2. If you need to speed up for whatever reason, you don't need to hunt for a gear. Just step on it, and you will get some acceleration.
This is a good reason to keep it in gear. In fact, if you are taking a driver's license test and slow down/corner with the car in neutral, you will most likely lose points on the test.
Keep it in gear until 1000 or so and then push the clutch in and move to neutral. Don't put it into first until the car is stopped or you will put unneeded stress on the synchro's.