What follows is a series of questions to take with you to your doctor’s appointment. These questions are designed to help you get any information you need to make important decisions about your diagnostic test(s).

Please note, depending on the test(s) you’re having and your own circumstances, you may not want or need to ask all of the following questions. We have not included any general answers to these questions because the answers should come from your doctor and be specific to you as an individual.

Tests and diagnosis

  • Why are you recommending this test for me?
  • What does this test involve and what should I expect during the test?
  • How accurate is this test? What are the chances of it being wrong?
  • Are there any risks associated with this test and how do they apply to me?
  • Are there any alternatives to this test?
  • What will happen if I choose not to have the test?
  • How long will I have to wait to have the test?
  • Is this the only test I will need or will I need further tests? If so, what might they be?

Preparing for your test

  • Can you explain how I should prepare for my test – for example will I need to stop taking my current medicine or follow a special diet?
  • Where will I have the test? For example, can I have it in my doctor’s surgery or will I need to go to hospital?
  • How much time should I allow for the test?
  • Will I be able to drive myself home/be left alone after having the test or will I need someone with me?
  • Will I be in any discomfort or immobile in any way after the test? Will I be given any medicine or therapy to help with this?


  • How long should I expect to wait for my test results and how will I receive them?
  • How will you use the results of my test to determine my treatment options?
  • How will the results of my test effect any current treatment or medicine I’m on?

For questions to ask my doctor about my condition, see our condition questions.

For questions to ask my doctor about my treatment, see our treatment questions.

It may be helpful to read through these questions before you go to your appointment and add any additional questions you want to ask. Take along a pen and paper to your appointment to take notes if you’re worried about forgetting anything. Alternatively, ask your doctor to write down the information for you.

If you don’t understand something your doctor tells you, don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify or explain it again. You can double check your understanding, for example, by asking “Can I just check that I’ve understood what you’ve said?” then recap what you’ve discussed.

Before you leave your appointment, make sure you are clear on what will happen next. It may be helpful to ask who you can contact if you have any problems or further questions.

Produced by Kerry McKeagney, Bupa Health Information Team, April 2012.

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