Essential Tips On How To Prepare For Your Ph.D. Dissertation Defense

You have come a long way, and this is your final step. There is no need to be nervous, for you have been working on this project for at least a couple of years now. All you have to do now is present it, so you get that diploma in your hands. Below are tips on how to prepare yourself before you defense.

  • Know that you have already made it: You should be aware that this is only a presentation, and it does not contribute to the results of your research itself. This is a mere chance of posing years of work in a nutshell. The committee members are on the same page as you, and they want you to succeed. There isn’t much that can go wrong at this point.
  • Reread your thesis: You need to go over your dissertation one last time, and you would be surprised to find a couple of mistakes here and there.
  • Presentation Synopsis: After going over your papers, try to summarize each one in a couple of lines. These should be your main points in your presentation.
  • Questions: When practicing, you should picture what questions would be posed to you and try to answer them. Avoid saying anything that would result in complex questions being posed to you. Make sure you know the “why” and “What would happen if” of your every statement. This is crucial because committee members always want to make sure you will make the best of your knowledge. If you’ve been asked something you’re not familiar with, do not hesitate to say you’re not sure.
  • Meeting notes: Committee members usually give subtle hints of what they will criticize in the future. Going over your meeting notes is a great way to speculate what sort of questions will be posed to you.
  • Watch dissertation defense videos: This is not particularly essential, but if you cannot predict how this will go, watching videos will be of great help. It will show you how members squeeze in questions and how presenters should react.
  • Practice: You need to practice the defense itself more than just a couple of times. You want to repeat it to the point that it’s stored in your long term memory so as to avoid stuttering. This is especially important if you have a problem with stage fright or general anxiety.
  • Remember that you have already succeeded and this is but a finish line. We wish you the best of luck on your defense! If you need more help, we recommend you get online help here.


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