
A PhD viva voce examination is the last thing that comes in the PhD process whereby the researcher is required to present themselves before evaluators and answer any questions thrown at them regarding the thesis.
That said, the viva voce comes after the candidate has submitted their thesis to the faculty. Upon receiving the research paper, the evaluators may require the scholar to present themselves in person and required to exhibit what they have learned during the Ph.D. process.
Therefore, a viva voce comes after submission of the thesis and before the candidate earns the doctorate title.
How long is the PhD Viva Voce Presentation with example
Many Ph.D. candidates are concerned by the duration that a viva voce takes and we would like to point out that it all depends on how prepared one is for the same.
Traditionally, a viva voce is supposed to take ninety minutes with no hassles. However, it boils down to the examiners’ decision and if they feel that the time is not enough, then they can extend the process up to three hours.
The purpose of the process is to evaluate how much knowledge one has acquired during the Ph.D. and whether they are capable of answering questions related to their topic.
Therefore, it is true to state that the length of the viva voce will depend on the examiners. If the candidate does not satisfy their expectations, they are bound to ask more questions thus the process I likely to take more time
How many examiners will site in PhD Viva Examination
Many scholars are concerned about with the viva voce since it makes almost all candidates nervous as is the case of any situation where one has to stand before viva examiners and defend their work.
When one is deemed qualified to do a Ph.D., they are assigned a supervisor who ensures that the Ph.D. process is not marred by challenges through offering advice to the scholar.
The examiners are mostly two all of which should come from the university’s faculty. To ensure that the evaluation process is effective, they are mostly chosen from the same field as the candidate. Although it is not a must, there are occasions where the examining body may also comprise of external members.
This implies that the minimum number of examiners is two but they can be more according to the university’s decision.
Viva Preparation Questions
- What is the new thing that one feels to read your PhD dissertation?
- How do you prove this experiment can change the way others think?
- Explain the validity of your proposition with some examples.
- Give one strong why should we accept your thesis to be authoritative.
- What influenced you to make your thesis stand out from others
Why is PhD Viva Presentation conducted
A thesis is nothing short of a research paper which means that the scholar is expected to have taken their time to conduct thorough research using advanced techniques.
The main reason why a viva voce is conducted is to give the researcher an opportunity to defend their work before they are graded whether they meet qualifications or not.
The first thing that the scholar should know is that they should be able to defend their thesis which means that they should be aware of everything that is in the research paper. The reason for this is because one can never know what the examiners will ask and from which section of the thesis they will derive their questions.
It is essential that the scholar must ensure that they are prepared adequately by going through their thesis and ensure that they are able to answer any question arising from the same.
There are candidates who may be tempted to have other people write their thesis and although it may be perfect, the viva voce reveals the truth depending on whether they can defend the thesis or not.
Be what you are in your PhD Viva Exam
According to many candidates, the viva voce is an impeachment whereby they feel like they are grilled, but in a real sense, it is designed to prove to themselves and others whether they are in a situation to defend their title as a doctor of philosophy in their field.
It is therefore important for the candidate to ensure that they do not fall prey to brown nosing. They should not direct their efforts to sweet-talk the examiners by trying to impress them. Instead, the scholar is advised to play their role and prove to the evaluators that they are capable of defending what they have written in the thesis.
It is recommended that the scholar should be calm, relaxed and confident in their thesis and have the courage to stand before the examiners and express themselves.
The candidate should recognize the importance of the thesis and this is partly the reason why they have the responsibility of choosing their own topic and doing the research.
Never give one-word answers during Viva Voce viva exam
A viva voce must not be confused with a multiple choice questionnaire thus the researcher must appreciate that it is intended to diminish curiosity.
This cannot be achieved by giving one-word answers because the scholar is required to explain themselves as reflected in the thesis. Important to note is that a person’s standing or view on a certain view cannot be explained in a short statement.
The reason for this is because when one is asked a question during the viva voce, they are expected to state their position on the matter. The statement is not enough because it only triggers more questions.
