Students on a second year Ecology course struggle to apply theory and ideas from classes to novel situations. Staff were also concerned about the obvious high levels of rote learning for exams. In response I redeveloped this course to include a weekly session focusing on data-interpretation problem-solving and writing skills. The exam format changed to require students to write single paragraph answers on material that they had not previously seen requiring them to apply ideas and information from classes. In this session I will discuss the advantages of this approach and how the course has evolved over the last four years.