Preparing for Your Viva

Successful strategies for your big day

Have you submitted your thesis, or are you getting close to completion? Are you now contemplating the next step in your PhD? This online course guides you through the process of preparing for your viva and giving the best possible performance on the day.

Through videos, activities, and worksheets, you’ll learn what to expect from the viva and also make a start on your preparation. There's help from Wonderwoman and the Pointer Sisters, too.

By the end of the course, you’ll have a clear strategy and more confidence in facing this next challenge. 

We’ll demystify the viva and answer questions such as:

  • How are my examiners chosen?
  • What on earth are they going to ask me?
  • How do I deal with mistakes?
  • What if my mind goes blank?
  • How do I cope with difficult examiners?

This course is based on a workshop delivered by Dr Catherine Pope to more than 300 students across seven universities. There's no guarantee you'll pass your viva, but you'll certainly feel much better prepared.

Here’s what we’ll cover …


  • Hello and Welcome
  • What Are Your Viva Fears?


  • What is a Viva
  • Choosing Examiners
  • How Much Time Do You Need to Prepare?


  • Preparation – Stage One
  • Preparation – Stage Two
  • Preparation – Stage Three
  • Practising
  • Preparing for the Day


  • Performance – Introduction
  • Typical Viva Format
  • Question and Answer Strategies
  • Managing Nerves

Conclusion & Next Steps

  • Next Steps
  • Viva Outcomes Revisited
  • Dealing with Corrections
  • Summary


"I just wanted to get in touch to let you know how useful and enjoyable the training was. It made me feel a lot less nervous and more prepared for the viva. I have recommended it to all my PhD friends.”

"I wanted to let you know that I passed my viva directly (no corrections) yesterday! The session you organised for us really helped me to prepare and feel confident about the process."

"I learned so much about the process which no one had ever explained to me. Catherine was really clear and very calm and reassuring. I now feel that I have a really good idea of how to prepare myself."

What you'll get

  • A video-based course for you to follow at your own pace. You can come back at any time.
  • Downloadable worksheets
  • Captions
  • Full transcripts
  • Links to further resources


This course costs £30 + VAT. The amount of VAT payable depends on your location and is applied at the checkout. We are legally obliged to charge this tax - sorry!

Institutions can buy blocks of 10 licenses for £250 + VAT. On receipt of a purchase order, we'll send you tokens for you to forward to your students. Please contact us if you'd like to purchase multiple licenses and we'll get back to you right away.