Dissertation Defense: How To Make Sure You Don't Fail

Preparation for Dissertation Defense: Prepare Your Answers to Possible Questions at Home

You have spent months or even years writing you dissertation and now that it is finally completed, you can rest easy, but you would be wrong.  Now, you have to present and defend your dissertation to a board of your peers and this is extra work that you have to prepare for before you give your presentation.  Defending your dissertation can be stressful if you are not prepared. 

How to Prepare for Your Dissertation Defense

  • The first thing you should do is to reread your dissertation, this will refresh your memory of everything that is in the dissertation and then you can start preparing your defense.
  • Start by writing possible questions that might be asked on note cards.  The will give you notes on things that might be asked of you during the process of defending your dissertation.
  • To get an idea of what kind of questions might be asked of you, go to a dissertation presentation, I would maybe go to a few to see what kind of questions they ask other students.  This will give you an idea about what kind of questions that might be asked about your dissertation and you can add them to your note cards.
  • Practice your presentation with someone or a group of people.  This will make you less nervous during the presentation and give you practice in answering questions about your dissertation, also the people you are presenting to might have a question that you didn’t think to put on your note cards.  Having a live audience will make your presentation better and more informative. 
  • Make sure you read over your research notes as well because the panel might ask you something that is not in your dissertation but pertains to the research of the topic. 
  • Make sure you get enough sleep the night before your presentation.  I know this sounds like something simple but being stressed can affect your sleep and since you are prepared you shouldn’t be too stressed out. 

You have worked hard to complete your dissertation and you are in the home stretch, don’t fall apart before you hit a home run.  If you prepare at home before you go to you presentation, you will have a better chance at succeeding.  This sounds simple but if you don’t prepare, it will fall apart in the final step to getting your Masters or Doctoral degree.