Q: Is it necessary we read all that is assigned or will the lecture notes suffice for some topics. Also, will we have an option of leaving some topics we find challenging?
A: Your lecture notes are intended as an introduction to the topics, to explain the main points and highlight where there are tensions and different approaches. These do not generally go into the kind of depth that is required - you will always need to do some reading in order that you fully understand the topics in the kind of detail required. Hopefully you have done this as you have gone along, preparing thoroughly for seminars and making the most of opportunities for discussion and feedback. That is certainly what we have been encouraging you to do all year!! So, there is not a formula for how much reading you need to do - rather, you need to do as much as you need so that you are confident about the topics.
The exam is 3 questions in 3 hours, so there will be a mixture of topics in the questions. For this reason, it is very risky to leave out topics. Inevitably, you will feel more confident about some and might choose the questions that deal with those topics, but there will not be a question that is just on homicide, for example. It will be mixed in with other topics too.
A good way to see if you are confident and know the topics well enough, is to work on past exam questions in a small study group.