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Defending Your Thesis - Dissertation Defense Tips

Thesis defense rehearsal

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It also builds your confidence. And the questions that your labmates or friends ask you may just be the same question you will get asked on your defense day. You may be sick of reading your entire thesis over and over by now, but you need to keep everything fresh in your mind. I actually read over my entire thesis multiple times during my final two weeks and came up with my own list of questions that I thought my committee would ask me.

In addition, I also came up with a list of questions that I had of my own questions that I was unsure of or that I thought were a weakness of mine. If you cannot come up with a list of good questions, then you are not trying hard enough.

And it was a confidence booster in disguise. Completing your thesis is a huge milestone. Those last two weeks until defense day can be stressful. Keep your guard up until your actual defense day. This is key to giving a good talk. You need to go in with the mindset that you will kill your presentation and give a long lasting impression to your audience. I have actually heard that some people who gave great thesis defense talks were offered a position shortly after i.

You are going to want to do all those little tasks that you have been putting off for so long because you have spent X amount of months writing your thesis in solitude and you had no time to do them. Your list could be very long. I can tell you that one of the things on my list was to keep publishing blog articles and keep my blog running. I simply did not have enough time. Prioritize and focus on your defense talk and nothing else. If you are looking for jobs during this time period, I will be writing about this in Part 3 of this series.

This might be the most difficult thing for anyone. I struggled with this the most while writing my thesis. Skipping meals, late nights, overloading your system with caffeine just to stay awake. You have to fight it the best that you can. A month before my defense talk, I hit the gym 3x a week for the first time in months. Everyone handles the anxiety of their defense talk differently. I am someone who thinks about it constantly.

So it becomes hard to focus on other things, like taking care of yourself. Once your thesis is turned in to your committee members, during those final two weeks- sleep and a proper diet are KEY.

By taking care of yourself, you ensure that you have the highest probability for giving a great thesis defense talk and showing your committee members that you are confident about your project.

You know your topic better than anyone. Because of this, you have no reason to be stressed out. When your committee pushes you and asks you questions, they again will push you to your limits. Remember that they are simply trying to test your knowledge and humble you. Therefore, when you are answering questions, keep your cool and relax.

Answer the questions the best that you can and you should have no problem passing. And in all honesty, the prelim or qualifying exam was much harder than the actual defense…. Although I did have an after-party, I did not go to great efforts to plan it like a wedding party.

As I said in 5, prioritize and focus on your thesis defense talk and nothing else. Once you have passed, then you can change your focus.

The feeling is indescribable see A good thesis talk also has a good introduction before going on to the next idea or slide. It should flow in a logical manner and be smooth. Be formal in how you word things i. To give a good introduction, it might be wise to use slides that ask a question in between. Why are you doing this experiment? Many scientists forget that although they are an expert on their topic, what seems easy and understandable to them-does not apply to others outside of their field.

Before you go to your next data slides introduce the idea based on this data I wanted to ask this question. Then tell them WHY you performed this particular experiment which is basically in the form of a question. Once your audience understands why, go on to the next slide and give them your interpretation. This one is pretty self explanatory. I will say that when it is all said and done, it feels like a huge burden has been lifted off your shoulders.

It is emotional and you finally feel that all that hard work and time that you put in over the years-was all worth it in the end. Good luck to all those who are preparing for their defense talk in the future! Think about what it will be like to get up in front of a large audience and show everyone how you moved a field forward. This is YOUR moment to show everyone you are an expert in your field.

The more you keep this mentality, the better your talk will be. Keep your cool and relax 7 and everything will be fine. One of my committee members actually read my entire thesis, so you never know. I only suggest rereading your entire thesis to keep the info fresh in your mind, which is more likely to help you think on your feet.

Often overlooked during the last 0. Although some PhD stress is inevitable and depends on how you handle it , keeping your physical health in check helps to keep stress levels low and equips you to handle the mental stress. I did write about this earlier in a previous article http: I just defended and kept coming back to these tips while finishing my talk.

They are incredibly useful, especially to ignore distractions and keep your cool on defense day. Thank you a ton for the post! I agree that you should read over the entire thesis.

None of my three committee members really even made it to Chapter 3, but at least I was prepared for broad-level questions.

Here is a post with some tips from my department. I found them useful! A very good structured guidelines. It speacks of the experience of the person who has guided a number of scholars.

Thanks a lot for useful tips. I am in the process of writing my dissertation, so I will come back to your post in the late period of my degree. It seems that it will be quite different. The defence is of course open to public so everyone can come. The Committee always consists of 9 professors including two officially appointed reviewers of your PhD thesis that wrote and shared their reviews before the defence. I am obliged to give a speech summarizing what I have managed to accomplished during 4-year-research.

I have only 20 minutes to do that. That is why it is so stressful. Each professor from the Committee asks questions on average which means that you will be hit by questions. Here comes the best part. And here we go again. After that you forget what your name is but instead of going to sleep for 5 days you have to go for an official dinner that you pay for with all 9 members of the Committee and continue the chit-chat for like forever.

