The Day Before the Dissertation Defense and the Best Ways to Spend It

No doubt, you will be nervous before your defense. Your will get an adrenaline rush which can make your arms and legs trembling, give you sweaty palms, and make your stomach churn. And it’s normal! The hardest part is waiting for the beginning, but once the defense starts, feelings should get under control. The main thing you shouldn’t do is to learn any new information the day before your defense. Try to understand that you will never be able to memorize everything and all the additional facts you can find will make you even more confused as a result. So what will be the ideal scenario to spend the day before this important event? Here are some ideas:

a scared student

Things to take

First thing to do is to prepare the items you may wish to take with you, don’t forget to include the following:

  • An additional copy of your dissertation;
  • A portable USB drive with all the necessary files (just in case);
  • A list of questions you want to ask the examiners (if you have any);
  • The additional notes you have made lately;
  • The list of corrections you have come across while reviewing your paper.


Give a couple of final defense speech rehearsals to your friends to make sure you have memorized everything. Review your thesis and its central arguments one last time. Revise your answers to some of the objections you think you might hear. A good tip is to compose lists of all the possible questions and answers to them beforehand so you could just revise this information the day before your defense.

Meet some friends

You will want to hear some good and inspiring words to increase your self-confidence before this dreadful event. So make sure to arrange a meeting with your family or close friends. Of course, they will do their best to encourage and support you.

Clean the house

The other important thing is to keep yourself distracted from all the unnecessary thoughts as they only increase your anxiety. Try to stay busy during the day: clean the house, do some washing, or even cook something. But make sure to not overdo yourself if you don’t want to be tired and exhausted on the day of your defense.


Exercise will no doubt reduce some of the emotional intensity you might be feeling. It will also help you to clear your thoughts and calm yourself down a little bit. So going to the gym will not be a bad idea. If you don’t have such a possibility, just do a simple workout at home.

A good sleep

Make sure to have a good night sleep before this important day. You may try listening to music or watching a short funny video before you go to bed, this will help you to relax and fall asleep faster. Your brain should be well-rested in order to perform at its best. So don’t make a mistake spending the whole night studying, better have a few extra hours of sleep.

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