Ah, the dreaded performance review. Sadly, that’s how many workers view the opportunity to sit down with their supervisor and find out how they scored on their employee report card.

I recently came across some findings that substantiate this fact, pointing to several reasons employees feel the way they do. Cornerstone OnDemand’s 2012 Employee Performance Management Survey, revealed that less than half (45%) of employed U.S. adults believe the feedback received on their employer’s performance review is a fair and accurate representation of their performance; Only a third (33%) said the feedback they receive is not a surprise and is feedback they have gotten prior to the formal review; And, only a fourth (25%) indicated they are given specific examples of their work to support the feedback they receive. With so much skepticism, it’s no wonder workers shriek at the process.

Though, it can be a bit unnerving to find out what the boss really thinks of your work, there is a lot you can glean from the process—with the potential to turn the tables in your favor.

From an employer’s perspective, the point of the review is to give you relevant feedback on your job performance in relation to expectations and goals; provide insight on areas in need of improvement; and, initiate open dialogue with employees to address concerns and career aspirations. Since the review itself is pretty much a non-negotiable, here are some practical ways to make the process work for you:

Prepare. You read the statistics, if you believe your work is worthy of commendation, be prepared to share the reasons why. List out the contributions you have made, quantify them if you can and measure them against targeted goals. Show your supervisor the evidence that you’ve done a good job.

Explain. While we hope the boss is focused on all the great things we have achieved throughout the year, if you’ve had a few of those less-than-shining moments, come ready to explain what went wrong, why you got derailed and what you learned from it. Take responsibility and don’t squirm—own up to your mistakes. Every one fails, it’s what you make of it that matters.

Campaign. If you are eager to progress in your career, your performance review is a great time to campaign for that next position. Tell your supervisor about your career ambitions. Share your passion for certain things. Ask for more responsibility. Get them on-board with the idea and ask them what it will take to get that promotion.

Don’t wince at performance reviews—take the necessary steps to make them work for you!