Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Pengalaman Viva PhD

Seperti yang saya ceritakan di entri sebelum ini di sini, saya akan coretkan some of my experience regarding my PhD viva. Ada yang kata this is the examination of our PhD. Ada juga yang kata this is the final showcase of the PhD. To tell you the truth, honestly there's no right or wrong about the statement. But for me, every single thing in my PhD is the exam it self. Every single process. I remember one of my senior member of the faculty told me once, PhD is about going through all the process.

Okay, back to the experience. Pengalaman menghabiskan penulisan tesis dan runnning it dalam turnitin for plagiarism check pun actually is the starting point of my Viva experience. Bermula seawal almost 6 months before my actual Viva date. Then the process of my supervisor selecting examiner. Dua kali juga permohonan examiner melalui mesyuarat sebelum di approve. One external examiner from outside Malaysia, one external examiner from inside Malaysia and one internal examiner within the Faculty itself.

When I finally submit my thesis, it's time to update a bit my readings regarding topic PhD saya as there may be some current development which the answer is always a YES. If you ask me whether you should do this or not, I will say a big yes. Basically because as the PhD topic is our interest, so kita kena la selalu membaca topic of interest kita tu. Lagipun knowledge selalu berkembang. It does not mean that we must read something academic. Current news regarding our PhD topic pun dah cukup bagus.

Then, I was told by the Postgraduate department staff about my Viva date. Actually I was expecting an earlier date but due to some unforseen circumstances, expected date tu tak dapat dilangsungkan. Because you must remember that in setting up the date, the availability of various person involved must be considered. Those person are the chairman (must be a Prof or Assoc Prof, preferably a Prof), at least two examiners (both external and internal) and our supervisor. 

Masa dapat date, saya dah book the week before untuk ke holiday. Almost one whole week. Memang saya ada bawa things untuk di buat berkenaan Viva ni but as my wife told me, you will never have any time to do. The kids memang perah tenaga saya betul-betul bila holiday ni. From dusk till dawn diorang beraktiviti. 

A day before Viva.
This is very crucial as I need to remain calm. Tak mau panic attack or anxiety. Surprisingly I did not have any of these padahal my Viva preparation biasa biasa je. So many things to cover and I do not have the ability to do it all. Another thing is as my PhD is longer than the usual time frame (senang cerita, not graduating on time), so banyak juga perkara saya kena refresh memory. 

Luckily for me, bila saya selongkar my computer data, so many things saya dah simplify in one or two pages every year. It seems like my strategy to prepare for Viva from the very beginning of my PhD paid off. Just need to selongkar back my computer data. 

So for my readers yang belum or tengah buat PhD, make sure every single thing you do, you document it in a MSWord file so that when it finally comes to Viva, you can retrieve and use it back. Kinda diary. Kalau buat on time okay lagi sebab masih belum lupa, tapi kalau dah terkeluar dari standard time frame, better buat macam saya suggest sebab nanti lupa.

A day before Viva, my parents call wishing me luck. That weekend saya balik kampung jumpa diorang. Ayah suruh baca Rabbi Yassir berulang kali supaya dipermudahkan. The night before my morning Viva, saya di ofis dan terjumpa pula rakan-rakan. Dan mereka terkejut bila saya kata esok pagi saya Viva. Diorang tanya tak balik rumah ke prepare or tidor or nervous ke apa. Saya jawab tak, so far dah siap semua yang termampu. So there's not much I can do more. Baik tenang-tenang. Lagipun Tenang is Good. And I did not update anything on SocMed because I am really calm. Selalu yang update dalam socmed tenang is good beserta gambar dia lepak somewhere tu sebenarnya dia tengah tak tenang tapi cuba berpura-pura tenang. Kita kalau tengah tenang tak perlu nak upload kat SocMed. Saya ada seorang kenalan yang bila dia tengah tak tenang dia akan upload kat SocMed yang dia tengah tenang sedangkan bila jumpa dia, dia tak bertenang. Tujuan dia upload tu sebab nak tunjuk pada orang yang buat dia tak tenang yang dia sedang bertenang. Very funny this guy.

Viva Day
I woke up as usual, kejutkan anak perempuan saya suruh bangun pergi sekolah. Masa tengah kejut tu saya suruh dia doakan saya sekali supaya saya tenang dalam Viva. Saya tak sebut Viva, saya sebut 'Kakak doakan Daddy ye, Daddy exam PhD pagi ni'. Nanti sebut Viva dia tak faham pulak.

Nak ke ofis, wife wishes me Good Luck, and there I was off with my motorbike to my faculty where my Viva will be held. Sampai ofis at 0745hrs. Dokumen-dokumen telah saya prepare a day before and telah saya check for errors. Sampai ofis, do all the necessary things, doa pada Allah and berjalan slowly to the place where my Viva will take place.

