Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Viva preparation.

Preparing for a viva is a different task from preparing for an exam because you, rather than the examiners have set the syllabus, so you have to anticipate the questions, but it's the examiners who create the questions, and you have to anticipate what questions the examiners will create having read what you wrote. Is that complicated?

Amongst things I've done to prepare are:
  • found generic questions,
  • collected specific questions from my mock viva,
  • imagined the questions,
  • written answers to generic and specific viva questions
  • discussed with my supervisors,
  • reread my thesis,
  • stuck post-it notes in it
  • found and read papers written by the examiners
  • had a mock viva with some horrid questions about how I could possibly have used that theory without citing GuruWhatsisName, and how do I reconcile a philosophical perspective with how I've done the research.
  • identified the weak points in my thesis (I think, I hope)
  • learned answers by heart
  • listed corrections (I heard my examiner say at a speech to PhD students that he expected them to have a list of corrections so I'll have a short list of the typos if he asks )
  • presented to my fellow students
  • prepared a conference paper with my supervisors - a new experience from which I learned much
Help is available on the web at various sites:
As the viva draws closer, I want to revise more, but also I'm fascinated by my new part-time temporary job researching the use of a new web site for social learning, and that work draws me in more each day as I get to know the job and meet people.

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