Viva Tips : Things To Consider When Preparing For Your Viva Exam

Viva Tips


The viva voce is colloquially known as the ‘‘viva’’or ‘‘oral’’ is performed in the form of an interview between examiners and students. While it has its caveats, viva holds a prolonged history of use among undergraduate and postgraduate students and by the institution. Beyond written exams, Viva demands a special skill set from the interviewee.

The viva examination is the culmination process in the PhD process. In the paper, Jack (2002) looks at different stages of preparation for a comprehensive gain of insights of university procedure of viva and considering the value of having viva. Tsay (2013) found that music experts are influenced more by vision than by the sound of pianists, but in terms of assessments, the performance process (behaviour) is significantly more important than content (music). According to Selzer (2015), a similar effect was seen in medical students when examiners were presented with video and viva transcriptions. Disparities appeared when marks were allocated according to video recordings. In practical life, viva solely is not marked on behalf of transcripts, therefore the examiner is required to rely on more candidates literal responses than would be more than words.

Assessors can be too quick to form an impression. A study on MRCGP oral examiners revealed assessors can form an impression, sometimes judgements as soon as candidates open up her mouth for 3o seconds. Drawing from a range of impressions, Woods (2013) concluded from recent literature on first impression i.e. more likely making a compelling case, Necessarily, this raises an issue of fairness and institution should be on guard for ensuring fairly exam process. Undoubtedly, examiners prefer viva voce as its objective, tangible, measurable and most significantly more comprehensive in relation to competencies. However as we discussed above performance process is critically important during viva and makes it equally challenging, in given the below section, we have presented a guide that can provide a structure to master viva  that might helps in building skills.

The Final Hurdle- Preparation For Viva

Heading towards submitting a thesis is a massive achievement, but it’s not the end of a journey, next a student needs to prepare for a gruelling hurdle intellectually i.e. viva (Ratcliff, 2013). Viva is a formal process to ensure there is no plagiarism and student completely understand what he has written during thesis making. For thesis assignment help student can take help from SourceEssay thesis help experts online. Jack (2003) said, viva involves lots of questions, conceptually looks like a debate that is infamously terrible. Penny Tinkler and Carolyn Jackson, authors of the Doctoral Examination process opined, institutional policies and practices vary greatly, therefore finding who is going to take viva and how many they are personal benefits in some way. The actual paper of Jack (2003) explored viva in-depth and makes suggestions to deal effectively while questioning examiners. According to him, the process of examining a student and their thesis is surrounded with challenges also with different agendas, ideologies and perspectives. Thereby one must look into the agenda of keeping the viva relook over the something that may create problems during explaining thesis work. Sometimes who and whatever examiners specialize in might indicate the probability of targeted questions to be asked. For viva help students can also take help from SourceEssay assignment help experts online .

Standarized Viva Voce Examination – Rate of Students Responses

Like PhD courses, Viva-voce Examination is considered an important evaluation process that mainly assess the cognitive domain of student and if structured well aid fairly evaluation process. Traditional oral examination was a practice that remains and followed by several universities in different countries, however over time, an oral examination has been evolved and come out with standardized structured viva voce examination.

The objective and content of standardized viva voce examination have comprised directly involving patient management questions to checklist based evaluation to objective structured clinical examinations or critical reading of the paper. Assessment and learning are interlinked and just by applying viva voice, you can reorient the student focus to the content. In a study of 2nd Year MBBS students, Imran, (2019) found, 60% of the students were marked erroneously during conducting the unstructured oral examination. In that case, when the author compared the responses of students with examiners, he found structured viva voice is less discriminatory and provided a wide range of coverages, reducing anxiety further improving teachers -students relationships.

Table 1: Frequency of students Responded to increasing di1fficulties in structured viva voice examination

Level of DomainEasyModerate
Number of Student8451
% of student62.237.7
Students answered only one part331
Source- Imran (2019)

Table 1 depicts the frequency of students responding to increasing difficulties in structured viva voce examination. Among 130 students, there were only 33 students who are able to answer basic queries related to recognition and cognition, there is the progressive decline has been identified when difficulties of the questionnaire rose. It can be also observed the number of students who attempted moderate questions reduces however there is a single student who exclusively answered the questions of higher domain level.

Thus Imran (2019) study reflects SVV is a good tool to assess students capabilities, supports a uniform evaluation process and provides strong evidence why it is adopted widely by Universities on such a large scale.

As the popularity of the SVV increases, attempting difficulties is the only way to improve performance along with getting clearance in concepts. Paying attention to the difficulties of SVV not only for examination but for the interviews, one can improve lifelong skills a student must uphold. To support the students with a range of viva voce difficulties, we have drawn a range of TIPS, one can make use of it at any level of the academic year.

TIP 1 Behave Professionally

Viva is a new brigade, tells you are the person first and then exam candidate

Politeness, humility and respect are the hallmarks of good manners. On entering the examination room, there might be the possibility of shaking hands. Chaplin (2000) said a firm handshake will make a good impression, gripping while looking at the eye of the interviewer will reflect confidence.

Salzer (2015) said, fidgeting can negatively influence impression, therefore a candidate needs to keep on checking appropriate gesture use, hand motion, which confers motivation to use social skills. Henceforth the position while seating at front of the interview should be erect as well as comfortable. 

According to essay rewriter a candidate should not be afraid of Smiling. Sometimes smiles generate sleniency principally by increasing perceived trustworthiness. It should be better to say a gentle smile is better for context or concept. 

TIP 2 Professional Appearance

Professional Appearance including personal attire, grooming is strongly connected with the ratings. Woods (2013) said, it would be the first impression, a candidate makes on the examiner that in turn capably influence further assessment. 

