Speaking from a lot of personal experience with this - try to break the ice right at the beginning. This is someone you know well and conversely, someone who knows you well. Think of it as just another conversation on the subject. All the people telling you to “bullshit” or just be confident in “spurt[ing] some technical shit” have no clue what they’re talking about.
Do you think a professional in your field is going to be impressed by this? Do you honestly think a professional cannot judge whether you know what you’re talking about or not? A corollary to this is - don’t insult the examiner’s intelligence. I’m sure you’ve been to conferences and lectures where the speaker has gotten lost, has been unable to answer questions, etc. It happens to everyone, and the way around it is not to start making things up.
Be confident, and make sure you determine the pace of your exam/presentation.
Richard Feynman wrote on “whether a man knows what he is talking about, whether what he says has some basis or not”: “And my trick that I use is very easy. If you ask him intelligent questions - that is, penetrating, interested, honest, frank, direct questions on the subject, and no trick questions - then he quickly gets stuck. It is like a child asking naive questions. If you ask naive but relevant questions, then almost immediately the person doesn’t know the answer, if he is an honest man.”
What’s being tested is not your answering questions, but your knowledge of how to arrive at the answers - unless your adviser is interested in rote learning and memorization, which I hope is not the case. Assuming you know the methods, take your time, apply them, and that’s all there is to it.
Lastly, for the physiological aspects of anxiety, try tactical breathing. In 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, out 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, repeat. Good luck.[/quote]
This is really sound advice. Absolutely, under no circumstances try to “bullshit” or “fumble your way through” anything. Just like in a job interview, if asked something you don’t understand your best response is to either ask questions for clarification, or simply say “I’m not sure, can I have a moment to think it over?” as opposed to doing the whole “Umm, ahhh, let’s see here, ok, well…hmmm”. As aut-x-rs mentioned as well, it’s more about the process and HOW you go about solving a problem as opposed to the actual answer, so try to communicate clearly what you’re doing and make sure it’s technically/theoretically sound, don’t try to fudge through things and don’t make assumptions.