Figured I'd bring it up here since it's the most appropriate thread.
There are two major 'optimization tactics' I've discovered that seem to save a bit of time. I'd be curious as to whether or not people with more experience use them, and if they don't why those tactics might be less popular. Fair warning, some save/reload would be necessary to make use of both, so perhaps that's an issue.
The first thing I do is always unlock the 'Drop in on the Professor's Lounge' ability you can pick up by getting 6 favor with Violante de Canapiedra. If I take the page apprentice background, which is a favorite, I can usually do that by the beginning of the second week. It's more random than Grind but I can spam it more easily and it doesn't require as much time investment as chasing up Test-taking skill. I do usually drop a point in for 'Judge the Instructor's Taste' to finish up my studies, it's slower than 'Drop In' but offers some decent skill rewards and by the time I've reached a point of frustration with the random nature of 'Drop In' I usually have enough Character Study to do Judge consistently.
I rather think 'Drop In' is still worth considering even if you're going to need to get Violante's approval using the 'Weasel Words' spell from Infiltration, since methods other than 'Drop In' or 'Grind' take twice as long, and having a method of winning professor favor efficiently is a major advantage any way you look at it, and points put in Test-taking are almost wasted once you've maxed study levels.
Also- rather than use the Venacilium Library to get enough Filing and Library Knowledge to unlock Longshade, I usually unlock the Imperial Palace Grand Library instead via Explore, which offers a skill step in Library Knowledge, Filing, and a random skill as opposed to the study level plus random research skill step. It's just less frustrating for me as I know I'm going to be getting closer to Longhshade every action and get it quicker.
I've noticed Emotions can be very powerful if you keep your stress down but the best stuff requires keeping your stress at near rock-bottom which can be a pain. I've yet to find a really efficient and useful way to shed stress- Caladfon's Balancing of the Humors seems best simply because you can add phemes to it when casting the spell, but it's still an almost-wasted action.