Congratulations, you’re about to graduate! Now it’s time to defend your project in front of your teachers and classmates, right? Wrong—there’s one more step before that big moment.
Before you defend your project, there are some things you can do to ensure the best possible outcome of your final year presentation and prepare you to answer any questions that might come up during the presentation.
Here are 10 Tips to Successfully Defend Your Project in Your Final Year!
10 Tips to Successfully Defend Your Project in Your Final Year:
1) Know what is expected of you
In your final year, you will be required to defend your project, which is the culmination of all of your hard work.
-Keep a detailed lab notebook, logging what you do and how it turns out helps you later when writing up your results and defending them.
create a spreadsheet for your notes and data so everything can be easily accessed.
Re-read the instructions:
from any experiment or task before starting so there are no surprises.
Write an outline
for what you want to cover during your defense presentation before hand; this way you can cut down on time spent going through slides.
2) Do a practice run
It’s important that you are well prepared for the defense.
A practice run can help you get used to answering questions and handling difficult situations.
It also helps you identify any areas where you need to improve your research or prepare yourself better.
When practicing, try to make it as realistic as possible: ask a friend, tutor, colleague or advisor to be your audience and ask you some tough questions.
You should also create a list of topics for discussion so that when you actually defend your work there is no awkward silence in between responses.
3) Prepare your materials
Every PhD student has a different way of preparing their materials for the final defense.
It’s important to do some research and find what works best for you.
Find out if there are any rules that your university requires before you begin preparing your thesis defense materials.
For example, some universities require a prospectus or thesis summary in advance, while others do not.
4) Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
It’s important to practice your presentation as much as possible.
I recommend that you rehearse at least five times before presenting in front of a committee.
There are a few things you can do to prepare for this, such as writing out the entire presentation and practicing your delivery.
Timing yourself so that you know how long it should be, and practicing with a friend so they can give feedback on your presentation.
Rehearse with someone who will critique your performance:
Consider rehearsing your presentation with a fellow graduate student or colleague from outside of the research group.
5) Be confident
The process of defending your project can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that the more prepared you are, the better you’ll feel.
Research the committee ahead of time and determine what they value.
This will help you know what topics or aspects of your work they’re likely to focus on.
Gather evidence from multiple sources and prioritize which ones are most important.
6) Stay calm
It can be easy to get nervous when you’re defending your project and it’s important that you don’t let this anxiety get the better of you.
Stay calm and take deep breaths. You’ll be able to think more clearly if you do.
Make sure you have everything set up: Make sure all your equipment is working, that the slide deck is running smoothly, and so on.
The best way to make sure everyone understands what you’re saying is to ask questions after each point in the presentation.
Check out other people’s presentations:
A great way to know what a good defense looks like is by looking at other people’s presentations!
7) Make eye contact
Eye contact is a great way to show confidence and interest. Eye contact can be difficult for some people, but practice makes perfect.
Here are some tips on how to maintain eye contact:
– Move your head so that you’re looking at the other person’s eyes instead of their forehead or mouth.
– Look at them as long as they are looking at you and don’t break eye contact until they do.
8) Listen to the questions
-What are the main contributions of your project?
-What is the problem that you were trying to solve with this project?
-What was your process for solving this problem?
-How did you know when you had found a solution?
-What was the most difficult obstacle that you faced, and how did you overcome it?
9) Take your time
The one thing you should know is that there is no set time limit for when a project should be defended.
It can take anywhere from three months to up to a year. Take your time and make sure you’re satisfied with your work before presenting it.
Remember, nobody’s perfect and nobody knows everything so the best thing you can do is admit what doesn’t work.
You’ll learn more if you listen than if you just talk at people!
10) Follow up after
It’s never too early to start preparing for your defense. While you will have the opportunity for a few trial runs.
It’s important that you feel comfortable and confident with the presentation of your project before it is time for the final defense. That being said,
Create a timeline. This will keep everything organized and on track so that you don’t fall behind and procrastinate.