Traditional exam reviews are passive and face many challenges to prepare students for exams. In this study, we proposed the â€œTab-meta keyâ€ model, which emphasizes five major factors (Time, Accountability, Big picture, Key concepts, and Metacognition) and is supported by prior literature. We also designed an exam review based on the â€œTab-meta keyâ€ model. This exam review is scientifically optimized regarding review contents, activity design, time management, and synergistic effects among different pedagogy. We also evaluated the effectiveness of the â€œTab-meta keyâ€-based exam review in an Introductory Biology I course. Our results demonstrated statistically significant improvement on studentsâ€™ academic performances as well as positive studentsâ€™ perceptions. The â€œTab-meta keyâ€ model proposed in this study can be implemented in other STEM courses.