Q: What can I do to ensure that my thesis defense is successful?

Detailed Question -

I don't have confidence to faced when it comes defend our thesis. Whenever my teacher asks me a question, I am extremely nervous and all my ideas seem to vanish. Also, I seem to forget all that I know or have learnt. Do you have any suggestion on how I can can control this feeling?

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Answer:

Getting cold feet or being nervous is normal before your defense. However, preparing well in advance for your defense and going through prcatce sessions can help you feel more confident. Here are a few things you can do before your thesis defense:

1. Make sure you know your thesis well and are sure about the evidence you are going to present in order to defend your thesis. Make sure you go through all your material several times before the actual defense so that you know your material thoroughly.

2. Try to anticipate at least 10 questions that your professor can ask and keep the answers to these questions ready. Go through these a few times before your defense.

3. Have a few practice sessions with your friends and/or family. This will help you feel more confident.

On the actual day of the defense, try to be calm and keep a clear mind. Think through before you reply. It is okay to request your teachers to repeat their question and take a few seconds before you respond. If you have prepared well, you should be able to answer.

If there is a question that you do not know the answer to, it is okay to say "I don’t know, but that is an interesting question because XYZ." Sometimes, teachers will ask questions for you to think out-of-the-box. But, you are not expected to know everything.

Keep in mind that you know more about your work than anyone else in that room, that you are the expert, the one with the most knowledge on your thesis subject! You are so close to getting that degree. Good luck!

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