Summary The seven-point checklist has been widely advocated as a sensitive screening test for malignant melanoma. A number of groups have questioned the sensitivity of this system, especially in the detection of early lesions. We have assessed the sensitivity and specificity of the revised seven-point checklist when applied to lesions seen in our department over a 26-month period and compared it with the American ABCDE evaluation system. All melanomas (n= 65) were detected using the revised seven-point checklist and all were found to have at least one of the three major criteria defined by that system. Five (7·7%) melanomas were not picked up by the ABCDE checklist. Of 100 randomly selected patients who attended the clinic during the same period, with clinically diagnosed benign pigmented lesions, 63 had at least one major feature of the revised seven-point checklist. Forty (62%) of the melanomas, compared with only (4%) of the benign lesions, had more than one major feature. This study confirms the sensitivity of the revised seven-point checklist in the diagnosis of cutaneous malignant melanoma.