If you're a university student, sooner or later, you will be required to create a dissertation. This is a huge paper that must be completed in several months and includes a lot of paragraphs. Apart from this, after finishing writing this document, all the graduate students have to prepare for a dissertation defense. It means that you need to tell the main goals of your paper to the dissertation committee members who make their decision about getting a degree.
For many students, a dissertation defense can be a scary thing just because they don't know anything about this process. In our article, students can find all the needed tips on how to prepare for a dissertation defense successfully and get their degree without nerves. Read everything you wanted to know about how to prepare yourself effectively and make your speech stressfully.
Tips on Preparing Yourself for a Successful Dissertation Defense
We understand that defending your dissertation leads to many questions. Follow our recommendations to prepare yourself successfully without wasting your time!
- Make sure your paper looks perfect. Check out if your dissertation fits all the needed style and format requirements provided by your professor. Remember the dissertation committee pays attention not only to the context but also on your document. They will discover your work to make sure it's written following all the instructions. Make sure all the paragraphs of your paper are in the right order.
- Know your topic perfectly. Of course, after several months of writing, you may have a feeling you know everything about it. But we suggest reviewing your dissertation thoroughly to refresh your memory. This will make you confident when you know where to find all the needed information if the dissertation committee asks you something.
- Make a dissertation presentation. You can prepare slides to help you on the defense. Not every student has perfect skills in making speeches. Prepare some slides of your presentations with the needed pictures, graphs, videos, or comments on them. It's possible to create a simple presentation in Powerpoint or order it online.
- Keep yourself focused on your results. Usually, the finished dissertation contains about 250-300 pages. But you don't have to tell about everything you have written there because the committee has already seen your document. Your task here is to define the main points and focus on the most important results of your work. The dissertation officers may ask you to explain some results. Make sure you can do it.
- Create visual aids to help yourself. This will save a lot of time and keep you focused on your speech. When you're preparing yourself for a dissertation defense, build your speech following a structure that contains an introduction, main part, and a conclusion. Start by describing your problem shortly, then present your research and tell what results you got. Finish your speech with a short but logical conclusion.
- Discover the members of your committee. This will help you to know what to expect from the officers. Ask other students and faculty members. Search for those students who already got their degree last year and contact them. Some members can ask tricky questions, and some have their "firm" questions they ask every graduate student on the defense. This will give you a chance to prepare some answers beforehand and get some expectations on what you will be asked about.
- Practice a lot. Even if you already memorized every word of your speech, keep practicing. This will help to increase your confidence and decrease your fears. Try to stand in front of a mirror and watch while you're making your speech. Look at your face, gestures, etc. If something is wrong, correct yourself and practice again until you get good results. You shouldn't forget about the time. Take a tape recorder and record your full speech. Make sure it takes about 5-10 minutes. Try to practice with your prepared slides and make a video of your speech.
- Prepare yourself for unexpected things. Even if you have discovered your dissertation committee and prepared for your defense, some unexpected moments and questions will appear. This is normal, and your task here is to keep calm and answer the questions. It's important to be calm and concentrated without looking nervous and scared.
- Ask others for help. When you're preparing for a defense, ask people to help you with this. You can find other students who already got their degrees, or ask parents and friends to share their experience with you. On the Internet, you can search for useful advice on how to defend your dissertation without problems. Just make sure you are not stealing someone's text to avoid plagiarism. Take the ideas you like and write in your own words.
- Make your questions. On the defense, the committee members will ask you questions to search for mistakes in your whole paper and your defense speech. We suggest viewing your manuscript beforehand and define those "problem" chapters where the officers may address their questions. You can create your questions and prepare good answers.
- Make a plan and follow it thoroughly. Remember that your defense is the most important thing, and try to spend your time to prepare yourself. Make a plan for every day and follow it without cheating. Of course, it's not easy for everyone to forget about parties, friends, hobbies, and relationships but after getting a degree successfully, you will come back to your usual life.
- Keep yourself healthy. Remember that your health is important. Sleep well to increase your mental activity. Control your diet and try to eat healthy food without drinking a lot of coffee and energizers. Rest well when you have breaks and spend less time with gadgets. It's better to go for a walk or do something you like to distract yourself from the hard work. It'll be easier to recover and continue the process of preparing again.