Making a diagnosis can be difficult for learners as they must integrate multiple clinical variables. Diagnostic schemes can help learners with this complex task. A diagnostic scheme is an algorithm that organises possible diagnoses by assigning signs or symptoms (e.g. systolic murmur) to groups of similar diagnoses (e.g. aortic stenosis and aortic sclerosis) and provides distinguishing features to help discriminate between similar diagnoses (e.g. carotid pulse). The current literature does not identify whether scheme layouts should guide learners to reason one step at a time in a terminally branching scheme or weigh multiple variables simultaneously in a hybrid scheme. We compared diagnostic accuracy, perceptual errors and cognitive load using two scheme layouts for cardiac auscultation.