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The questions you receive from them will generally fall under one of three headings- those that test your subject knowledge, those that clarify a confusing point, and those that arise from genuine curiosity.If your presentation does a good job of conveying your knowledge of your topic, you can expect more questions from the second and third categories, allowing you to think of the defense more as a conversation amongst experts than a test from on high. Once you’ve put your talk together, find a trusted friend or mentor (ideally, several of them) who knows your field to go through it with you.
There’s a very good chance that they’ll ask you something that’s related to their own work, because that’s familiar ground to them, and you may be able to anticipate these questions this way.
Finally, though it’s less and less of a problem as technology improves, you’ll want to make very sure ahead of time that all your presentation gear works and connects properly to the display equipment in the room where your defence will be.
Although, there are a few common defense questions that are asked by the examiners in the viva examinations.
If you want to know about them, you can try this site to get a checklist of the questions.
It signals a major achievement, but in people’s imaginations, it can seem like the stuff of nightmares…
standing frozen in front of everyone, unable to answer a tricky question posed by a committee member and feeling like you must look incompetent.Marshall your facts and feel confident in knowing that on this topic, you’re the world expert.Plant biologist turned science writer and illustrator with a BSc in plant biology and physics from the University of Guelph and an MSc and Ph D in fungal genetics and molecular systematics, respectively, from the Université de Montréal.This means creating a presentation that gives a clear, logical overview of your topic, the question you’re addressing, what you did, your results and conclusions, and where the research can go from here.Remember, your jury members are not out to get you.It also doesn’t hurt just to spend time in the room in which you’ll be presenting, to get a feel for the place and see where everything will be positioned.General Above all, there are two things you need to remember while preparing for your defence.Let’s start with what the committee is actually looking for.They want to see a firm grasp of the subject matter, an understanding of the implications of the work, and the ability to see weaknesses in the methodology and possible routes to take for future work.No one wants to be running around at the last moment looking for a dongle they didn’t think they needed, or have their laptop’s battery run out partway through the defence.Check that your slides look the same way on the projection screen as they do on your computer- not cut off or too dark.