Vivas can be very useful learning experiences and the most can be gained where it is clear what the viva is for and when there is a de-brief following the viva. Issues to consider:
• What is the viva for? Is it to confirm submitted work is the candidate’s own or is it to further explore their understanding of a subject and be sure it has reached the required level?
• Provide time for preparation for the viva, students should be informed what the viva is for and what they will normally be expected to do.
• What are the general arrangements for the viva? Think about room layout, waiting rooms etc.
• Try to ensure open-questions are asked to enable students to give full and articulate answers and let students do most of the talking.
• Consider asking students to write reflections on the viva afterwards (no more than one page) so that they consider what they feel went well and where things went less well. This will assist the feedback process.