Preparing Effectively for Your Thesis or Dissertation Examination

Preparing Effectively for Your Thesis or Dissertation Examination
The examination that determines whether a thesis or dissertation will be approved and the candidate awarded the degree he or she has been working towards for years usually stands as a particularly important milestone in the research career of a postgraduate student. Indeed, considering tuition costs and the personal sacrifices made by many students, it can feel rather like your work, your financial future and your very world are dangling on the precarious outcome of that examination. It is therefore imperative to prepare effectively and approach the process with confidence.

The first and most vital preparation is, of course, to write an excellent thesis or dissertation, accommodate in revisions and explanations the concerns of your supervisory committee, and proofread and edit the entire document with extreme care, following all relevant guidelines, before submitting it for examination. Assuming that your work is well prepared, the best way to prepare yourself for defending your thesis or dissertation in the final examination is to be intimately and thoroughly familiar with your own work. This will enable you to discuss its strengths, limitations, surprises and groundbreaking leaps with your examiners, and also help you answer the critical questions they may have about your research and writing. A careful read through the thesis or dissertation shortly before the examination is usually constructive, especially if you take reflective notes as new ideas and potential problems come to mind.
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The feedback you have received on chapter drafts and the entire thesis or dissertation from your supervisor and other members of your committee will provide much of what you need to know about the concerns and worries they will bring to the examination, but ensuring that you are familiar with their work and publications (as you probably already are) can also be extremely helpful. From the perspective of your examiners, you are quite literally changing from student to colleague in the course of your thesis examination, and your thesis or dissertation mentors who are now your examiners are likely to begin treating you as a colleague or professional equal. This is a compliment, of course, and a sign that they are taking your work seriously, but it also means that you may see a different aspect of their personalities – one less nurturing and potentially more combative – so do be prepared for this change, which can sometimes come as an unsettling surprise to students.

Your external examiner will almost certainly adopt this professional stance, since you are not his or her student and the job of the external examiner is, after all, to ensure (from beyond your university) the intellectual quality of the thesis or dissertation. Since your external examiner is likely to be as much of a specialist in your field of study as your supervisor is, the perspective he or she shares will be particularly valuable, if not for the thesis at this point, certainly for your future research. Receiving his or her feedback with a positive attitude is therefore the best approach, and this is more easily achieved if you can anticipate that feedback by understanding the examiner’s perspective as well as you can through critical reading or rereading of his or her scholarship, particularly anything closely related to your own work.

Although most supervisors will remain supportive of their students during thesis or dissertation examinations, unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some supervisors feel the need to take a step back and use a tougher approach in an examination, especially at the doctoral level, so you may find yourself rather alone in defending your research and the thesis that has grown from it. This is not a cause for panic, however, though it is wise to prepare emotionally for the possibility. Conducting the research for your degree and writing and revising your thesis or dissertation have certainly prepared you intellectually to defend your work and its significance with wisdom and diplomacy, so a quiet confidence in yourself and your work is appropriate and will set the tone for success.

Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At we offer the highest quality journal article editing, phd thesis editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions proofreaders and achieve publication.

Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.

If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.

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