most of the first year BDS students, viva is something very new. Oral
examinations [viva or viva-voce] are becoming more common throughout most of
other professional degree courses too. This viva voce serves as an excellent
tool to appreciate student’s understanding of a subject and their ability to
verbally explain the subject to someone else.
exam concept is an attempt to test your skills in subject, communication skills
and ability to communicate/explain your knowledge of the subject to others.
Being the first time, there will be a lot of room for misunderstanding and
misplaced apprehension about viva.
successfully pass a viva a candidate must not only possess a thorough
understanding of the subject but must also be able to convey this to the
examiners – clearly and loudly.
Vivas are different from other written forms of exams: you cannot deal first
with the questions you know best and come back later to the ones you are not so
sure about; and you cannot cross out previous answers and rewrite them.
assembling the knowledge base it may be helpful to remember facts in a way that
makes them easily retrieved and communicated in a viva. An intelligent,
structured, cogent answer wins the points.
I attempt to present an overview of the oral examination, remove some of the
mystery, promote your confidence, help you to prepare effectively and assure
you to exhibit the best of your talent. This forum I will only consider the
oral examination that occurs with an external examiner after the written final
exams of an undergraduate BDS degree.
this system is not a mere test of skill or matter of luck that depends on
examiner’s mood or whims and fancy. This has been developed on solid scientific
evidence. Interested students can see the scientific evidence at the following
the oral examination occurs after the written final exams along with the
practical exams. Hence always be ready to face your question paper again and prepare answers
for related questions. Most of the examiners have this as the starting point.
should always look upon the oral exam as an opportunity to improve your grade.
assessment of the student’s performance- oral exams are usually an opportunity
for the external examiner to get feedback from the students on the performance
of the department and college.
an External Examiner is appointed by
the university who chairs the oral exam along with an Internal Examiner, from among your faculty. The details of practice
vary amongst universities, and you will almost certainly be well informed about
the particular practices that occur in your Department.
exam is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge, your
presentation/interaction skills, as well as your ability to communicate. And
these skills are very necessary for scoring well.
may be chosen dynamically, depending on how a student answers previous
questions. As said earlier, question paper will be often the starting point.
Hence be ready to answer in the same.
extent, the student who goes before you sets the mood of your viva. Hence align
yourself for a better frequency.
may be designed to test the in-depth knowledge of a student. Often, the
examiner continues to ask questions in a particular area until the student no
longer responds correctly.
awarded for problem solving, analysis and method, as well as interpersonal
communication and presentation.
Particularly completed records with signature. In case you do not have your
records, inform your internal examiner early.
neat covers. HP pencils, scales, etc. No borrowing inside hall
Your Ability to Speak.
should have proper attire.
manner. Stay calm and pleasant. Don’t panic.
examiner. If you don’t know the answer, it’s better to surrender instead of
unreasonably critical, do not become argumentative or allow the discussion to
associated with the level of confidence of the student and negatively with
crucial to get the feel.
study group to practise viva questions on each other. Senior doctors or
lecturers will often give up some of their time to work with a committed study
characteristically formulated. A common way is with a request from the examiner
to define, classify, or list: define what you are about to talk about; classify
it into a logical sequence of subdivisions.
be useful in helping you store the information in a way that is quickly
retrievable and gives you an idea of the standard and style of questions to be
expected; but they are not comprehensive and should be used in conjunction with
know the answers.
predictable opening questions.
possible, psychologically as well as physically. What you wear will help both. You
will feel better if you look the part that you are hoping to achieve by success
in the viva.
men] and formal dressing [for women]. How you carry yourself in the most
dignified manner is important.
create a good impression. Clean, white coat is essential with exam number
displayed prominently. No names in the tag.
position and cuffed always.
difference at all if you are properly dressed.
anything they like but with modesty.
chair. Accept it with a grace and thanks
angle of the chair as it will go: this will throw your upper body forwards into
the appropriate posture for a viva. Cross ankles but not legs and never arms.
If you are an enthusiastic hand-waver, wave your hands; if you refrain you will
feel odd and look odd.
if you aim for sympathy by showing excessive signs of anxiety you will get
none. The examiners will immediately assume that there is good reason (i.e.
that you are not properly prepared). By the same token, if things do not go
well, pick up the pieces and start again.
usually make eye contact with people, meet your examiner’s eyes. With two examiners,
engage both or all staffs seated even though only one is asking the questions.
They will feel more comfortable if you do.
logical dissertation on a subject, usually within a few minutes because of the
pressure of time.
topic or a definition that shows that you know what is going on, and you need
to make yours as watertight as possible.
your definition if the examiners challenge it and play the game according to
ask for it to be rephrased or ask for clarification, such as ‘I’m sorry, would
you like me to tell you about…?’
once, the examiner is clearly at fault: pick one of the questions that you are
happy with and answer that.
with a use of words that suggests that, although you cannot immediately recall
the answer, you do know really.
heartsink question [that is perfectly simple yet for some reason completely
unanswerable at that instant]. Be always prepared. Rehearsal is the only
how to move the questioning on – Sitting quietly saying nothing is a waste of
everyone’s time. Practise saying ‘I can’t recall’ (better than ‘I don’t
know’—especially as you almost certainly do know but cannot at that instant
retrieve the answer).
end of viva, say ‘thank you’, stand up and leave the room immediately.
or reprisals. Do not grimace, weep or look desperate.
for their time or any additional words. Do not say ‘I’m sure I could have done
better’; it invites the response ‘Yes, I’m sure you could’.
sheet or get to know the mark by foul means. That irritates the examiners.
the last one from your mind and start all over again as if nothing has
happened. You will inevitably think of all the things you forgot to say or got
wrong. You will not think of the many things that you said that were correct
and so you will have a distorted view of how well you did. Try to avoid
this—easy to recommend, very hard to do.
with friends but don’t discuss in detail so that you discourage others or get