All mentors become douchebags in our eyes at one point or another during our doctorate, it is their job. With that said, I present in 21 days.

I really want to reread my thesis, but every-time I do I find errors. Ack it is soooo discouraging, just silly typos! It is already turned in.

It is driving me nuts, I reread the thing a million times and still more typos!!! Not a confidence builder at this point. I am defending in three days. I am freaking out! I have a committee of four and two of them read and approved my last few chapters and suggested that I move forward. As soon as I set up a defense date, another committee member suggested that I had not gone deep enough and would be hesitant to sign off on my defense for graduation.

Needless to say, my three allotted weeks turned into just four days because I had to rewrite the last three chapters. And I have the same problem of re-reading my thesis and finding errors. It is a necessity though. Omg I totally know the feeling. I dread re-reading that thing! God knows what other dumplings of stress will unveil themselves. Hi all, Thanks Ryan Raver a lot for your tips. I am preparing for the defense in 1 week. You tips help me forcus on sometihings important.

I really appreciate it. Victoria, you hit the nail on the head about how re-reading the dissertation is such a confidence killer because of the typo errors that never seem to go away. I will be presenting my final defense in exactly four days from today. I am not fully ready but hope to be ready by that day.

The reason I came across this blog is to find out defense presentation tips because I have a problem with losing my train of thoughts whenever I panic and I think it is because I am not used to public speaking.

I agree with some of the tips here but to read through the dissertation to prepare for the defense seems unnecessary unless you did not use it to create your PowerPoint or unless you completed it a long time ahead of your defense. I think the best thing is to create your PowerPoint, notes and go over those over and over rather than your dissertation. I did not realize how time-consuming it is to complete the dissertation. The last few months were the busiest and one can continue to add, delete, change something for years and still find errors.

A faculty member gave this advice the day before. Answer the question you wish they had asked. Your committee members are experts in their field s , and have been through their own defenses as well as those of others, and they will smell any diversionary tactics. You are better off trying to engage the question as asked, and get as close as possible to an answer.

Which leads us to the next two points. If questioning goes beyond your topic, admit that you are not familiar with whatever new topic has come up. Sleep, if you can get it, might do you good. I know this sounds weird. A faculty member told me this the day before, but it makes sense in light of some of these other points.

This is your chance to show that you are the expert your committee suspects you are, and there is no reason not to try to have fun with it. It is your big moment, after all.

I went in to my defense convinced that I would have fun, and I did. But this is a very sane and helpful assessment of the process. You may want to publish it on ProfHacker. I would, however, add in addition to your list of 10 — a big goddamn poster and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub.

I defend tomorrow-thanks so much for posting this! I defend Friday and I will do my best to adhere to the advice of this page and the posters above.

My defense was a success. Thank you for your amazing tips. But still, it helped me a lot. Thank u so much Sir! Thank you for this helpful advice. I defend in a week and I will try to apply all your suggestions! I kept reminding myself to have some fun, to enjoy the day, if possible.

I really want to prepare, but not sure what to prepare for! Thanks so much for your tips. PhD defense advice and resources Only A Model. Defending in five days. I defended last week, and your 10 points definitely helped a lot. It was extremely nerve-wracking, but I also had a lot of fun.

Eventually, we all determined no one in the room really knew how to answer that question. Shutting up at that point was the best thing I did. WET — What do you do?

This article is great. I defend in 2 days. Almost 48 hours exactly. There are many good points here and it has helped calm me. I would also add that you should speak to the other students who are in the program with you and have already defended. This helped me calm down quite a bit. The biggest fear, for me, is fear of the unknown. My colleagues really helped me with that.


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Recently, a fellow graduate student defended his master’s thesis. He set the record for the shortest time to degree in our College with a nice job lined up afterwards. But that also meant he never presented his work at a conference, or a department/college seminar.

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Read our dissertation defense tips below! Thesis writing is one of the most important and challenging tasks you will encounter as a graduate student, and the thesis defense is the culmination of that process.

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What’s the best way to prepare for your thesis defence? The tips below will help you in the final few weeks before the exam, but the real preparation begins as soon as you start your PhD. Talking to people and discussing your work regularly over a long period of time is the best preparation. These guidelines shows what you need to do before, during and after the thesis defense. These guidelines shows what you need to do before, during and after the thesis defense. Tips on how to defend your thesis , views. Share; Like; Download Miriam Pananaliksik. Follow Published on Aug.

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Preparation for thesis defense. This does not involve new research. You’ve already done all the research you can do up to this point. What you need to do now is organize your . The title should probably read “How I survived my dissertation defense,” because each project is different, each committee is different, and, therefore each defense is different. Some of the advice below is from people who advised me before I defended last week, and some are from my observations once it was all over.