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Viva Survivors – the effect of peer-mentoring on pre-viva anxiety in early-years students

Knight, R.-A., Dipper, L. & Cruice, M. (2016). Viva Survivors – the effect of peer-mentoring on pre-viva anxiety in early-years students. Studies in Higher Education, 43(1), pp. 190-199. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2016.1161018


Viva voce exams are used in many disciplines as a test of students’ knowledge and skills. Whilst acknowledged as a useful form of assessment, vivas commonly lead to a great deal of anxiety for students. This anxiety is also apparent for vivas in phonetics, where students must produce and recognise sounds drawn from across the world’s languages, and pervious work has shown that viewing a video of a mock-viva does not reduce this anxiety. To address anxiety prior to phonetics vivas, 63 students, across three cohorts, engaged in a brief, isolated, peer-mentoring session with previously successful students (‘viva survivors’). Anxiety about the viva was measured before and after the mentoring experience, using the short form of the State Trait Anxiety Inventory. There was a significant reduction in anxiety after mentoring, and a significant correlation between anxiety before mentoring and the decrease in anxiety after mentoring. Short-term mentoring is posited as a time- and cost-effective method to decrease viva-related anxiety across disciplines.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in Higher Education, available online at
Publisher Keywords: Anxiety, peer-mentoring, vivas, oral exams
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
SWORD Depositor:
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