This longitudinal study explores 216 medical students' attitudes towards communication skills learning before (T1) and at the end (T2) of their first-year communication skills course. They completed the Communication Skills Attitude Scale and a personal details questionnaire satisfactorily at T1 and T2. Univariate statistics established whether attitudes differed between TI and T2 for the whole sample and for the sample split by demographic and education-related characteristics. Students rated their communication skills slightly but significantly lower at the end of their communication skills course than before the start of the course. Positive attitudes towards communication skills learning became significantly lower by the end of the course compared with the start. Repeated measures ANOVAs indicated that significant two-way interactions existed between attitudes at T1 and T2 and the demographic characteristics: gender, language and ethnicity. These findings are discussed in the paper, along with their implications for educational practice and further research.