Tips and Tricks for VIVA Examinations

What is VIVA?

All the medical colleges do have viva examination during the practical examinations. Usually Viva is conducted in three different table carrying 5 marks each. Usually one Internal Examiner & two External Examiners are involved in these planned viva voce examinations.

Although exams like VIVA or interview & exams are so much in our professional life we never spent time for practicing or being taught the technique during our medical education in the medical college. It is assumed that we know what we are doing. Of course, just to pass out from a medical college requires a certain amount of exam technique, reading the question, allowing enough time for each answer and so on. That much is common sense. However I have always had the sneaking suspicion that there is something more to exams, secrets to which I am not privy.

To discover these elusive exam skills, who better to ask than an examiner or to be a part of examination pattern. I had few experiences; I also gave lots of viva and will do so in the future however I have witnessed Final MBBS exams and few more Universities exams and observe VIVA closely then ever than my student life.

I have an impression that viva is not that tough. Its becasue we don't do discussion in our study routine thats why we find it difficult. Its all about how you poresent yourself in the VIVA. Look no one is prefect in this world, even examiner don't know everything. They just want to know that whether you have got the right impression or the concept of the subject matter or not. Whether you can differentiate a girl or boy thats it, thats the concept. They don't want to go into the detaol of subject matter.

The viva voce might form part of the validated assessment for a course, assessed by an oral examination. In these situations, the viva voce is a useful tool to assist in authenticating that the student has got the enough knowledge in the subject matter.

There are a variety of other circumstances which might require the use of a viva voce and provision for these is contained in the Academic and Organisational Regulations.

Why we need to have VIVA ?
As there are several legitimate reasons for asking a student to attend a viva voce examination, all of which may have a different impact on the student, students must be advised why they have been called for a viva, to enable them to prepare in an informed way.

Students need to be given as much notice as possible regarding timing and arrangements for the viva voce examination. Where viva voce examination involving External Examiners is standard practice within a Medical College/School, students should be informed of this early on during the course. When publicising/informing students of viva voce examination dates and times, Schools should remind students of their responsibility to attend.

Clearly, there are operational issues in allowing External Examiners the right to viva any student. Arrangements should be clarified as early as possible by the Course/Programme co-ordinator. This should include adequate time to give students advanced warning of when they are required to attend for a viva.

Where the viva voce is being used to determine difficult/borderline cases, students must be reminded that the viva voce can only be used to raise, not lower, the mark/grade.

How to prepare VIVA effectively?
  1. Must know the basic subject matter.
  2. Ask your immediate senior about their experiences.
  3. Review question that has been asked in the recent theory exam.
  4. Try to know the favorite questions of the examiner - you can do it by asking or collecting question from previous group/friends who have faced the viva.
  5. Review: semester exam questions.
  6. At least read 1-2 chapter in depth as when you can’t answer examiner will ask you “which topic you have read” that means he wants to ask the question from that particular topic so that you can get good marks.
  7. Usually examiner do have favorite topic/question try to find out.
How to get ready for VIVA?
  • Dress appropriately in a clean, professional manner.
  • Wear a formal dress, ironed apron, legible Name & Roll no. Tag.
  • Your personality matters a lot. [its like the way you interpret people when you meet first time, your impression does a lot]
  • Be early - reach the examination place half an hour before the exam starts
What should be do during the VIVA?
  • Greet the examiner - Good Morning/Afternoon Sir/Madam
  • Stand up until you are asked to take a seat, remember you are going for VIVA.
  • Alwyas Smile it’s the most lethal weapon that a human can possess.
  • Do not be panic/nervous, be confident
  • Be specific to the question give simple answer.
  • Never, NEVER lie – if you couldn’t answer something or don’t know the value.
  • If you don’t know say – I’m sorry Sir/Madam, I don’t know.
  • “Yes Sir/Ma’am” and “No Sir/Ma’am are generally the only words that need to be spoken when examiner describe you something or talk about out of topic.
  • Don’t argue with the examiner. They can hurt you much more than you can irritate them.
How can I help other people?

You can remember the question and chalk down on a paper or you can post in the xenoMED about your viva experience to help the other medical students. They will be grateful to you.

Forget writing in an exam until your wrist aches, or straining to remember that clever detail you once read somewhere which will surely make the difference between passing and failing. Instead talk & think about how you could do better in the viva. Don’t Complain (sleep is for wimps, eating is a waste of time, tired is not a word).

Viva usually goes smoothly, we don’t discuss among ourselves that’s why we find it difficult to speak in front of examiner during Viva. Have discussion during class hour.

Examiner are not there to fail you in the exam, instead they try to help you. Allow them to help you out. Nothing is perfect and nothing is permanent, you can’t achieve either.

Best of Luck

iCBSE India