10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Getting a PhD

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Getting a PhD

“A Series of Mistakes leads to a disaster”

Rightly said by some one that if mistakes are not taken care of, a disaster is bound to happen. Especially when you are undergoing one of the biggest journey in your career – “A Ph.D”

So if you want to avoid any disaster in your career Post Ph.D, This article is a must read and will hardly take 5 minutes of your time. Read on

Mistake 1: Enjoying in your 1st Year of PhD

The first mistake that PhD. Students commonly make is taking their first year of school for granted. Freshmen year is actually a time for research and study. Yet many freshmen focus on many other things such as skipping school and partying.

Time moves quickly. One day you will wake up and realize that three years have already passed and you have achieved nothing. So don’t waste time and get your framing right. Most successful PhD degree holders will tell you that studying and research start from your first year of school. It’s not something that happens overnight. Open your book today, start reading, and brainstorm ideas on what to


Mistake 2: Going Incommunicado, Not Updating Knowledge

The second mistake is failing to keep up with the administration. Getting a PhD Degree is boring and many students get lost in the middle of the process. A lot of students suddenly stop checking their emails and getting information about new scholarships. In the end, they find themselves re-enrolling just to catch up. You can just imagine the waste of time and money if you get caught in this situation.

You don’t need to do all this to realize how much energy you’ve wasted. Get up and check your email. You can chat your fellows for updates and find out exciting opportunities that are just waiting for you to discover.

Mistake 3: Not having a Career Plan

The third mistake is most students don’t have a career plan. A recent survey revealed that 50 percent of PhD students do not actually go into the academia. They settle as researchers in a private organization or work in policy areas for the government.

It’s time for you to know that getting a PhD means a lot of training, researching, and studying. To keep you driven, you need to craft a career plan. Think about the topic you want to focus on and the people you want to interview. Ask yourself about your career goals such as where you want to publish your thesis, the awards you want to get, and the kind of job you want to work after earning your degree.


Mistake 4: Bunking Meetings with your Project Guide

The fourth mistake is canceling meetings with your supervisor. A lot of students are guilty of skipping sessions because they feel like they have not done enough with their PhD thesis. What you don’t know is that you can still talk with your supervisor even if you have not written anything at all.

If you’re feeling confused or having a brain freeze after writing one page, you can ask your supervisor for some guidance. Don’t be ashamed if your progress is slow. Everyone has gone through that. All you need in getting a PhD on time is to talk to your supervisor.

In fact, it is highly recommended for you to attend as many meetings as you can. These can include lab meetings, group meetings, or a preliminary meeting with your panel. You can learn a lot from anecdotal meetings as you do in your research.

Mistake 5: Failing to take Notes during Meeting with your Guide / Mentors

The fifth mistake is failure to take notes during the meeting with your supervisor. Most students who don’t take notes experience writer’s block after missing important details from their mentors.

Taking notes is a significant element in getting a PhD. They are important review documents that remind you of the relevant tips from your supervisor. Hence, always make it a habit to bring a pen and paper when going to meetings.

Mistake 6: Enrolling into PhD without Scholarship

Most students think of self funded PhD or avoid taking entrance exams. Off Late No University / Institution is taking PhD’s seriously if they did not go through a national level entrance exam such as CSIR NET / GATE / ICMR JRF etc. You can check Biotecnika’s Jobs section where most job openings seek a CSIR NET qualification.

Remember If you have still not got your scholarship, Grab one with the help of Biotecnika.

Mistake 7: Questioning the Integrity of your Guide / System

Many students start questioning the logic behind every process which exists in the PhD course work. Infact many a times they even end up questioning the intelligence of the Guide. This is strict red mark. Not trusting the system will eventually lead to you being thrown away from the system.

Mistake 8: Cursing your decision to do a PhD

20% of PhD students start questioning their integrity and feeling insecure about their decision. They start questioning the very decision of doing a PhD which leads to further frustration and low morale,. The secret of a Successful PhD is to keep yourself hydrated with motivation and high morale. Remember every good thing takes its own sweet time. Rome was not built in a day and not even you! It took 20 years of dedicated study to become what you are today. So don’t question your decision. Stick to your decision. God has a plan for you and it will fall in place once you start believing in it.

Mistake 9: Falling in the Comparison Trap

Can apple be compared with Oranges ? No

Then why do you compare yourself with any one else. Remember you are genetically unique. Why think that your Biological PhD degree is not as worth as an IT professional or any other field PhD. Have faith in yourself and don’t fall in this trap ever.

Mistake 10: Not following BioTecNika regularly & seriously

I know, I Know you may say I am promoting our website. But think once, every morning you wake up, Our Team has something or the other ready for you and your career. So if you are not reading our email newsletters, articles, news, Jobs, scholarships, exam alerts carefully. You are committing one of the biggest mistakes apart from the 9 above. 

So, these are the common PhD mistakes you have to avoid. Getting a PhD should be an amazing experience when you learn to trust the process. Do your best and always follow the rules. Good Luck!

Post your thoughts on the problems you are facing in your PhD below and I would love to answer you individually.

Shekhar Suman is the Co-founder of BioTecNika Info Labs Pvt. Ltd. He is an Entrepreneur, Writer, Public Speaker, and a Motivational Coach. In his career, he has mentored more than 100,000+ students toward success in the Biopharma Industry. He heads the BioTecNika Group, which comprises BioTecNika.com, BioTecNika.org, and Rasayanika.com. An avid reader and listener who is passionate about BioSciences. Today Biotecnika is India's largest Biotech Career portal, with over 5 Million subscribers from academia & Industry. It's ranked among the top 50 websites worldwide in the Biology category.


  1. Respected member,

    Your post of mistakes during PhD is really good. No. 10 mistake I never done till now as I am regularly following BioTecNika website. Even I don’t think I am doing any of the mistakes which you have listed. Still I want to know few things which can help me in my research.

    Thanks and regards,
    Mahnoor Patel

  2. Hello,
    I am Ph.D scholar from University of Hyderabad. I regularly visit biotecnika website and truly speaking it is of great help and keeps me updated with various scholarships. Today the article posted regarding the “common mistakes while getting in to Ph.D” was matching to my situations as all common Ph.D scholar. I am about to done with my second year and don’t have any plan work for my thesis. My two years just passed as you mentioned which is a very common mistake mostly Ph.d students faces. I would be thankful to biotecnika if you please give me some suggestion so that i can cope up with my time and work both.

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