Although there is a growing and undesirable trend to bypass it, the history-with information on signalment, past illnesses, and cardiopulmonary disorders-is essential for treating cardiovascular disease. Reviewing prior treatments can offer valuable insights, and checking for preexisting dyspnea, cough, syncope, weakness, and exercise intolerance helps guide the physical examination. A thorough and detailed general examination assesses the larynx and neck, oral cavity, and external jugulars; the femoral artery and precordium are palpated; thoracic percussion and auscultation of the heart and lungs are performed; and the patient is observed at rest and during activity to assess respiratory function. Differentiation of cardiac disease is often based on the timing and location of heart sounds. In this presentation, in addition to tips and techniques for taking a cardiac history and performing the physical examination, how to use the stethoscope to distinguish heart sounds in the cardiac cycle is covered in detail.