A central concern of psychiatric educators is how medical students learn to evaluate psychopathology and clinically relevant behaviors during a psychiatric clerkship. The purpose of this study is to determine what characteristics of the students studied correlated with their accuracy in rating patient psychopathology and also whether the students show improved accuracy in rating after a 6-week clerkship in a university medical school department of psychiatry. The study analyzes student ratings of various aspects of psychopathology in live patient-faculty interviews. The accuracy of student ratings compared with faculty ratings constitutes the dependent variable. The role of students' attitudes toward psychiatry, overall grade performance, and personal background constitute the independent variables; these variables are analyzed in relation to the accuracy of student ratings. The authors attempt to determine if student ratings improve during clerkship. The ability to rate clinical phenomenology in psychiatric patients in a live format is shown to be a measurable trait that improves slightly over time in some areas and varies in relation to some of the independent variables studied. Results of the study are compared with previous work in this area. The limitations of the paradigm employed and the requirements for studying the problem in a more systematic and effective way are outlined.