The examiner may give you additional information and ask you to incorporate that into your thinking. If you answer “I don’t know” more than once or twice, you’re usually in trouble.
Again, give yourself a little time to think, and then tell us something interesting. (I guess this is rule number five.) There may be questions that you genuinely don’t know anything about. What examiners are looking for, above all, is intelligent engagement.
It is likely that chalk or whiteboard pens will be provided, but it doesn’t hurt to have a piece of chalk or a whiteboard pen in your pocket so you can generate a quick sketch or write down an equation in the course of answering a question.
If possible, check out the room first so you have some idea of what the audiovisual situation is going to be, including what kind of boards the room has.
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Visit Stack Exchange I will soon defend my Ph D in social science in Sweden.You should however make it clear when you are doing so.“I’m not an expert on X, but I know P and Q, so I think perhaps T will hold.” Interesting conversations often evolve from such questions and answers. Depending on the nature of the question, any of the following may occur: Be aware though that you are expected to answer most of the questions.I want to ask what questions the evaluation committee will ask me during the defense?If they ask me some questions outside my thesis, what shall I do? What quality I need to successfully defend my Ph D?The same comment therefore applies to your presentation as to your thesis: Don’t say anything in your presentation that isn’t completely clear in your head. You can expect many types of questions, sometimes interspersed with comments, some of which I mentioned in my previous blog post. Not all of the questions will be ultra-sophisticated.Remember that some of your examiners may be from a different field, and may have very simple questions.You either said “I don’t know” much too often, or you gave incorrect or badly incomplete answers to more than a few questions.In these cases, the examiners need to decide if they want you to do it again, possibly after revising the thesis. What I’m going to say is necessarily going to apply most directly to the system we have here at the University of Lethbridge, which is similar to what you would see at most North American universities. There are variations in the format of the thesis defense from university to university, and certainly from one country to another.