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on 17 November 2010
I bought this on recommendation from a fellow PhD student, feeling that any help at this stage is welcome! However, when I read it I realised that this is making a science out of a process that is different for everyone - it so depends on the particular vagaries of your academic discipline and institution that it is impossible for one set of guidance to fit all. Also, the idea of endless revision exercises once you have completed a PhD thesis just drives you mad! My advice is simple, have a really good discussion on the process with your supervisor, get written feedback on possible questions your supervisor objectively feels may arise - and, if you can, give a seminar on an aspect of your research to your University department - daunting but so useful! The best advice from my supervisor: (a) go into the viva feeling like you cant wait to talk about your research - never again will others be so interested in your work at this level! (b) dont lead issues or questions - be precise and as concise as you can in your answers (c) listen to the questions carefully and ask for clarification of the question if you need to.
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on 22 September 2009
This book is a must-have for anyone facing into a PhD viva. Not only was it the best source I found for details of the PhD viva process, it was also a great support in my preparation for the viva itself. There are few books which manage to inform, entertain, challenge and console at the same time - this is one.
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on 5 June 2014
All this book did was make me feel very anxious prior to my viva. It implies that the viva will be a horrible experience that you need to "survive" and like another reviewer said, uses "scare tactics" and only provides very vague advice. My viva ended up being an enjoyable experience, contrary to how this book portrays it!
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on 24 December 2013
I found this book annoying at best. The book seems to spend most of the time telling you how many unknowns there are about the viva process and there is a lot of scare tactics throughout or what at least felt like scare tactics. The book is so general that it is almost useless (apart from as a door stop). It would have been far more useful if the author had dedicated chapters to a variety of subjects (social sciences, arts, humanities etc.) rather than give vague advice.
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on 27 January 2012
This is an excellent book. It is hard to work out exactly what you need to work on for your viva as preparation could be endless due to the range of things you could be asked. I found the book helpful in giving me a good understanding of what to expect, how to start with focusing on the specific areas suggested and how to develop my own style in marking up my thesis. Once I has prepared the range of set questions that could be asked for my work I felt better going into the viva and having covered all the areas in the book I felt able to utilise information from the set areas that I had prepared. It certainly reduced my nerves going in knowing I had areas suggested fully prepared. A must have for anyone doing a viva!

I had bought this book as it had been recommended to me. I bought it less that two weeks before my viva and I really would have missed out if I hadn't got it- so still helpful in the finally stages but would be most helpful at the start of your research journey.
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on 19 June 2014
A Doctorate viva is probably the scariest undertaking an academic ever has to do. I have passed this on to a good friend for when she has to defend hers, as the preparation for that really has to begin long before you are in the realm of an imminent viva.
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on 21 January 2015
A good practical guide - essential for anyone who has to undergo this potentially traumatic event. It helps the reader identify types of questions they're likely to be asked - and helps also with framing the answers. An essential book on any completing PhD student's bookshelf and would equLly benefit transfer students too
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on 17 January 2016
Moves aside the veil of uncertainty to give candidates a clear view of what to expect and how to prepare for their viva. My only concern is that it might induce some anxiety and 'over-preparation' in some individuals. Nevertheless I would strongly recommend it.
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on 30 December 2013
I remember reading this book a number of years ago prior to defending my PhD viva and I found it really good. It helped focus my preparation and gave some very clear advice as well as helping to calm those pre-viva nerves. Highly recommended.
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on 18 December 2010
This book was brilliant, I read bits and pieces, there's no need to read it front to back which makes it easy to pick up and put away as and when. Highly recommended for preparation and eases the stress of viva preparation. Good luck all of you writing a PhD.
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