The majority of my Intro to Clinical Medicine course (HST 201M) this summer was dedicated to learning how to perform various physical exams*.  We percussed and auscultated, inspected and palpated every part of the body. To prepare for our test at the end of the summer, I made a checklist for every physical exam we learned. I thought I’d share these checklists in case they are useful to medical students, future MEMP students like myself, or anyone with an interest in learning about how physicians examine different parts of the body.

*read about my views on the validity of physical exams here. 

Sample physical exam checklist. Click here or on the image to see the complete 25-page document.

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Table of Contents

          When in doubt
               Required Elements of Every Physical Exam
              General Inspection

     12 Cranial Nerves
     Neurology Exam
     Mini Mental Examination
     Head and Neck
     Cardiovascular Exam
     Eye Exam
     Hand Examination
              Good places to learn physical exams
              When there is a symptom…
              Recommended Medical/Clinical References

Photos of our class practicing physical examination skills on each other (or ourselves). Sometimes we were goofballs and sometimes we got things right.


Practicing auscultation. Sometimes you just need the closest heart you can find and that happens to be your own heart.


Examining cranial nerve number 8. “Do you hear this louder in one ear than the other?”


Practicing percussion skills.


Practicing how to take blood pressure.


Learning from an expert on how to bring out people’s reflexes.


As always, let me know if you find any mistakes in this content or have suggestions for improvement. Thanks!