It sure has been a heck of a long time since I last went to a lifedrawing session. The model had this awesome hair that's long at the front, and very short at the back.
From looking at how other people work, it appears that using conte, charcoal and other smudgy media is about using the smudging tool and eraser as much as it is about the actual conte pencil itself (or charcoal, etc.).
One of the nice things about smudgable media is that shading is less time consuming. The larger surface area of a blunt smudging tool (or if using a pointy one, can use the side of it) makes covering a bigger section of the paper much faster. You just smudge, and it's grey.
Although the basic 2B pencil will always be my preference. The conte's growing on me though, little by little.