How to prepare yourself to PhD defense
set out clear guidelines
In the real estate world there is a description of the three key ingredients for a really saleable property. Those ingredients are position, position and position. In preparing yourself to defend your PhD thesis, the three key ingredients are preparation, preparation and preparation. The more rehearsal you have in defending your PhD thesis the better able you will be to perform. Just as you will spend a great deal of time in researching and writing the thesis, being able to defend it is equally important. The number one tactic of course is to know exactly what your university or college requirements have stipulated. Going outside the requirements is a seriously bad step. Not only will it frustrate you in what you have produced not being acceptable or at least in producing a lower score, you will find it increasingly difficult to defend your thesis because you have strayed into uncharted territory. This is the way an academic institution operates. It sets out clear guidelines. It is your duty and obligation to consult with your tutor a teacher and be sure that you are within the guidelines.
Know what to expect
In a criminal law case, one of the tactics used by attorneys is to present to their client a series of questions which are likely to be asked by the opposition side. It's called preparation and aims to take away the possibility of being blindsided by an unexpected question. Of course you may not be able to guess every question which will be asked of your client but you can certainly cover the relevant and important ones. The same situation applies to you defending your PhD thesis. Imagine the points which are likely to be raised by your academic institution. Make a list of these points and then write out your answer. Rehearse your answer. The more confident and more fluid you are in a 20 to 30 minute presentation in which you defend your PhD thesis, the more likely you are to be successful. You should look on the defence of your PhD thesis with a positive attitude. If you have prepared extremely well and have the points you wish to make very well-rehearsed, you are in a position of strength. Being able to impress the academic fraternity at your college or university bodes well for the success of your thesis.
What have other students done?
It's always a good idea to talk with other PhD students who have gone through the process you are about to go through. Ask them a series of questions. Ask them what sort of preparation they made for their defence. Ask them about the questions and issues raised by those to whom they had to make their defensive address. You can always learn from fellow students who have gone through the experience that you are about to go through.
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