A cross-sectional evaluation of case-based teaching (CBT), a novel physiology learning environment for medical undergraduates, revealed that second, third, and fourth year students, together with their tutors, valued CBT as an experience that met its three major aims. The initiative not only integrated physiology with related basic sciences and clinical medicine but importantly linked students' developing knowledge of theory to practice. CBT was also valued by students as their first introduction to clinical skills, with most tutors believing that it was the nonthreatening environment that helped students gain confidence for their first "real patient" encounters. The greatest support for CBT came from third year medical students, at the crossroads between their preclinical and clinical environments. Fourth year students, now encountering real patients, had moved on to developing their skills in the hospital environment.