How To Prepare For Your Dissertation Defence: Best Recommendations From An Expert


As a seasoned student, I have been in the same position as most students: panicking about my dissertation defence. It is probably the most stressful part of the entire experience - and that’s saying something! This means, however, that you can benefit from my mistakes by following the recommendations listed here about the best ways to prepare for your own dissertation defence.

  • Dress smart
  • It sounds silly, but dressing smartly - wearing a suit or something equivalent - when you go to your dissertation defence can really change your mindset. You will feel much more prepared and professional for making a special effort to your appearance, and, maybe more importantly, you’ll make a great impression on those interviewing you. After all, if they think that you consider this an occasion to dress smartly for; they will see and understand how important this is for you and how much you merit your work and theirs. After all, it would be rude to waste their time with anything other than your very best. So hold your head high and feel confident because you look confident.

  • Read about the people interviewing you
  • If at all possible, ask other students (preferably who have already had their dissertation defence) about the people who will be interviewing you. If this is not possible, read about them. If you know the sort of people who are going to be asking you questions, you might be better prepared for the sort of questions they will ask. For instance, there are often people who ask more personal questions. You need to be prepared to answer these professionally and with ease and not get confused or rattled. Knowing your enemy is half the battle, after all!

  • Know your dissertation inside-out!
  • Of course, this almost goes without saying, although you might be surprised how many people go to their defence without having read their work through just one more time. And it’s worth reading it through just once more. You might catch a mistake that you can then defend in your viva. Otherwise, if you do not read through your work before you go, you might forget something vitally important that comes up, and then you waste your time and everybody else’s trying to remember something that is incredibly important. It simply doesn’t look good to the people who are interviewing you, and it will reflect badly in your grade.