Preparing for a viva examination

My PhD viva is in two weeks (ish). I am remaining calm (ish) (so far). I do have one major question weighing on my mind though... what do I wear?!
Appropriate viva wear?

I handed my thesis in back in January and I am no-longer working in the lab, or on my project, so I have taken quite a break from it. It's an advantage in some ways as I can see what I have written in my thesis from a clearer perspective. However, I also think it is a bit of a disadvantage as some knowledge seems to have fallen out of my brain and been replaced by 'other stuff' like how to correctly grow strawberry plants from seed and the ability to have a lengthy conversation with friends rather than my mind drifting away to my thesis layout.

What I am finding my mind wandering to more than often though, is what on earth I am going to wear for the viva. I know this is a very minor point.. but I want to come across the best I can, so I feel confident and so I am comfortable  There's nothing worse than being stuck in a room for what could be 5+ hours with a waistband that is cutting the circulation off to the bottom half of my body. So, do I go with shirt and trouser combo? Smart dress? A SKIRT and a top?! I don't know..  I think making that decision will help me feel even more ready for the viva.. but I am not quite there yet!

For some resources and tips about what to do to prepare for your viva then others have covered it really well from using sticky notes to highlight typos, to what to expect and how to handle yourself check out these links:


  1. Heather,

    Just look smart - perhaps a trouser suit. I wore a jacket/skirt suit for my PhD viva in 2002. Gosh time has flown....Best luck. Just remember it's a wonderful opportunity to discuss your work with someone who will be enthusiastic about it too!

    all the best,


  2. Hi Heather,

    Look confident and well put together. I wore a trouser suit for my viva last year, but a jacket/skirt is also a good combination. Nothing to colorful, you do not want to distract the audience.

    I wish you all the best and as Sandra said, they will be interested in your work and mean no harm to you :)


  3. Hi! I thought this post was awesome! Best of luck! I recently started a science blog! Maybe we could follow each other?

  4. Thanks all for the comments and advice! I think I am going to wear a dress.. getting nervous now with two days to go!


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