Common Qs About The Viva: What If I Find Mistakes?

I’ve been talking to PhD candidates about viva prep for over four years, and there are some questions that regularly come up at workshops. I’ve started answering some of these on this blog, but thought it might be useful to answer some of the most frequently asked questions all of this week. Let me know what you think in the comments, and please give me some questions for future posts!

What if I find mistakes in my thesis after submission?

I think that this question comes up a lot for lots of possible reasons. Most common, I think, is a fear that mistakes will somehow lessen the impact of academic work – examiners might find a typo and instantly think “This candidate was doing so well… Such a shame!”

In preparing for your viva you are going to read your thesis; you are bound to find things that you would want to be different. Sometimes this will just be phrasing, but sometimes you might find things that need to be different: spelling mistakes, awkward phrasing or even errors in your work. What can you do?