How To Prepare Your Biology Dissertation Defense: Tips And Tricks
If you are pursuing a biology degree, then it is likely you will need to complete a dissertation at some point in your college career. This is often followed by a dissertation defense, or oral exam, during which you will answer questions in front of a committee to defend your work. This can be quite intimidating, but can be a little less nerve-wracking if you follow these tips and tricks.
Get Some Sleep the Night Before
It is likely that you have spend a year or even longer working on your thesis. Therefore, it will not help to stay up all night cramming for the oral exam, or even just worrying. Try to relax and sleep so that your mind is sharp the next day.
Remember the Committee Wants Your Success
Your encounter with the committee can be significantly less terrifying if you take a moment to realize that they also want your success. They are not there to prevent you from getting your degree, but to instead ensure that you have done your part in researching and preparing your presentation. The questions they make may be hard, but they will not be unanswerable.
Know when to Stop Talking
Being nervous has a tendency to make people ramble. If you do not feel certain of an answer, let the committee know. The problem is that rambling may cause you to stumble into a topic that you have no information about, which can really damage the score you receive on the oral exam.
Engage the Question that Was Asked
A popular tactic for politicians and individuals at conferences is to answer the question as you wish it were asked. However, this diversion does not work well in front of a dissertation committee. If you want a good score, then answer the question that was asked to your best ability.
Remember that You Do Not Know Everything
Even after years of studying a certain subject, you may not know every fact that there is to know about the many areas of biology. Therefore, if you are asked something about an area you are unfamiliar with, do not be afraid to tell the committee you are not familiar with the topic that was brought up. It is likely that they will understand, as not every single one of them will be educated in every aspect of a field as broad as biology.