Decent Advice On How To Get Ready For A Thesis Oral Defense

A proper presentation of your thesis and comprehensive answers to the committee’s questions is an essential part of successful research project completion. As you are usually given only twenty minutes for your oral defense, you will have to prepare for this day properly to be able to present the main idea and special features of your work and explain its use to your audience.

Main Tips on Preparation for the Defense of Your Thesis

  • Prepare an outline and notes for your speech.
  • Generally, you will have to explain what you did, why you did it, how it was done, what you discovered, and what’s the meaning and the use of the results.

  • Focus on your audience.
  • If you know your audience, you understand how to organize your speech better. Try to use simple and concise language that will be clear for everybody, even if they are not specialized in your field.

  • Your presentation slides shouldn’t be overloaded with information.
  • Instead of placing too much text on your presentation slides, give information in visual form like graphs, tables, diagrams, and explain it orally in addition.

  • Practice in advance.
  • It’s a good idea to have several rehearsals of your speech because they will make you more confident. Make sure that you present your thesis in a smooth manner, with proper logical links between the parts. Stay open-minded and ready for the unexpected questions. You can’t predict everything but you can ensure managing your material well.

  • Prepare handouts for the committee members.
  • This is a great way to help you understand each other better. Such handouts should include a brief review of such sections of your work as Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. You should also include an outline of your oral presentation there.

  • Test the equipment before your presentation.
  • As there are a lot of reasons for getting nervous on that day don’t create additional ones. Test all equipment you will use during your speech beforehand and make sure it works properly and won’t give you any unpleasant surprises.

Important Do’s and Don’ts of the Oral Defense

Do’s:

  • Concentrate on the key points of your thesis.

  • Try to spend equal time on presenting of each section.

  • Be prepared to clarify your statements.

  • Think a while before answering a given question.

  • Stay completely honest while answering questions.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t read from your notes.

  • Don’t use many special terms.

  • Don’t try to tell every detail.

  • Don’t speak too fast.