The University of Pretoria implemented a problem-oriented undergraduate medical curriculum that emphasizes experiential learning and the mastering of practical skills. Students' experiences with acquiring practical skills in a skills laboratory and the impact that acquiring these skills has on their clinical practice were explored and described. A qualitative, investigative, descriptive and contextual design was used. Data were collected at focus-group discussions and analysed using Tesch's methodology. A literature control was conducted to identify similarities of and uniqueness in the research findings. Trustworthiness was established by utilizing Guba's model for the trustworthiness of qualitative research (Lincoln & Guba, 1981). The findings were that attitudes, knowledge and skills are interrelated and contribute to an enhanced process of learning. The interrelated learning process has a positive effect when students progress from the skills laboratory to clinical practice. Students made valuable recommendations that should contribute to the optimal use of the skills laboratory.