Objectives: To quantify variability in hand proportioning of zinc phosphate cement among a cohort of dental undergraduates and to determine the effect of any such variability on the diametral tensile strength (DTS) of the set cement. The null hypothesis was that such variability has no effect on DTS. Methods: Thirty-four operators dispensed a zinc phosphate cement [Fleck's® Cement] according to the manufacturers' instructions. The mass of powder and liquid dispensed was recorded. Cylindrical specimens (n = 2 x 34) of dimensions 6mm x 3mm were prepared using a stainless steel split mould. The maximum mass of powder and the minimum volume of liquid were used as one extreme ratio and the minimum mass of powder and the maximum volume of liquid used on the other extreme. The manufacturers' recommended ratio was also tested (n=34).The samples were left to set for one hour before being transferred into distilled water for 48 hours. Compression across a diameter was carried out using a universal testing machine, H10KS [Tinius Olsen], at a constant crosshead speed of 0.75 ±0.25 mm/min. Statistical analyses (α = 0.05) were by Student's t-test for the powder/liquid ratio and one-way ANOVA and Tukey HSD for for pair-wise comparisons of mean DTS. Tests were carried out for normality and constant variability. Results: The mean (range) amount of powder dispensed was 0.863g (0.531-1.216)g. The mean (range) amount of liquid dispensed was 0.341ml (0.265-0.394)ml. The manufacturer's recommended amounts were 0.8g of powder and 0.3ml of liquid. The mean powder/liquid ratio was not significantly different from the manufacturer's recommended value (p=0.64). Mean (SD) DTS were (MPa) max: 7.19(1.50), min: 2.65(1.01), manufacturer: 6.01(1.30). All pair-wise comparisons were significantly different (p<0.001). Conclusions: Variability exists in the hand proportioning powder and liquid components of zinc phosphate cement. This variability can affect the DTS of zinc phosphate cement.