One of the first interpretations of Descartes’s puzzling notion of conscientia was given by Antoine Arnauld in his 1683 treatise On True and False Ideas. When trying to clarify the term, Arnauld makes ample use of a distinction between what he calls virtual and express reflections. The aim of my presentation is to examine these terms by investigating their scholastic background in hopes of shedding more light on Arnauld’s usage. I intend to show that in the post-Suárezian era the underlying distinction is ubiquitous, it can be observed in different contexts which, some way or another, are relevant to the Cartesian view. What I shall argue for is that the results of the comparison do not only highlight Arnauld’s mind about consciousness, but provide the means for a reliable interpretation of Descartes’s original conception as well.