The purpose of this paper was to investigate the effect of radiologist experience and increasing exposure to CT colonography on reader performance. Three radiologists of differing general experience (consultant, research fellow, trainee) independently analysed 100 CT colonographic datasets. Readers had no prior experience of CT colonography and received feedback and training after the first 50 cases from an independent experienced radiologist. Diagnostic performance and reporting times were compared for the first and second 50 datasets and compared with the results of a radiologist experienced in CT colonography. Before training only the consultant reader achieved statistical equivalence with the reference standard for detection of larger polyps. After training, detection rates ranged between 25 and 58% for larger polyps. Only the trainee significantly improved after training ( P=0.007), with performance of other readers unchanged or even worse. Reporting times following training were reduced significantly for the consultant and fellow ( P<0.001 and P=0.03, respectively), but increased for the trainee ( P<0.001). In comparison to the consultant reader, the odds of detection of larger polyps was 0.36 (CI 0.16, 0.82) for the fellow and 0.36 (CI 0.14, 0.91) for the trainee. There is considerable variation in the ability to report CT colonography. Prior experience in gastrointestinal radiology is a distinct advantage. Competence cannot be assumed even after directed training via a database of 50 cases.