"I remind examiners that students will be daunted in the oral because you can ask them anything. So put the students at ease, I suggest, by letting them pick the first thing to discuss. 'Once they are at ease,' I explain, 'you will be able to find out what they know.' I can say this both based on my experience as a student and because I tried just that as an examiner, with success. Most of all, I can tell students: 'You will survive; see, I'm still here.'"
-- Stephen Maurer '67, professor of mathematics, Swarthmore College