Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to Pass Your Viva

Those who opt for dissertation or research as the mode of study for their degree or post graduate studies need to undergo a viva session. It is an interview-like session whereby you need to present about your writings in front of a set of panels that are going to give their views and comments on your documents. These views would eventually be the point to determine whether your masterpiece is worth to be graded or not. It is very important to be well-groomed before setting out for your viva session. 

  1. Get comfortable with the settings
·         Before the day of the viva session, make sure you visit the venue the viva is going to take place. Get comfortable with all the facilities such as the screen, the LCD, the power socket and even the air conditioner! This is to make sure that everything would run smoothly on the presentation day.  Always prepare a Plan B in case any technical problems arise during the presentation.

  1. Know your panels
·         Get a list names of your panels (usually you are allowed to choose your own panel). Check their academic backgrounds. Make some background search on their major academic fields. It is best to read some of your panels’ writings so that you can quote some of their ideas in your presentation. Discover their area of expertise. Recognize their background so that it would be easier for you to predict which of them would have the tendency to give provoking questions or which would ask you questions regarding your knowledge. Remember, those panels are there to be adversarial. They are there for them to challenge your point of views in your writings. So, make sure you know their weaknesses as much as their strength.

  1. Be well verse about your writings
·         Make sure that you know your writings all out. It is vital to be well versed in everything that you have written in your dissertation or research. Know every point and inch of your work. Understand each and every reasons of using the methodologies, the techniques and the wording in your writings. Remember you are presenting your masterpiece hence make sure that you present it as the original writer and not merely as a presenter. Anticipate any possible questions that the panels might ask. Make sure you know what is so unique and outstanding about your writings. Empower the knowledge of your subject matter to prove that your ideas are different from others and also it is the latest version in the market. Justify the contributions that your ideas can give to the humankind and the community in general.

  1. Watch your language
·         It is important to be fluent in the language you are presenting. If you are presenting in a second language, make sure you have a good command of the language. Use words which you are sure of the meaning. Avoid any words which are vague and ambiguous or which would lead to any misconceptions in your presentation. Practice your pronunciation so that you won’t stumble or stutter during the presentation.  

  1. Do not use ‘I think’, ‘maybe’ or ‘ I don’t know’
·         Remember, you are the writer, so avoid any provocation from the panels to get you confuse or which would lead to you being doubtful of your work. Do not use the phrase ‘I think’ or ‘maybe’ because it would show that you are doubtful and unsure of your answers. Always have the grip of confidence in your answers. Do not say ‘I don’t know’ whenever you are attacked with ideas which are not yours. Always relate the questions with your study. Avoid any sound of hesitation in your tone and be very confidence in your intonation. Be firm in presenting your ideas because it would portray your ability to uphold what you believe. Always think that you are the expert in your subject matter.

  1. Quote from famous writers
·         Support your ideas from famous writers. This is to show that you have ample of readings pertaining to your subject matter. You are actually building your credibility as an academician when you have variety of readings for which you are quoting in your presentation. Read much and always present your ideas on the rationale value of the study. However do not talk too much of other writers that you quote. Remember, you are presenting your work not theirs!

  1. Be professional
·         Be professionals in your presentation. When you are comparing your writings either with those who have the same ideas as you are or with those who have contradicting ideas with you, do not condemn others. Even though you are defending your ideas and writings remember that you need to be ‘polite’ in attacking other writers too. Use your wits and be wise when using words or sentences when you are comparing others. Do not be too boastful with your ideas. Excellent academicians are those who can present their ideas without having to degrade other writers.

  1. Manage your emotions
·         Bear in mind that viva is also a session where you are being attack not just to test your thorough knowledge of your subject matter but it is also a platform where the panels see you as a professional knowledgeable individual. A professional person more to a wise man who is able to control the emotions. Be emotionally stable especially when they tend to provoke you with questions which may mortify your ideas. Avoid displaying any signs of anger, dissatisfaction or annoyance in your face or intonations. Displaying good integrity and personality is very important during this session.

  1. Dress to impress
·         Put on your best suits or dress. Wear some make-ups for ladies or nice neckties for gentlemen. Avoid any dark colors which may bring on dull mood or gloomy sensations in your attire. Promote colors which may transpire happiness and pleasure. Then again do not overdo it. Be modest but elegant in your dressing. Arrive early at the settings and get well prepared with all the equipments. It is better for you to wait for the panels instead of them waiting for you.  

  1. Conquer the stage
·         It is your presentation day, therefore, conquer the stage. Relax and answer each and every question confidently. Take pleasure of the moment instead of being scare. Indulge in the situation and control your performance. Remember, on that day, you are the actor and most importantly you are also the director. You hold the fort, take control and take charge of everything on that day. So enjoy the moment!

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