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10 Best Tips On How To Do Well At The Dissertation Defense


Every committee and every dissertation is different but regardless of that, there are some common themes to follow when doing your defense to ensure your success. It can be a stressful process to wonder what’s going to happen and what you should say. In this case, preparation ahead of time is your best asset. Here are 10 tips for your defense success:

  1. Keep in mind your committee is on your side. They want to see you succeed. They may seem like your enemy at this time but they aren’t. They aren’t likely to look for traps or trick you into failing the questions. They do however, want to see how confident you are in your own work.

  2. Be confident in what you know. This project has been a part of your life for many months and even years. It has co-existed with you and practically run your life. You should know every nuance about it. Remember you are the expert when it comes to your own work..

  3. Know when it’s a good time to quit talking. It’s better to close your mouth than to ramble because you’re nervous or don’t know an answer. It’s better to be silent than say things you wish you hadn’t. Don’t flounder. Pause and catch your breath and say what you really want to say instead of making something up..

  4. Don’t feel intimidated. Remember your committee members are also on display. They have to perform for the audience as well. You aren’t the only one who is in the show..

  5. Stay simple as much as possible. State your sentences clearly and succinctly. When giving a summary of your project, simply state what you did, what your question was, what your research was, and how you completed it..

  6. Answer questions as honestly as you can without trying to change the question by giving a slightly different answer. Skirting the original question is called employing diversionary tactics. They will smell it a mile away. It’s better to answer the question even if it’s a difficult answer..

  7. It’s okay to say you don’t know the answer. You can tactfully do this by explaining you don’t know how to answer their question, and then adding but… and continuing on with a piece of juicy information that may capture their interest and pacify them..

  8. It’s impossible to know everything, so if you realize this ahead of time, it won’t be discouraging.

  9. Get a great sleep the night before..

  10. Have fun. You will most likely pass. Try to be relaxed, this is your big moment..

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