Rupanya my Viva starts at 1000hrs. I am here now at 0815hrs. Too early. So to cut it short, ada minum-minum dan jamuan ringan pada jam 0945hrs. Everything for me was calm and usual. So at around 1015 hrs (lepas ambil gambar), the Chairman for today's session which is Prof Adnan began the session. After introducing me with all the people inside, including my Dep Dean Academic Affairs who was present as an observer, all of us need to go out except the minute taker, chairman and examiners.

Then we were allowed to go back inside again. I started the presentation. The maximum limit is 25 minutes. When I was doing my rehearsal, it was all over in just 10 minutes. But during the real Viva, I still had 3 more slides to explain even after the 25 minutes bell rang. Luckily the chairman allowed me to proceed at faster pace. One of the examiners told me that I presented like a politician. Tiba-tiba masa present tu, semangat naik. 

Then came the Q&A, Alhamdulillah managed to answer all the questions and most are suggestions. Tak banyak sangat kena betulkan. My external examiner from Turkey wrote in his report that I need to put some things which I actually had but I put it in the wrong section. Most of my corrections are like that. 

In the end, the result was conveyed to me by the Chairman during the Viva at 1130 hrs, 1127 hrs to be exact. And I called my wife and my dad to convey the good news.

Post Viva
At 1220 hrs saya collect every single thing from the Postgraduate Office such as my letter of result,copies of my thesis returned by my examiners (for easier reference in correction), then terus rasa lapar. So me and both my supervisors were off to Mozers to celebrate and discuss further on my Viva and corrections. Lepas makan, balik ofis to finalize some things. Balik rumah awal hari ni sebab suddenly felt very tired. After years of this PhD thing, hampir half of it or 3/4 or beban dah hilang. Balik rumah terus tidur.

So, what I've learnt and wish to share with you all is, Viva ni tempat kita cerita apa kita dah buat masa PhD, pengalaman kita ketika PhD. During my session, examiners tanya tentang kenapa pilih method kajian, no wrong or right answer. Yang penting kita justify. Macam saya, saya justify kenapa saya pilih method sekian sekian sebab the research topic is sensitive in nature and would like to explore more on the research problem.

Examiners pun ada bagi suggestions tentang apa yang perlu saya buat untuk menambahbaik tesis saya. Which is something that is good sebab sepanjang buat PhD ni, hanya saya dan supervisor yang dok baca dan faham. Kalau ada present di konferen pun, bukan yang final product. Dengan adanya examiner baca tesis kita, we can have a different view on other reader's perspective.

So now, I need to do my correction. Hope to finish my correction A.S.A.P


  1. Assalamualaikum,
    Dear Dr. Nizam Yunus.

    I'am actually amaze with your state of reference sharing on Tuesday, August 27, 2019.

    I'am a new joiner to PhD world.
    Baru hantar proposal paper to UniKL. I'am bleseds to get 3 supervisors for my topic.
    1stly your sharing is very inspiring...
    I feels nervous every time i open my laptop. PhD is still blurring ...tapi nak kena buat juga... as PhD is my mom's request from me...
    My masters are done at 3.8 CGPA and i'am so proud of my achievement as a former bankers and penjawat awam now in one of government agencies.

    I sebenarnya rasa takut to proceed...with your encouraging words and sharing...i think i shod proceed..

    Thank you...
    and perhaps u shod share more....


    1. wsalam. welcome to the phd world. Don't worry about phd. do worry about our pace and momentum in doing phd. saya pun pernah rasa blur in one point, but i kept on reading things related to my topic, macam saya cerita in my blog post, the reading material can be magazine, news, or anything. as long as it is related to my topic. and setiap kali saya baca, saya akan simpan link dia so that i can use it in my writing. by the way what is your area of phd research?

    2. I'm writing on Internationalization of micro Entrepreneurship through GMM / certification.

  2. Tuk examiner mmg ada dari luar negara ke utk stiap university.. saya br dpt offer phd, but my English not so good. Boleh dr. Bg prndapat x

    1. Maaf lewat sikit reply, english is not the main criteria untuk buat phd yang bagus. What it takes is usaha dan kesungguhan. Ada banyak perisian yang boleh translate from BM to English. And bila kita baca jurnal akademik in English, insha allah boleh improve English kita. Saya sendiri bukan semua English words saya tau maksudnya, that's why dulu-dulu kita ada dictionary and now kita ada Mr.Google. Technology zaman sekarang membolehkan kita improve English kita, yang tinggal cuma usaha kita sahaja. Good Luck.