Therefore, it is necessary that the scholar must support their claim by giving explanations as to why they support their arguments. In fact, the primary purpose of the viva voce is to ensure that the scholar can defend what they advocate for thus they should be in a position to give explanations and proof of what they are saying.
Be confident throughout the session (not over confident) during doctoral viva
According to human nature, there are people that find it easy to stand before others and air their view but the viva voce does not recognize that. It is essential that the scholar must be in a position to present themselves and stand for what they have presented to the faculty and the world.
At this level of learning, it is expected that the scholar must be confident enough to ensure that they can speak in front of a crowd leave alone two or three examiners. Confidence is a virtue that must be acquired by all scholars to ensure that they can stand before others and teach them or address key concerns that affect society.
However, the candidate must take caution not to be overconfident and the main reason for this is that too much confidence is interpreted as arrogance.
The bad thing about this is that the examiners are likely to get the wrong impression about the scholar. This is true because among the virtues that a Ph.D. teaches the candidate is patience and respect for others.
Do not show that you are afraid of Viva Voce of dissertation
The human mind is designed in such a manner that it controls the entire body and command activities that the individual will like and those that they will not.
One of the reasons why most scholars fail the viva voce process is that they tend to develop a negative attitude towards the same even before they go through the process.
It is essential that the scholar must be confident and not only outwardly but also inwardly. We recommend the scholar to ensure that they take all necessary measures to ensure that they do not exhibit fear in front of the examiners.
It is understandable that anyone is capable of nervousness while in front of a panel of examiners. However, we recommend that the scholar must pay attention to two things to boost their confidence. The first element is that they should prepare adequately for the process.
The second is that they should develop a positive attitude towards the viva voce. Adhering to these two advises is bound to increase the scholar’s confidence in themselves and their thesis.
My top Viva advice is to practice before one month
In the scholar’s life, before they take the Ph.D. course, it is true to say that they have gone through many examinations and passed. It is not automatic to pass an examination and it requires a lot of dedication and sacrifice.
Although there are individuals that may be tempted to take a shortcut, there is only one recipe to passing. All examinations require a lot of preparation and a viva voce is not exceptional.
This implies that the scholar must take their time to prepare for the viva voce beforehand. It is recommended that the candidate should take at least one month to prepare themselves.
It may seem like a difficult thing to do but we remind the scholar that they have a supervisor who has knowledge about the viva voce and they can offer useful advice that can make the process easy for the candidate.
Dress proper and be neat and formal during thesis viva preparation
The short description of a viva voce is that it is an oral presentation and therefore it means that there must be physical appearance.
Appearance has a powerful effect in that it creates a lasting impression on the examiners and therefore, the way that one presents themselves before the evaluators automatically make them judge the candidate’s character. The scholar wants the evaluators to be on their side and therefore the first thing that should pop in the scholar’s mind is creating a good impression.
It is essential because it may affect the examiners’ judgment which implies that a good impression is likely to yield good results while a bad impression is likely to yield bad results.
It is crucial that the scholar must dress formally for the viva voce and they should be neat. The proper dressing makes the scholar look responsible and in a position to defend their thesis.
Read your thesis once and thrice and prepare sample PhD viva answers
The viva voce is an oral presentation of the thesis and therefore it is necessary that the scholar must ensure that they have a proper understanding of their thesis before they engage with the examiners.
It is purposeful for the scholar to have 100% knowledge of the thesis even though it is common to forget some points. To avoid mistakes arising from being unable to answer some examiners’ questions, we recommend the scholar to make a point of revising the thesis before and after submitting to the faculty.
Some scholars might consider reading the thesis twice sufficient but this is not the case.
Others may be overconfident and feel that they do not have to read the thesis again but this is usually a recipe to disaster. It is our recommendation that the scholar reads through the thesis at least three times to ensure that they are familiar with all the points discussed within.
Learn how to start your opening speech of PhD Viva
It may sound tricky to summarize a paper comprising of at least 50,000 words in as little as five minutes but it is possible and the scholar should practice doing so.
