Summary. Two educational implications of the prototype view of categorization of medical disorders in the long-term memory of medical students are tested: first, that categories are better learned when the initial exposure is through representative examplars, the prototypes as opposed to the whole range of instances; second, that concepts are initially learned at an intermediate level of abstraction (e.g. angina pectoris), corresponding to the prototypes, as opposed to more general levels (e.g. coronary disorders). In a group of third-year medical students (n=42) taken from a previous study, the recall frequencies of undergraduate course materials in eight system courses are inversely related to the number of disorders presented, r(6)=-0.58, P=0.06. The recall frequencies are highest for courses with the highest proportion of intermediate-level materials, r(6)=0.73, P=0.02. The implications of these results for curriculum design are discussed.