• A positive career
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The Examining panel
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• Hand in - Gone – forget it!
• The Viva = Saturday 6 November
• Today 1 October
• Days to Viva = 35!
• 35 days to change your life!
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• Memory is not the mere reproduction of
events – it is a perception on which we
base our actions.
• Two elements:
– Short term memory
– Long term memory
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Short Term Memory
• Central Executive
– Controls the allocation of limited STM resources
• Attentive processes
– Controls those processes requiring a lot of attention
• Automatic processes
– Controls those processes that have become automatic
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Long term memory
• For all practical purposes – unlimited
• Stores information in files called schema
or in individual “flashbulb” files
• Information in these files is changed by
subsequent events and by internal
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Relevance to Viva
• Short term memory not good enough to
store all the information required
• Must be moved into long term memory.
• How? - that‟s the question
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How to move from STM to LTM
– Why it works no one is sure – but does that
• Practice makes perfect!
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Daily – Keep jolly good notes on a copy!
• Line by line analysis of your project – at least
one chapter per day
• Identify errors and weaknesses.
• Develop responses to those areas of concern
• Ask the „What if‟ type questions
• Deliver introduction to the
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• Review whole project – where are your
strong points / weaknesses
• Review responses to areas of concern
• Develop new improved answers
• Run through full introduction in front of a
mirror or an audience - time it – must be
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• Develop your talk book slides
• Make notes on the back of the slides
• Practice using the talk book – the viva is not a
good time to start using it!
• Check professional journals/ newspapers/
internet/ radio for any issue that increases your
wider knowledge of the subject and where your
project fits in the wider scheme of things
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• During this period:
– Make sure you get at least three practice
– Two from colleagues at work and one from an
– Get written feedback
– Develop responses to this feedback
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There‟s a project in that error!
• Remember all mistakes in the project are
yours – take ownership.
• These are likely to include:
– Proof reading: tables not adding up: cross
references wrong: contradictions: technical
errors: failure to meet your own objectives
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• If you try to blame someone or anything
other than yourself you will be admitting
an inability to plan, research and control
• Only option available to the examiners in
these circumstances is to give you another
opportunity to get it right. i.e. FAIL or at
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When you find a mistake?
• Is it material?
– If not = if it is raised – admit to it, tell the examiners
that you are aware of that mistake and have
determined that it makes no material difference to
– If is = it will be raised – prepare a very brief
summary of its impact
• Did you do some sensitivity analysis?
– If so you are probably ok.
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• Get a clean copy of your project.
• On each page:
– Highlight and number possible question points
• Opposite each page :
– Make notes of responses to possible questions
• Prepare your 2 minute finale
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• Finalise your talk book slides
• Learn your 10 minute introduction
• Print your notes on the back of the slides
• Load your talk book
• Learn the basis of your two minute finale
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10 vital minutes
• No second chances to make a good first
– Be clear and concise – no jargon or waffle
– Add information – do not repeat what is in the project
– Explain but do not patronise
– Be confident – you are the professional
– Make it interesting – show some emotion – make it
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• Work the system!
• 2 minutes – why I selected the project and my
• 2 minutes – why I used the techniques I did
• 2 minutes – what I found
• 2 minutes - what I concluded ; linked back to
• 2 minutes – what I recommended and why
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During the Viva
• Listen to the questions
• Answer only the question asked – do not waffle
or open other doors!
• Explain – be careful not to patronise – give
detail only you could be expected to know.
• Be prepared for the naïve question
• Use answers to key questions you are expecting
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The 2 minute finale
• Deal with any issue you may not have
dealt with well during the viva
• Clarify any unclear points
• Do a mini swot analysis
– Emphasise key points
– Emphasise strengths
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• You think you know it all
• You think you have adequately prepared
• You think you know your subject better
than anyone else
• Worst of all:
• You think you have failed!!
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A few tricks
• Use prompt cards
• Stall awkward questions:
– Ask for clarification
– Drink the water
• Defend aggression with assertiveness – do
• Smile – make eye contact – try to relax
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On The Day!
• You are trying to convince the examiners
that you are professional
• So :
– Dress the part.
– You are an accountant – wear a suit!
– It‟s November – wear a poppy?
– You are not on the pull!
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• Get there at least an hour before your
• If travelling- go the night before
• If close – get someone else to drive you
• Leave plenty of time – you need an
emergency plan if things go wrong
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• Use relaxation techniques before the viva
• Use the loo!
• Do not rehearse your introduction while
you wait = you already know it!
• Panic is confusing!
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• Failure to prepare is preparing to fail
• Work hard – it is crucial
• Give of your best
• Remember – you wrote the question!
• No one writes a question they cannot
answer – do they?
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