Preparing for final exams is stressful; there's no other way to put it. I remember feeling so surprised at how early law school students began exam preparation during my first year. And now, as a 2L, I'm learning that finals preparation is really done best when worked on throughout the entire semester. The amount of new information we are exposed to each semester is daunting. But with some planning, exam preparation can be managed more efficiently.
My goal at the beginning of this semester was to update my outlines, create note-cards for new concepts, and watch relevant online lectures each weekend for my classes. If I followed this plan (in theory), I wouldn't necessarily be scrambling to conceptualize an entire semester's worth of content over the last few weeks of class. I noticed early on, however, that completing all of those tasks each weekend was a much more lofty goal than I initially thought. As a result, I narrowed my focus to just updating outlines every weekend. When I found that I had some free time, I watched relevant online lectures on a bar prep website to help crystallize what I was learning in class. And then starting at the beginning of November, I began creating note-cards for big concepts in each of my classes. I've always been a note-card kind of gal, although I know they're not useful for everyone. But I think it's helpful reviewing a large portion of my outline, and challenging myself to condense that to the most important concepts on the note-cards.
Having Thanksgiving break right before fall semester finals is very helpful! My friends and I study at least four or five full days during break together. We each kind of do our own thing while we study; I prefer spending no more than three hours on one class at a time before switching to another subject. This seems to help me stay focused. However, others in our study group prefer to spend eight-plus hours on a single class at a time. I like to vary my study routines throughout the day as well; if I spend three hours watching an online lecture in one subject, then I'll spend the next three hours updating note cards or running through a practice exam.
No matter how much planning and work you do throughout the semester, final exams will likely still feel stressful. But hey- a little bit of stress is okay in my opinion! As long as you chip away at the "big picture" throughout the whole semester, you will be in a much better position to prepare for your exams. Everyone is different. I think the important thing is to take note of how you've studied in the past, and try to incorporate those same techniques in law school.