It's been a long time since I was worried about grades, but my new job has me thinking a lot about them again. In the first 4 weeks of my 8 week training I will take 8 quizzes and two exams. I have to get at least an 80 on each of them to pass, and if I fail one more than twice my employment is terminated. That's a much more severe penalty than I've had in some time. The same was true of my first corporate job when I started it way back in 2000. I aced all the tests I took then and I'm doing quite well on the ones I'm taking now, but I've always been pretty good at taking tests.
Well, good in so far as I lived up to what ever MY standards for the test and the time were.
I was once overjoyed that I got a 62 on a final exam in college. The professor told us on the first day of class that the final counted for 100% of the course grade and that she had no attendance policy, among other things I'm sure. But, that's all I heard and I took it as a challenge to not go to any classes for the whole semester and then show up on the day of the final and see how I could do. And so I did. I got a 62 on my Western Civ II final based solely on my previous knowledge of the subject.
I was stoked. My parents didn't see it as the accomplishment that I did, however.
There was, however, another side to the coin. XL and I had one professor in our major that we both just couldn't crack. No matter how hard we tried we just couldn't get A's from the dude. Tests, exams and projects all yielded us a steady stream of B's and it pissed me off to no end. Sometimes it mattered to me, and sometimes it didn't and in most cases there was no rhyme or reason why.
Now, some 13 years on from my college days I still take the same approach. I measure myself against my own expectations while taking into account what I am expected to do. I need 80's on these tests, but I expect to be over 90 on each. And so far I am 6 out of 6 in that quest. Some of them I've studied for, and some of them I just trusted that I paid enough attention in class, or new enough going in to get my requisite 90.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.