Feedback on writing, we argue, consists of a series of micro-events which encourage students to make sense of task requirements, negotiate assessment decisions, and reorganize their performance. While students’ interpretations of ‘effective feedback’ have been widely discussed and problematized, less attention has been devoted to how they improve their sense-making and navigate different feedback experiences. Drawing on interview and textual data from two Chinese students studying their master’s degrees at a British university, this study explores how the students used coursework feedback to improve their writing. We show how they worked to create internal knowledge structures with the assistance of external resources. We see this as the students’ mediated performance resulting from their engagement with feedback and reinforcing self-coordination at intrapersonal and interpersonal levels. We believe our analysis contributes to a better understanding of the influence of feedback by highlighting how it shapes, and is shaped by, ongoing interpretations of disciplinary, task-specific requirements.