Annual Check-Up

Young women's version of this guide

doctor talking to patientIt’s time for your yearly check-up (sometimes called an annual exam). It might seem strange to visit your primary care provider (PCP) when you’re not sick, but having a yearly check-up is important to prevent illnesses and keep you healthy.

Getting Ready:

If this is your first-time meeting with your PCP, plan on getting to your appointment 30 minutes early to fill out the paperwork (i.e. forms) and insurance information.

Plan to bring:

  • A copy of your immunization record (a list of all of the vaccines you’ve had to date)
  • A copy of your medical records from your previous PCP (if this hasn’t already been sent)
  • A list of all the medicines you take (include prescription and any over-the-counter medicine, herbs, and vitamin supplements)
  • Your health insurance card
  • Co-payment(if required)
  • Any forms you need filled out


After you check in with a staff member, you’ll likely be asked to fill out a health form. In fact, each time you have a visit, you may be asked to update your health history. Be sure to include anything new about your health since your last visit. For example: any sports injuries, changes in any medicine, or any recent procedures you’ve had.

Be sure to give your PCP your current phone number or the best number to reach you or check if they have a patient portal (or website) for test results and medication refills. This way your PCP will be able to get in touch with you with test results, etc.

After you’ve finished the form, a clinical assistant will check your vital signs: blood pressure, pulse, height, and weight. You may be asked to pee into a cup so your urine can be checked for possible signs of infection. This is NOT a drug test.

Meeting with your PCP:


You and your parent/guardian (if they are with you) will be called into the exam room. During this time your PCP will discuss your health history and your family health history. Then the provider will ask your parents to leave the room to ask you a few questions alone and give you the chance to ask questions without your parent/guardian in the room. At the end of the visit, your parent/guardian may come back to the room.

After your PCP asks your parent/guardian to leave the exam room, they will talk with you confidentially. This means they will not share the information with your parent/guardian, unless they are concerned about your safety (i.e. you are going to hurt yourself, someone is going to hurt you, or you are going to hurt someone else). If they have to break confidentiality, they will discuss this with you first. These questions may include the following topics:

  • Home life
  • Family and friends
  • School and activities
  • Nutrition
  • Safety
  • Substance use (i.e. cigarettes, vaping, marijuana, alcohol, etc.)
  • Sexual health (including your gender identity and sexual orientation)
  • Mental health

At any time during the check-up, you should feel free to ask your HCP questions. If you’re worried that you might forget what you wanted to ask, you can write the questions down on a piece of paper beforehand.


The physical exam

This part takes only a few minutes, but you should feel as comfortable as possible during the exam. You can have a family member or chaperone in the exam room during your physical exam, if you wish. During the exam, your PCP will ask you questions, and you should ask questions too. Your PCP will be checking to make sure that your skin, eyes, ears, mouth neck, heart lungs, , stomach, spine, genital area, joints, and muscles are all healthy. It’s important to know it’s your body and your choice. Be sure to let your PCP know if you would rather have part of the physical exam done at a future visit. Also let your PCP know if you have preferred names for certain body parts.

After the exam:

After the exam is over, your PCP will tell you about:

  • any concerns they may have
  • what you can do to be healthy
  • any immunizations you may need now or at a future appointment
  • any blood tests you may need
  • when you should have a follow up appointment

If you need a physical form signed for sports or work, or any medication refills, make sure to let your PCP know before you leave the office.