What It Really Takes To Get Through Your Dissertation Defense Successfully

It’s impossible to predict what exactly will happen with your defense, as everyone’s is unique, but there are ways that you can make your presentation as good as you can. Even though you cannot prepare for every question you will get, the random questions and picking apart of your work is just what to expect. Really, if you wrote a fantastic thesis and are confident about it, you should not feel inadequate when defending and leaving with a good feeling afterward.

How to ace your dissertation defense

Here are some tips you can use in preparing for this big event. If you can do as many of these as possible, then you will be more ready than most students. Since you have finished writing the project already, you know your topic inside and out, so that really helps to have all the knowledge you found during the time you were researching.

  1. Practice your speech multiple times, and have all the slides ready well ahead of time so you aren’t making anything at the last minute
  2. Listen to other people’s defense speeches, particularly ones similar to yours or in the same field, which will give you realistic expectations about your own talk
  3. Have your friends and classmates ask you questions and practice
  4. Reread your own work and make a list of questions that you would ask yourself, if you were on the other side of the defense, and then have ready answers for those
  5. Don’t sweat about the little things, or let anything distract you before you are finished the actual defense talk
  6. Take care of yourself! This is actually one of the hardest things, but very important. You have to feel well rested, eating healthy, and generally happy with your life in order to succeed
  7. Relax and keep calm. You have put in a lot of work already to get here, and you will know your topic probably more than anyone else so act like it
  8. Avoid thinking about the after party or any celebrations you have planned until after you have gotten through the defense
  9. Have a sensible order and structure to the information in your talk
  10. Visualize yourself in your mind giving your defense speech and focus on how awesome it will feel after you are finished doing it!

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