The general thumbrule in studying the Sacred Sciences is that of patient tadarruj - starting each science with a basic beginner's book and moving on from that to more advanced levels. It is know that any truly serious student should stick to a program like this and not jump up the latter even if he thinks he already knows some of the stuff he is told to focus on. This thread is not about admonishing people to stick to tadarruj -because we already know it is a must for any tryly dedicated student- but rather a discussion on what to do when your own teachers do not want you to do tadarruj! This may sound strange, but it is an unfortunate reality as I've read from Ibn Badran for example in his advice to the students. So, perhaps the most well known example of this phenomenon is that of the Islamic University of Madina. The program in every department of the Uni begins with Bidayat al-Mujtahid in fiqh and Raudat al-Nazir in usul al-Fiqh and Muqaddima ibn Salah in mustalah among other topics. If a student already knows arabic he is forced to follow this program whether he has a background in Islamic studies or not, and the story goes that some people do not even know what the word fiqh means when they enter the class - and there they are, studying comparative fiqh and graduating in four years. So, what is a person to do in this state? What is the best way to get maximum benefit out of these studies since he has to go through the program regardless? No doubt he is encouraged to attend lessons that match his level outside the school and attain a good grasp on the sciences that way, but still, I'm sure there's ways to totally screw up the Uni studies as well as ways to gain some good supplement for the studies in masajid. What is the best way to go about it facing this difficult situation and gain the maximum benefit? How should one balance his masjid studies and his uni studies to benefit the most? I've also been thinking that perhaps these Unis were actually set up for people who naturally study the muqaddimat of every science in marhala mutawassita and thanawiyya, so beginning with such big books isn't as big of a deal...and then later on - for some reason - they started putting unexperienced ignoramuses to study in the class and graduate just as the advanced ones graduate. Could it be? Please, people with experience in studying, contribute if you shall and those with no experience no matter how you desire do not say a thing. Thank you.