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I am an international student who applied for PhD in the Department of Social Science in UK. I had submitted the proposal as a part of my application for which I received an interview invitation. While preparing for the interview, to my horror, I found that all three hypotheses in my final proposal were entirely wrong. I might have copied them from the wrong draft during final edits and overlooked them before submitting.

The Hypotheses I wrote are :- H1: x,y,z would be a predictor of A; H2: x,z would be a predictor of B

while the correct one should be:- H1: y,z would be a predictor of A; H2: x,y would be a predictor of B

I have two interviews coming week - The student panel and the PI panel. They did not ask for any presentations on the proposal in any of those interviews, but they will share the proposal with the student panel. What should I do? Shall I write them, convey the issue beforehand, and send the corrected proposal? Or should I speak directly during the Interview(if asked)? Will I be considered incompetent and reckless for this mistake, and will it be counted against me during the evaluation? I really don't want to blow this opportunity.

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    This is nothing to worry about in the slightest. Every piece of scientific writing contains typos. If you’re asked, it’s good to be prepared, like you are, but I can assure you that if someone read this (and noticed it in the first place) they would think at most “oh, a small typo” and never think of it again. Jan 2 at 11:30

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You've been offered an interview ... and interview panels don't waste their time with people whom they think are idiots. So clearly, you have not been put in that category. Secondly, I doubt that prior to your interview, anyone is going to change their view about you even in the unlikely event that they re-read your proposal with sufficient care to detect your error.

With that in mind, raising the issue at the interview at the earliest reasonable opportunity seems like a very good idea. But note my word "reasonable"! Do not let your anxiety about the problem lead you into trying to discuss it as soon as you get in the door. Let the interview panel guide things. If and when a discussion about your specific research proposal begins, then sure, talk about the error. You might even broach the topic by saying: "I don't know whether anyone picked up my confusing editing error ... but I'd like to take a moment or two to talk about what my hypothesis really is!"

And if the interview panel conclude their business without touching on the issue, they are still (almost certainly) going to ask you what questions you have or whether there is anything you'd like to add ... and once more, you will have your chance.

Good luck.

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  • Thank you so much for the advice. It helped a lot during the interview. I got an offer to join.
    – KJune
    Mar 4 at 6:37
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The proposal is less about the exact viability of the work, but rather to see if you are capable of expressing your ideas with some degree of clarity all while proposing something relevant without any huge critical errors.

You have clearly demonstrated that to a reasonable degree otherwise you would not be invited for an interview. You can address this issue as a typo, briefly apologize for the oversight and do not dwell on it - people dwell on critical mistakes, not little typos, so don't give that impression.

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  • Thank you so much for the advice. I remembered it and did not dwell on my mistake. It helped immensely. I received an offer from the university.
    – KJune
    Mar 4 at 6:39

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