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Effective Methods That Will Help You With Your Doctoral Dissertation Defense

So after several months of intensive research and writing, you’ve finally submitted your dissertation for review and are just around the corner from providing your doctoral defense. Here are some effective methods that will help you prepare to deliver a stellar defense:

  1. Don’t Underestimate Preparation Time
  2. You don’t want to run into any unexpected problems in preparation, so don’t wait to the last minute. Start early on your slides and gather supporting data or information.

  3. Listen to Other Students’ Defense
  4. It’s a good idea to learn about the kinds of things that actually go on in defenses by simply going to a few of your classmates before your own scheduled presentation. This should make you familiar with the process and get you ready for the questions you are likely to get.

  5. Have Your Friends Ask You Questions
  6. Get used to having to ask questions and address both the person asking directly as well as the rest of the panel. Ask your friends or colleagues to drill you with several questions so you get used to standing in the spotlight.

  7. Reread Your Work and Develop Questions
  8. Even if you are tired of reading your dissertation you should start developing several questions you anticipate will be asked by the defense panel. Consider things that you are unsure of, these points might come up when you finally give your presentation.

  9. Practice on Ignoring All Distractions
  10. If at any point you find yourself focusing on other things – applying for a job, looking for a place to move, etc. – don’t allow yourself to get distracted. Keep yourself focused on your main goal until after you deliver your defense.

  11. Get Plenty of Rest and Eat Healthily
  12. You’d be surprised how many students don’t get enough rest or eat healthily in the weeks leading up to the dissertation defense. Don’t lose track of these two things and make them a priority.

  13. At All Times Stay Cool and Keep Relaxed
  14. Don’t stress out in the days leading up to the defense and in the morning of. You have put in a lot of hard work up this point. You need to remind yourself frequently that you know your topic better than anybody else and are being given the opportunity to demonstrate this fact.

  15. Don’t Let the Finish Line Distract You
  16. Don’t think too much about the after-party before actually reaching the party. Don’t plan a celebration for yourself because it will take you away from the preparation time you should commit to your presentation.

  17. Have a Good Presentation Structure
  18. Present your defense just like you would a long document. Think of an introduction before you get into the main slides. Make sure your transitions are smooth and that you order your information logically.

  19. Visualize Yourself Giving Your Defense
  20. This last method is pretty self-explanatory. Spend several days simply imagining yourself giving the presentation. You might do this in front of a mirror while paying attention to your voice and delivery.