CORE Learning System

Using the CORE Learning System is one way to increase your confidence in preparing for exams.

The CORE system1 consists of four basic strategies for effective learning:

Collect, organize, rehearse, and evaluate


Two of the critical ways in which you will collect information and skills are through:

  1. attendance of all classes (including labs, small groups, etc.), 
  2. and textbooks and other assigned readings.


By organizing the information you have collected, you begin to make sense of the material.

Organizing course information into a system that works best for you may require some trial and error, based upon your learning style. However, it is important to remember that making meaning from the information you have collected and organized is one of the most critical outcomes of studying.


Whereas organizing helps you gain an understanding of your materials, rehearsing assists in remembering. There are generally two types of rehearsal: elaborative and rote.  

  • Elaborative rehearsal focuses on meaning, highlighting relationships between ideas, and connecting new knowledge with old (aka Critical Thinking!).  
  • Rote rehearsal is less about developing understanding and more about committing material to memory. Through the process of rehearsal, or repetition, facts and details can be committed to memory. 


One method commonly used to evaluate knowledge is to test yourself. Self-testing is also a great way to rehearse information when preparing for an exam.

As you review your organized study materials, ask yourself critical questions, anticipating what might be on the exam. Practice exams are particularly useful when reviewing.

By testing your proficiency with the material, you essentially evaluate your readiness for your upcoming exam.

1Downing, S. (2013). On course. Cengage Learning. 25-26.

Next, we will break down some ways that you can prepare and review in the months, weeks, and days leading up to your test.