How to cope with a Viva board


For most students, the thought of facing a viva board can be daunting. Viva, short for viva voce, is a Latin term that means “with the living voice.” A viva board, also known as a thesis defense, is an oral examination that students must undergo to defend their research thesis in front of a panel of experts. While it may sound intimidating, it is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in their field of study. Here are some tips on how to cope with a viva board:


Be Prepared:

Preparation is key to success in any examination, and a viva board is no exception. Make sure that you have read and understood your research thesis thoroughly. Revise your work, make a list of potential questions that you may be asked, and practice answering them. Also, make sure that you have all the necessary materials and documents for your defense.


Stay Calm and Composed:

It is natural to feel nervous before a viva board, but it is important to stay calm and composed. Take deep breaths, stay relaxed, and be confident in your abilities. Remember that you have worked hard to get to this point, and you deserve to be here.


Listen Carefully to The Questions:

When the panel asks you questions, listen carefully to what they are asking. Take your time to think about the question before answering. If you are unsure, ask them to clarify the question or provide more information. Be honest if you do not know the answer to a question. You can always say, “I’m not sure, but I can look it up and get back to you.”


Stay Focused:

During the viva board, stay focused on the topic at hand. Do not get sidetracked or deviate from the main points. Stick to your research and your thesis, and be confident in your knowledge.


Be Respectful:

Remember that the viva board is an academic exercise, and you should treat the panel with respect. Be polite, courteous, and professional. Listen to their feedback and take it into consideration.


Be Ready for Criticism:

During the viva board, you may receive criticism from the panel. Remember that this is a normal part of the process. Take their feedback constructively, and use it to improve your work. Do not take it personally or get defensive.


What Happens After Your Viva Board?

After your viva board, the panel will discuss your performance and decide on one of the following outcomes:

  1. Pass: If the panel is satisfied with your performance, you will be awarded a pass. Congratulations! You have successfully defended your thesis.

  2. Minor Corrections: If the panel feels that there are minor issues that need to be addressed in your thesis, they may ask you to make some corrections. These corrections are usually minor and can be completed within a short period of time.

  3. Major Corrections: If the panel feels that there are significant issues with your thesis, they may ask you to make major corrections. This may involve rewriting some sections or conducting additional research. You will usually be given a timeframe to complete these corrections.

  4. Resubmission: If the panel feels that your thesis requires significant revisions, they may ask you to resubmit it. This means that you will need to conduct further research and rewrite your thesis before you can resubmit it for another viva board.

  5. Fail: If the panel feels that your performance was unsatisfactory or your thesis is not of a sufficient standard, you may fail. This means that you will need to resubmit your thesis after making significant revisions.

It is important to note that receiving minor or major corrections is not uncommon, and it does not mean that you have failed. It is simply a way for the panel to ensure that your thesis meets the required standard. Once you have made the necessary corrections, you will be awarded a pass. If you do fail, do not despair. You will be given feedback on how to improve your work, and you can resubmit your thesis after making the necessary revisions.


In conclusion:

A viva board may seem intimidating, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can cope with it successfully. Be prepared, stay calm and composed, listen carefully to the questions, stay focused, be respectful, and be ready for criticism. Remember, this is your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in your field of study, so make the most of it. Good luck!