Essentially, the examiners expect the scholar to have mastered their thesis and therefore they should be able to point out the problem surrounding the topic as well as the causes and recommended solution briefly.
At the onset of the viva voce, the scholar must be in a position to introduce the dissertation to the examiners briefly. This involves presenting an overview of the research paper.
Among the different sections of the thesis is the abstract section which was explained as a summary of the research paper. While preparing for the viva voce, the candidate is advised to consider the abstract and use it as a guideline for the oral presentation.
Listen to what your examiner is asking clearly
The easiest way to fail in any examination is answering the wrong questions or failing to address what the examiner requires.
It is mandatory for the candidate to pay attention to what the examiner is asking and carefully analyze points that they require from the candidate.
By doing so, the scholar is in a position to give the right feedback with reference to the thesis. It means that it is important for the candidate to concentrate during the viva voce and they should ensure that they are not distracted by anything else. 100% concentration is a requirement for the viva voce process if the candidate is going to answer questions satisfactorily.
Do not argue under any circumstance (just defend)
It should be noted that a viva voce is not a form of a debate where two parties are engaged in arguing. The candidate should note that the examiners are already professors and they are not there to engage in a battle of wits.
What they require from the candidate is proof that they have learned during the research and that they are in a position to demonstrate that they command knowledge in their specific fields.
That said, rather than argue, the candidate must ensure that the presentation is based on defending the thesis and shows the validity of the scholar’s standing regarding the points presented in the dissertation.
Pass- short corrections-resubmit- Fail after Ph.D. Viva defense
After the oral presentation, the examiners make a point of presenting their results to the candidate which point out areas that were sufficiently answered and those that were not.
The candidate should look into areas where they gave wrong answers and make a point of researching and making the necessary changes.
The correct answers should be passed to the examiners. The candidate must ensure that the correct answers are written as briefly as possible.
Do not write stuff on your hands or hold slip while defending viva thesis
During the oral presentation, it is necessary that the scholar avoids writing points in their hands or slip. It is so because it acts as a way of showing that the scholar has not prepared sufficiently for the viva voce.
In addition, it creates the impression that the researcher is not fully aware of the content in the thesis. Using written points give the impression of someone who is presenting a speech that has been written for them.
The candidate does not want the examiners feeling that they have not done the research for themselves as this would automatically lead to a fail.
How to do viva presentation with an impressive eye contact
A good presentation is one that the candidate commands presence before the examiners as it shows that they are confident with their work. It also shows that the scholar has worked hard for the thesis and they have nothing to fear regarding the viva voce.
One way of showing the examiners that the candidate is prepared and has dedicated themselves to the research is by making constant eye contact with the examiners.
The researcher should also be careful not to give too much attention to one examiner and instead they should keep eye contact with all the researchers during the whole viva voce.
Plan some expected questions and your answers
Whichever situation that one finds that they are required to make a presentation before a panel or a group of people, the first thing that the person does is to prepare adequately.
It is useful for the candidate to expect some questions that are likely to be asked during the presentation and therefore the scholar should make a list of some of them and work on possible answers.
Although one cannot fully predict the type of questions, it is important for the candidate to conduct a research of previous viva voce that have been done on the same field. Also, the scholar must consult the supervisor who may have useful advice.
Be ready to explain the drawbacks of your thesis cleverly
There is no perfect research and all of them are liable to limitations which the candidate must make a point of acknowledging before they are asked.
The scholar must be prepared to mention the drawbacks and explain why they arise. Merely stating the drawbacks is not enough since it will only make the examiners curios and therefore the candidate must defend the thesis wit-fully taking care to show that the limitations could not be avoided.
Challenges encountered during the thesis should be noted since they might be helpful in explaining the limitations or drawbacks.
Make rehearsals before two days of your viva voce
It has been noted that the scholar must ensure that they are fully prepared for the viva voce before meeting the examiners. Apart from reading through the thesis at least three times, the candidate should ensure that they prepare for the presentation prior to the scheduled day of the meeting.
