I have no problem with preparing for my dissertation defense. I'll have met
with my committee members so many times before hand that there should be no
surprises from them. And I'll have given portions of the seminar at other
forums. It's just a matter of pasting it all together and answering some
questions which are probably predictable.
But, I have two related questions:
1.) How does one prepare for general exams? I'm much more nervous about
this situation, because the committee members can ask me, theoretically,
about anything. I realize that I can beg them ahead of time for sample
questions, but they could still come up with just about anything. Any
suggestions on what to do? Other than trying to read whole books and
journals and memorize lots of facts?
2.) How does one prepare for the outside world of reviewers after your
dissertation defense? It's possible that committee members are less
critical of your science than reviewers in the outside world. These
reviewers could be encountered during manuscript reviews or job interviews,
such that their criticisms could invalidate your science when everything
seemed fine with the old committee members. Any suggestions on how to
prepare for these situations? Other than to hope that you have really good
critical committee members who look for the worst in your science?