Within the expected form of profession, attire and personal appearance should be carried out (Jack, 2003). In short, candidates should be presentable reflects the course they have enrolled for and desired institution would feel glad to present them. 

TIP 3- Speak Fluently Like a News Reader

Imran (2019) says, anxiety and fear had had an inverse relationship with performance, it tends to increases speech rate, Anxiety can impede speech clarity. A clear gramme, concise statement with determination create a strong influence over the examiner even on the interviewer. Indeed, a good articulation of thought is characterized positively and flattering negatively by the examiner. No doubt proper education requires good practice and a newspaper reader can a make a good enunciate

ion role mode. 

TIPS 4- Breath And Calm Down

Because Anxiety has an inverse relationship, concomitantly, anxiety can shallow breathing else clearly reflect on the face. The pause-think-speak Model derived by Hollandsworth et al. (1978) could be better to enact as it will allow a space to discuss the concept. Taking a breath pausing for a few seconds is viewed as a positive candidature characteristic, therefore we encourage students to take a breath, think and speak not to avoid anxiety even to gather stronger relevant and up to mark points for responding examiner answer.

In comparison to the interview, it would be a great advantage to practice breathing exercises before voice as they are effective means of reducing fear or anxiety (Woods, 2013). 

TIPS 5- Logical Thoughts

As the following of the presentation should be logical, the rate of responses should be accompanied by Logical thoughts. The capacity of drawing relevant information and speaking clearly is one of the highly desirable traits examiners seeks Hollandsworth et al. (1978). At times candidates may be considered a handful of phrases in a variety of contexts may be helpful, consequently using phrases, few mistakes should be avoided-

1.Pejorative language

2. Technical terms unless the meaning is not known

3. Unnecessary number, for instance, several/many times/most of the times/various/lots

TIPS 6- Eye Contact

Eye contact has a profound effect on social skills interaction. Establishing eye contact confers likeability and maintaining eye contact one looks attractive credible (Jack, 2003). Indeed when identical surgical video transcripts appeared, one can either understand the situation, gaze continuously, integrate irrelevant data. In general, establishing eye contact invokes positive attributes in the eye of examiners. Beware unrelenting eye contact as it reflects aggressiveness. Thus while reading the question, the candidate can approach news readers approach and while answering a question directly to the examiner, make eye contact. However based on cultural norms making eye contact, sometimes switching or re switching to eye contact may disturb the examiner (Salzer, 2015) 

TIPS 7- Watch Videos

Watching videos of one’s performance can have several benefits, seeing how one is perceived and facilitating self-awareness would be even more relaxing. Woods (2013) video transcripts can enhance skills acquisition in public and improve performance. Therefore students are encouraged to watch the video but watch them analytically, practice presentation.

TIPS 8- Emphasize Speech

The emphasis in between a speech represents the areas made to highlight the subject or specific contract. Varying speech enhances characters sociability and perception of competency. We encourage students to bold specific text oo write in italic then pronounce it with emphasis. By doing so, you can ably drag the attention to the specific point or show the strength of concepts. It can create a candidate mental image of what he or he is imaging (Wisker, 2010)

TIPS 9- Practice Viva Questions Loud

There is plenty of question available online or offline based on the subjects. After knowing the viva date, start preparing as soon as possible. Never estimate the significance of viva as it holds the same weight as theoretical examination. Take time to prepare for it and after collecting the possible viva questions from the internet or books(Carter and Whittaker, 2009). Most importantly incorporates answering and speaking loudly to build self-confidence, if needed ask your colleagues, friends or parents to practice them. To know more students take assistance from SourceEssay coursework help experts


A candidate knowledge and skills will necessarily be foci of scrutiny. But being well aware of the concepts, without positive communication with the viva examiner, may drop down candidate image or bring lower grades. The ability to take all the possible steps that can increase the performance process is the best way to get rid of viva fear. This study shows the comparable outcomes and growing implementation of the structured viva voce by different universities thereby necessitates everyone to prepare for viva examination. However, it has been correlated fear and anxiety inversely linked with the speech negatively influence responses. It diminishes possible chances of getting higher grades in comparison to companions. Therefore to enhance long-lasting skills and reduce the factors potentially impact performance, this study has guided 9 tips on behalf of optimizing candidate performance. Meanwhile, there are no gurantees these guidelines are feasible in every context, one may need to look over the situation, practice well to improve the chances of getting a pass in the viva examination.


Carter, B. and Whittaker, K., 2009. Examining the British PhD viva: Opening new doors or scarring for life?. Contemporary Nurse, 32(1-2), pp.169-178.

Hollandsworth Jr, J.G., Glazeski, R.C. and Dressel, M.E., 1978. Use of social‐skills training in the treatment of extreme anxiety and deficient verbal skills in the job‐interview setting. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 11(2), pp.259-269.

Imran, M., Doshi, C. and Kharadi, D., 2019. Structured and unstructured viva voce assessment: A double-blind, randomized, comparative evaluation of medical students. International journal of health sciences, 13(2), p.3.

Jack, B., 2002. The final hurdle: Preparations for the PhD viva vice examination. Nurse Researcher (through 2013), 10(2), p.66.

Selzer, R., Ellen, S., Rotstein, L. and Roseby, R., 2015. Twelve tips for performing well in vivas. Medical teacher, 37(5), pp.428-432.

Tsay, C.J., 2013. Sight over sound in the judgment of music performance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(36), pp.14580-14585.

Wisker, G., 2010. The’good enough’doctorate: doctoral learning journeys. Acta Academica, 2010(sup-1), pp.223-242.

Wood, T.J., 2014. Is it time to move beyond errors in clinical reasoning and discuss accuracy?. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 19(3), pp.403-407. Protection Status
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