In my institution I am required to pass a first year assessment for my PhD, which I have done so successfully and without any remedial action required.

However, the examiners report is quite critical. For example, it states that my talk was overly-technical for the audience and that my report assumed knowledge from the reader of many field specific terms. It also stated that I focused too much on my own theoretical interests and the report did not have a wide enough scope. It also listed several improvements that could be made to the report, although these were minor imo.

Some areas were good, for example my viva performance was quite satisfactory and apparently I'm a highly motivated and creative student. However, the amount of space given to criticism was proportionally much higher.

Should I be worried about this?

  • 1
    You should not worry but consider taking a course to learn how to give better presentations.
    – user9482
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 8:15

1 Answer 1


I think that the criticisms which you describe are within the scope of constructive criticism. While you should not ignore them, they are not in themselves indicating any kind of "failure".

Depending on your discipline, and on the particular supervisor(s), feedback on progress reports of this nature can vary greatly. Some supervisors only write comments if they have serious concerns; others, who are basically satisfied, may still wish to give detailed suggestions for improvement. So it is difficult for strangers on this site to offer conclusive advice; you should probably approach your supervisor or some kind of departmental "Postgraduate Tutor" if you are worried about this report.

  • 3
    Nice answer (+!1). I might also suggest that OP ask other, more senior students about the critiques and come to some determination as to whether this is the "norm" in the department or not.
    – Mad Jack
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 18:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .