Experience during VIVA dated 24th march 2011

My viva was held on 24th march 2011. It was scheduled at 9am at viva room 3. I reached there at 8am and asked the staff at counter, she told me that the viva will be started at 930 am. I was given the permission to go into the viva room to get used to the environment while practicing. While I practiced using my slides, I noticed that the slides might be slightly different from the one I edited in my laptop (in term of brightness & layout design). So there is a need to do adjustment on the slides. Therefore, I would suggest that you go earlier. Besides, please bring a coat or sweater if you are afraid of coldness, and to my experience, it might be due to the nervousness.

Tik tok tik tok, it was 930 am yet the chairman and all the examiners were still not there. I started to worry yet I prayed a lot that they come, because I don’t want the viva to be postponed to other date. Only after 10 minutes, they came one by one. So, I went to the waiting room to wait the chairman called me in. They had the thesis examination report on hand already, so they need to discuss before I started presentation.

My external examiner was from overseas, so not turn up. So, there were another two examiners beside the chairman to co-ordinate the whole process. Around 950 am, I was called in. The chairman and examiners offered me to sit down rather than standing. However, I felt more comfortable to stand up. The chairman asked to have a short presentation for 15-20minutes.

My presentation took about 15 minutes. I had 24 slides altogether:

Slide 1 title

Slide 2-6 introduction

Slide 7 problem statement & significant of study

Slide 8 objectives

Slide 9-12 methodology

Slide 13-18 results & discussion

Slide 19 Conclusion & recommendation

Slide 20-21 references

Slide 22 Acknowledgement

Slide 23-24 Publication during candidature

For those who wish to have a copy of my slides, please email me at with subject SLIDES FOR VIVA.

Here comes the highlights, Q & A session, need to defense. Basically from examination report, they looked into title, abstract, objectives, scope & relevance, literature review, methodologies, analysis & interpretation & overall presentation, references, merits & demerits. My thesis entitled “ Biosafety of Salmonella spp., Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Typhimurium in sliced fruits”.

My experience:

Define biosafety.

Do you think your title is relevant for your study? What you meant by your title? Is there any more suitable title you think of?

You mentioned about Salmonella spp., but in your thesis, you don’t touch much on the spp., what you meant by spp. Also, your oral presentation, there is nothing on spp.

Can you explain more on the species under Salmonella. In your methodology at page XX, you mentioned about Enteritidis, Paratyphi, Typhi etc, are these all spp? or serovars or ??? (so here they are asking about the basic knowledge on your topic).

Regarding your methodology at Page XX, can you explain more? I don’t understand. One of the examiners even asked me to explain sentence by sentence on the whole paragraph. They said that my methodologies were too brief. In fact, all of these I published as research papers. They said that more details are needed in thesis so that the readers without any knowledge on your topics can understand when they read your thesis. (So, there is a lot of corrections needed for DETAILED methodology).

I used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in my study. So, they asked me, how efficient is your PCR? My answer doesn’t satisfy him, he said, NO, that is wrong. So, I need to defense a lot.

Since I am using multiplex PCR where optimization was carried out, my results gave different concentration of primers, so question was, how come the concentration are different, they should not be different as…….

About your table on page…., where you get the formulae? Why you use the formulae? Is there any proof to support it? (data analysis part-they even asked me about calculation). So, there is a need to understand everything in your data analysis, also the statistic that you use).

I wrote something about commercial detergent (chlorox) where I used it to soak my plastic cutting board. They asked me to explain the whole process of soaking. Besides, they asked why I used chlorox, what is the chemical inside it, what is the term to describe chlorox? Is that disinfectant? How it reacts? What is the advantage of using it? Besides, they asked, what are the factors influencing the effectiveness of disinfectant, what is the concentration of the chlorox that you used. Since I did not take note into the concentration, they said that, concentration affects, so is your data reliable? I had a paper published at local journal, so they asked about my publication, which journal you published? (here comes, is the journal of impact factor).

Since there is a risk, so what is the immediate action you think that we should take? Perhaps government or public health sector?

About my sampling, they asked about location. When I mentioned the location, they asked about exact place. Here, they asked, why you choose the location? Is that representative?

I put some photos to support my findings. That was taken for 1 of my chapters (objective). So, they asked, how about other chapters?

While I explained about something (I forgot what question was that), I accidentally mentioned that other researcher also do that, here I was questioned. They laughed and said, please be scientific, you can never answer like that)…so I defend on my own stand.

There were a lot of questions being asked. For a question, please make sure you answer clearly. Once they sensed any mistakes or doubtness, you are in trouble, as they will keep on asking till the end. Before I went to the examination hall, I thought I would panic and nervous. Yes, I did, that was for the first part of my presentation. I found that rather than nervous, it was better to defend myself. Examiners took turn to ask, so question by question thrown to me, so I didn’t have the time to be nervous. It took me till 1120 that they finished questioning. I think that I am lucky as the chairman was in hurry ( I got to know that he had meeting after that), that is why it ended, or else I think both examiners can still ask me).

It took about few minutes before I was asked to come in for the result. I just prayed for a PASS! I need to pass! When the chairman announced: PUI, I WOULD LIKE TO ANNOUNCE THAT YOU PASSED YOUR VIVA WITH MINOR CORRECTION! Oh my god, I was relieved so much. For 15 days, I prohibited myself from all those excited events, days and nights, I studied! Indeed, I put my greatest effort inside! The time when I had entertainment in fb and msn, it was the time that I relaxed. I put the effort, I really x give up these two years, how much tears behind it, it is not an easy journey for me. From conducting research, I remembered those days my labmates and I, went to the lab early in the morning and came back around 1030pm at night just to finish the lab work! I remembered how many times my publication being rejected, how many times I revised them, and at the end I had 4 papers of my own! How tired and exhausting while craving ideas to write the thesis, no plagiarism, sometime only you yourself knew that how suffering it is, being locked in the room, writing! Those days when I need to stay awake, “teh ice” accompanied me! So many supportive friends throughout my candidature, I would much appreciate. Those friends are really friends in need! Thank you all my friends! I am so lucky to have a very nice supervisor! Of course, my mum & family supports me the most! Thank you everyone!

Dedicated my success to my only aunt, I know that she would see me from the heaven! Another reason I think I pass, is because of HER! The day before my viva, I received the bad news of her demise. The tears of sadness and sorrowness accompanied me whole night long where I stayed awake till morning. Because of HER, I defense myself for the first time, to pass the exam without the extreme nervous that I thought I would!


-ĕvå- said...

dear...congrates to u...u did ur best~!!
finally u pass~ :)
and all the best in ur future...job searching...+u!

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