English education for college students is a major instructional programme with significant developmental importance; yet, its conversations are also crucial. Reflexivity in conversational repair refers to the tendency of speakers to go back to the beginning of the repairing component rather than to implement the repair directly after the wrong word. In order to help listeners solve the connection problem, speakers use different back-referencing strategies. In this study, we used a quantitative and qualitative approach to explore the patterns and strategies of finger-back repair in Chinese college students’ English conversations and to compare their similarities and differences with native speakers in the use of finger-back onset words. The study found that the proportion of self-repetition was the highest among college students, reaching about 75%, and the proportion of reorganisation and insertion strategies was very small, about 23%, which reflected the characteristics of college students’ ability in linguistic information processing and online processing; moreover, there were significant differences between them and native speakers in the use of reflexive priming words. This paper borrows from the attention theory of cognitive psychology to explain the results and to point out the implications of this study for the teaching of spoken English in college.