If possible, the candidate is advised to look for friends and prepare a mock viva voce whereby they act as the examiners and ask questions that the candidate feel could potentially be asked.
This process should be done at least two days before the presentation. A rehearsal is important because it assists the candidate to engage how much they know pertaining to their thesis and some areas that may not have been given adequate attention can be addressed.
Never say “I don’t know” Somehow defend PhD viva (Be it wrong its ok)
A research paper consists of a lot of content and it may not be possible to remember everything that is contained in the same. It is common for the examiners to ask questions that the candidate has not prepared themselves to answer but this should not deter them from answering.
In case the candidate encounters such questions, they should not hastily state that they do not have the answer. Instead, the candidate should take their time and reflect on the thesis and analyze the connection between the question and the thesis.
It is understandable if the answer is not correct but at least the candidate should try to answer the question.
Prepare some positive statements of English to use them during presentation of your viva
One way of preparing for the viva voce is to ensure that one has answers to the examiner’s questions. The main areas of concern are the main points and how they are relevant to the topic.
A presentation must have statements that can be defended at all times since they help the scholar to show the importance of the thesis to the community. Such statements must be positive in nature and exhibit backing up of the thesis.
They should be prepared in English since it is the universal language that is applicable to almost all job specifications in the job market.
How to present PhD viva presentation positively
Positive statements are one way of the researcher showing that they have confidence in themselves and the thesis. Throughout the viva voce, the candidate must ensure that they have a positive attitude which is essential because it draws the examiners on their side.
A positive attitude makes it possible to answer questions easily and there is a likelihood that the examiners may not ask questions that put the candidate in bad situations. It enables the scholar to be motivated and therefore they are able to answer questions freely without feeling tense.
Be audible and do not look shy during thesis viva presentation
It is understandable that some people may have difficulty in standing before people and speaking their minds. However, the scholar is advised to remember that this is their dissertation and the presentation is among the stakeholders that determine whether one will pass or fail.
To counter shyness, the candidate is advised to prepare themselves adequately before the viva voce process. It is important because it boosts the candidate’s moral and level of motivation.
A scholar that is prepared becomes confident in themselves and they also develop a positive attitude which makes it easier to face the examiners and answer any question hurled at them without fear.
If you have had any experience with public speaking skills, you can do this task very easily. But unfortunately, you might have been lazy not to learn these skills when your English Teacher taught you during your school days. You need to give your count now while doing your Ph.D. viva. These skills are very necessary to get through these oral sessions. The way you speak is what matters seriously for the examiners or the reviewers.
Once you are through enough to make it, you can become successful. This way you can become a lot more confident and you will pass this viva without any doubt. While presenting do remember that you have to make some preparation for the last two months. This preparation is the only backbone for your viva. If you do not prepare beforehand you will face trouble while presenting your Ph.D. viva oral
When you keep this in mind, there are some other tips, I want to give here. See how PhD candidates do their viva online. If you go on to youtube you will get many videos in real time. Learn from them how they are able to present during such stressful sessions. I suggest you watch at least one video about Ph.D. viva or any other sessions with respect to Viva. This will surely give you fuller knowledge and viva presentations presentation tips about viva
When you want to give Ph.D. viva, try to show respect who are around you. They may be irritating sometimes to face. But you must never lose temper if someone asks you an inappropriate question. These type of unrelated questions are very common while giving your Ph.D. viva oral examination.
Master all the techniques on how to face audience and PhD supervisor during your viva voce. The way you speak, the way you behave, the way you respond, the way you manage, the way you present. All such skills must be learned before going to viva session.
You cannot make yourself a bluff in front of others for simple questions. So in order to avoid this, you must take your viva seriously and make sufficient preparation.
Never lose heart rather increase your active participation in the viva. If someone corrects you, accept it humbly and proceed to the next defending minutes. So Ph.D. viva is not a big problem if you follow all these suggestions throughout the reading on how to do Ph.D. Viva Voce.phd viva tips