Everyone emphasizes evaluating a school based on the strength of the clinical years, rather than overly focusing on the pre-clinical years.
What are some good questions to ask current students/interviewers to get a sense of this?
A couple of my ideas: How often do students use the simulation center? What is the typical amount of responsibility for a student in the clinic?
This is a great question and some schools are better than others and the transparency needs to be addressed so schools can be held accountable. Some US MD schools are good (usually top schools do a good job from my experience because they don't have to worry about cramming in details into M1/2 so they can ace Step 1 since they'll match based on name brand)
Questions you can ask:
-Describe your responsibilities as a medical student, specifically?
-What kind of tasks are medical students assigned during their IM/Surgery clerkships?
-How consistently are you allowed to finish your presentations?
-How much autonomy are you given over your patients?
-How much time to attendings spend interacting with the medical students?
-How useful are the clerkship lectures and do students feel they help with the NBME shelf exams?
-How confident do you feel about coming up with an assessment/plan on a patient on an internal medicine/surgery rotation. By your graduation of medical school, you should be able to do a solid job.
-How many students in your class feel they have received effective support from a clinical mentor?
-What is the student to resident (or attending or patient) ratio at a clinical site?
-Are other students (midlevels, outside medical students, etc.) allowed to rotate at your site?
-What is the Step 2 CK average and Step 2 CS 1st time pass rate?
-What is the structure of the clinical clerkship leadership at the institution? Is there a centralized curriculum on each major clerkship or are a bunch of busy faculty invited with little consideration and last minute to give scatterbrained lectures with powerpoints they didn't make?