I suppose you could politely request (ie: beg for) a layered master copy of the piece you're studying so you could see the different layer effects and such. It would definitely help.
As to the endless combos of custom brush types and textures I think that's something you just have to play with (which I suppose is part of the point of a master study)
Good luck. I'm thinking of starting master studies. First trip is to the library, though, to consume some comics and kid's books.