Wednesday, July 17, 2013

pre-Viva Tips


Viva is the most terrifying obstacle that a postgraduate student needs to go through before he/she can take a nice relief deep breath as he/she gets closer to finish his/her study. Of course there are so many more obstacles you have to face such as having writer block while writing the final thesis, manufacturer has delay posting chemicals, testing machine's endless waiting list, moody technicians, someone steals apparatus or chemicals and the list goes on and on...

So far i have go through 3 major vivas in my study life: final year project, Master and PHD's proposal defense. Alhamdulillah so far all panels were good to me and gave me a pleasant experience. Good, not so great but slightly better than doing bad. But then i realize that was because most of the panels were among my previous lecturers. How about IF they weren't my lecturers?

The thing is, i have low self-confidence every time i want to present something in front of strangers. My nervous system is weak that it'll show through my voice. It's detectable. I had 2 experiences giving presentation in a conference in front of few people and i'm still amaze of myself that i didn't blacked out during that time. hehe. I'm more amaze when watching someone with full of confidence doing their thing in front of people while wondering where they get all the confidence. Maybe they got a proper training in school. I wish i can be someone like that too. To be able to clearly deliver your research's results is a skill i need to have before i have my final viva on this March 2014. In order to achieve that mission, i've registered myself into another conference. This time i'll do my best to gain more beneficial viva experience.  

March 2014 may be insignificant for you and 7 months to go on top of that, however for me i feel it coming crazily fast . It's true when you are putting much efforts and hopes on something, your heart is beating real fast when the destined day is getting nearer. Perhaps, is this is the same feeling when future bride is waiting for her akad nikad's day? ----okok,not related.

For anyone who will attend her/his viva soon, i wanna share some TIPS -i have used them before and will definitely need them next year:

1)  Master your research
Make sure to fully understand all aspects of your research. Even the tiniest hesitation will jeopardize your performance. Panels may ask you to explain how's the testing machine work and they may ask you to explain its procedure step by step. During my master, a panel asked my friend to explain how a machine work but she cannot answer it because the test was run by a technician. Student just send samples, technician will do the rest, technician called student to take the results and finish. So, makesure to at least understand the test.

2) Discuss with Supervisor
Many students are so full of themselves and believe they can go through a viva without supervisor's advices. Discuss with your supervisor a week before and show her/him your powerpoint. Perform a mock presentation in front of SV will gain yourself more confidence. He/she might has tips to answer panels' questions too.

3) Prepare potential questions
When you are discussing with SV, ask them types of questions that'll likely to be asked regarding your research. My SV shared a lot of questions he heard while being a panel to other students. Then, prepare a counterattack measure by finding few possible answers and proof to strengthen your result.

4) Practice makes perfect
During my master, i kept on practicing every single day and night in front of a mirror. I think that was the first time i put so much efforts on something. During the actual viva, i didn't use my memory cards that i've made beforehand and the words just came out. Hohoho. well, nothing is perfect is this world, i did receive few comments and because of that viva i've decided to continue study. Panels told me something great and it motivates me to learn more.

5)Have fun
You have finish your research.. you accomplished your expected results with hard-work and full of commitment. Now, let everyone knows about your excellent findings. Like my lecturer says, treat this as ibadah. Viva is actually a place to spread knowledge and insyaAllah you will find ease in it. When you are corrected or panel pinpoints your mistakes, just acknowledge them and change it later in correction. They may know something you don't know. Don't argue. Even our prophet SAW used to being corrected by Allah in front of many people. He didn't deny it, he acknowledge it and change. It's a sunnah to follow his action.

Hmm..i don't know if my tips if are too general or useless. Just take the positive inputs eh.
Good luck to my juniors, Jaa and PZ that will face their master's viva soon.
Good luck to me too!


  1. Gud luck kemi!!very good tips indeed..kami pun boleh bayangkn nervousnya berada dlm situasi camtu..

    1. hehehehehehe... nervous yang tak terkata, mampu gelak menanti hari

  2. Experiencing thesis viva can really one of the most memorable thing can happened for student. And successfully completing it is just part of any thesis journey. Anyway, what happened to your study? I do hope you already got your degree.

    1. yes, I've already finished and got my degree



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