We submitted our work at the beginning of the new academic year. We anxiously awaited our provisional results upon our return after half term…
“What are the portfolio reviewers looking for? Have I represented myself well? Have I forgotten anything? It feels like a lifetime.”
We found out our provisional results and those of us who had passed were asked to make a poster for our QIP…
“Oh gosh, what was it even about?! I did it months ago. How can I remember it all?
…for our Viva!
“What if I forget everything I’ve done? What if I come across unknowledgeable? What if they ask me a tricky question and I flail? I’ll be so embarrassed and this whole year will have been for nothing!”
Some of these thoughts may be resonating with you right now and some may not. These were some of my own honest initial thoughts during the process that many of you will be going through over the coming weeks and months. However, I hope this blog provides you with some advice on how to not only succeed in your Viva, but even enjoy it.
Last year, as part of my role on the APConnect team, I co-hosted an ATS space with Phil Green (cohort 3) during our #FestivalFridays menu of events. In January this year I was prepping for my viva and having all the self-critical anxious thoughts above. I knew that my peers were feeling similarly lost when it came to the Viva and what to expect. So, I organised a Viva forum and invited three ATS holders to come and share their experiences. Although they were not able to share the Viva questions they supported those of us about to go through the final stretch of the ATS process. This is the collated advice that Phil Green (cohort 3), Dr Lynne Taylerson (cohort 1) and Cheryl Hall (cohort 4) gave to us:
I want to thank Phil, Lynne and Cheryl for their time that day because I for one (and I know many others who attended) felt that little bit more prepared for their Viva and ready to face it head on!
To end, I want to finish where I began and share something personal with you. A few days before my Viva, I went through my whole portfolio top to bottom and created this mind-map. You’ll notice it doesn’t really have any notes on it and it’s very brief (intentional so it didn’t overface me when I was in the middle of my Viva), but it was an excellent activity to help me see just how much I had achieved in my own personal development that year. This activity helped me confidently feel that “I deserve this”. I envisaged the poster would help me throughout the Viva to make sure I covered everything. However, the mere act of going through my portfolio and making these brief notes was enough to jog my memory and keep it all fresh. I only looked at it once throughout the whole meeting when I was asked if there was anything else I wanted to add. Ultimately, the most pertinent advice for me was something my mentor said and which I pass on to you (please remember it): “You wrote this, you got this.”