The preclinical years of medical education are a scam.
Undergraduate medical education in America (i.e., the period of medical school before graduating with an M.D. degree) is generally split into two years in the classroom and two years seeing patients in the clinic. This system was recommended by the Flexner Report more than a century ago, and it is a thorough blueprint for ensuring students learn the science and skill of medicine, respectively. Developments in self-study resources and medical curriculum norms, though, have made the price of the preclinical semesters absurd. The National Board of Medical Examiners should test — and medical schools should welcome — those who want to jump right into clinical studies.
An independent academic resource like UWorld, a computer, a couple hundred dollars for a year-long subscription and internet access can provide thousands of practice questions and detailed explanations of all crucial medical science concepts. I don’t write this lightly — I’m deeply thankful to the wonderful medical science professors I learn from at the UNC School of Medicine — but such resources make the classroom portion of medical school obsolete. Question banks are a superior way to learn medical science.
Don’t just take my word for it: studies like this one and this one support the idea that practicing retrieval (e.g. doing a heap of practice questions) is a better way to promote long-term learning than simply studying material. Classroom teaching, to the extent that it focuses on exposing students to information repeatedly and not on testing them, is not only much more expensive than learning through practice questions: it's a poor way to ingrain knowledge.
Obviously, everyone has to be exposed to material at least once before cementing it in memory with practice questions. Personally, I find UWorld’s explanations sufficient for this first exposure, but even students who want lecture-like presentation of medical knowledge don’t need to pay for medical school lectures: free resources like Khan Academy can fill that gap.