Learning proper techniques in physical examinations is mandatory for a physician. Although students may examine each other in early training, examination of the female pelvis does not readily conform to this reciprocity. A randomized study was conducted, comparing teaching methods utilizing professional patients or plastic models. Training on a professional patient significantly increased a student's chance of palpating one or both ovaries, reduced the student's anxiety about performing a pelvic examination, and may have improved the student's gentleness. Costs of the professional patient method were minimal. It is recommended that teaching pelvic examinations with the professional patient replace teaching on the plastic model.