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10 Proven Tips to Pass Your PhD Viva and Impress Your Panel

A PhD viva is an opportunity to present and defend your thesis before a committee of expert academics. The verbal meaning of viva voce in Latin is “living voice”. After you complete writing your PhD thesis, it’s time to prepare your PhD viva voce promptly and defend it in order to complete your degree. Although the pass rate of the oral exams is high, it still can be intellectually draining. 

Before preparing a presentation, scholars need to decide which findings should be included in the slides. Remember that you must add only the most important ones. The PhD viva can be a tiring task and can make you anxious. To avoid anxiety, you can hand over the writing task to a thesis writing service, which can deliver the task in a short time so that you can prepare the oral presentation well. 

This article will discuss the most important and proven tips to help you pass the PhD viva. Continue reading to impress your panel. 

10 Tips to Pass Your PhD Viva

The examiners will be focused on finding out if you know everything you’ve written in your thesis, for that purpose, they’ll ask you various, easy and complex questions. To help you tackle them well, we have compiled some expert tips, so let’s get through them together. 

1. Check the Policies and Practices of Your Institute

Policies and practices vary for each institute, from submission dates and thesis evaluation process to oral defence policies of your dissertation. You need to read the specific policies of your institute to avoid any sudden inconvenience. 

Get the information on who will you show your presentation to, will you be able to choose the panel yourself? This information can help you understand the panel and practices, plus, you can avoid anxiety. 

2. Know Your Thesis and Keep Up to Date with Research

You need to know your dissertation extensively. Well, you might think you know it competently, but you don’t. You might know the findings and chapters of the thesis, but you need to know more. For example, on which page does a certain topic pop up for the first time and where does the crucial phase of the thesis appear? Remember how you build the argument? 

One more important step you need to take care of is, you need to stay up-to-date with your research. So much information and its availability change every few months. While reading your thesis ahead of the viva, you need to check if your research and information are still relevant and look for any developments in the field after your dissertation and update your paper. 

3. Anticipate Questions and discover the Examiner’s Work

The panel will have prepared several questions about your thesis work. This can be general, that they ask every scholar, what is your thesis about, what were its findings, and how your research contributes to the field. These questions also include questions specific to your thesis, like on a certain page number, you said this, why do you think so? So, you have to be well-prepared for these questions. Try to apprehend the potential questions and their possible questions. 

The respected academics who will attend your thesis have to have their own work on their academic profile. Reading their work can be beneficial for preparations for the thesis defence. You can get an idea if their work correlates with your research in any way. You will probably get an idea what are their motivations, and their possible questions.

4. Attend Other’s Viva Presentations

Attend other’s viva voce thesis presentations to attain insights and to keep tabs on the process. This will help you become presumptuous about the process. Furthermore, when you attend the other thesis presentations, you’ll get an idea of how to tackle difficult questions and how to be confident when you don’t know the answer. 

5. Make Your Own Working Space

If you look at your work desk for your dissertation and you see clutter, mess, papers, and books all around, you need to clear it all to make it a space environment where you can work easily. Your workspace has to be clean and inviting, where you can find the papers and files you need, easily. 

Your workplace has a major impact on your concentration and productivity. But most of the students think that their energy should better be spent on working instead of refining their desks. But if your productivity does not get better due to the mess in your workspace, what’s the point of working all the time and not focussing on clearing out and organising it? 

If you think it’s becoming difficult to manage the mess and avoid the frustration of being stuck, hire a professional thesis writer to get rid of this tension of managing the workplace and focusing on thesis writing. 

6. Be Aware That You Might Not Answer All Questions

Trying to answer all the questions asked in your thesis defence is normal, but saying “I don’t know” on questions you can’t answer is also quite normal. So, you don’t need to panic when asked such a question. But to avoid this situation, you should gather more information about your topic. The gaps in your work or knowledge will always remain, so don’t be anxious about that. 

7. Practice Your Viva Voce Presentation

Imagine you go for your thesis defence, and you are confident in your presentation, and if unexpected questions occur, you know how to answer them. You might be thinking, where does anxiety go? Well, practice can do wonders. 

Thesis defence anxiety can reduce your performance and productivity. Practice your viva voce PhD with your thesis advisor or your classmates to identify any weak points and improve your confidence in your work. Practising can help you deliver the PhD viva presentation smoothly. 

8. Bring a Printed Copy of Your Thesis

Make sure you are on the same page with your examiner, that means bringing the printed copy of your thesis, the same as of your panel, with the same sequence of page numbers. Ensure to place notes on important topics and highlight the crucial arguments, but remember to only highlight the essential ones so you don’t mix them up when required. 

The examiner might ask to show the supporting pieces of evidence and experiment materials, so make sure they are archived properly. 

9. Discuss the Findings and Connect with Past Literature

Consider discussing the findings or results and data submitted in the research in your defence presentation in bullet points or some other simple manner. Avoid adding them in the form of paragraphs in your ppt, instead present the findings in pie charts, bar charts or graphs. Make sure to present the findings with supported evidence. 

Connecting your results with relevant literature from the past is also recommended. Try to highlight the originality and major contributions of your research properly. 

10. Use Hyperlinks for Presenting Extensive Data or References

Include hyperlinks in your presentation at suitable places to present and provide effortless access to crucial data, relevant literature, datasets, and the experiment process. Having easy access to all the data used in the research will make things less complicated for the examiners. 

Is a PhD Viva Difficult?

PhD viva is quite a demanding and grinding task, as it requires the students to show their understanding of the research topic and judge their ability to defend the results and conclusions. However, it is still rare to get a PhD viva failed; it rarely happens only if you don’t take care of the plagiarism; otherwise, the PhD viva pass rate is quite high. 

What Happens After PhD Viva?

Once your viva voce is officially ended, the examiners will ask you to leave the room, after evaluation, you will be called back within an hour to inform you of your result. If you pass the viva, your results will be sent to the doctoral school, which now will confirm your outcome through email. 

What Happens if You Fail a PhD Viva?

It is very rare to fail the PhD viva, as the students are only allowed to attend the defence when they pass the thesis assessment and are considered ready to present the dissertation. In case it happens, you will be required to submit your thesis again after making heavy revisions, or you have the option to exit with a lower degree, i.e., a master’s. 


Only 4% of students are recorded to fail their thesis defence. However, to pass your thesis defence presentation, it’s important to pass the evaluation of your thesis. After reading this article, you should be able to pass your viva voce PhD presentation with flying colours. 

In this article, we have covered ten proven tips that can help you inspire your PhD defence panel and convince them to pass you in the presentation. We have also answered some common questions, such as: Is this viva difficult or easy? And what will happen after you pass the defence? We hope you will find it helpful.

But if you still don’t want to make any compromise in your PhD degree, consider obtaining thesis writing help online to pass the thesis assessment easily and move to the defence phase.



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