It’s not a mystery as to why students tend to feel anxious about grades. When your writing is being ranked, evaluated, tension lurks around every corner. Though there is no complete or easy solution to this quagmire—you can use your professor’s evaluation standards and philosophies to your advantage. When presented with a grading rubric (a set of criteria typically listing performance standards tied to letter grades) instead of worrying so much about the grade think more about the language. Is it coherent? What’s the logic? What does it say about crafting an essay?
Reading carefully through the rubric can provide you with a mental picture of what’s being asked of you. Moreover, when you’re still learning what makes a strong thesis; how to structure the argument following the thesis; and particulars of analysis and sentence mechanics, absorbing details of this nature goes a long way in being able to think critically about academic essays.
Whether you like evaluation or the thought of it makes you cringe, looking at the rubric and speaking with your professor not only helps you understand what it takes to make a grade—but more importantly gives you a discernible outlook on how to become a well-established college writer. My advice, don’t shy away from it because of how it makes you feel. Find what’s right about it and learn. And find what doesn’t work for you and put it through the wringer.