During the course of a ninja's career, they inevitably participate in numerous tests and exams of varying importance to the involved ninja. Most are fairly secretive, while a few are quite public and usually include betting. There are two main categories for exams. The first is exams that can result in a ninja's promotion. The other category is for tracking the skills and abilities of a ninja. Chances to complete promotion exams frequently rely on semi-regularly keeping up with various expertise exams so those making decisions on who can participate will have accurate information on a ninja's capabilities.

Promotion Exams

Graduation Exam

Available to: Academy Students
The first major hurdle for any ninja is to graduate.

In Konoha, there are two paths to graduate. The first and most visible path is through the Ninja Academy. Attending the Academy sets a student initially on what many refer to as the "elite program." Academy graduates are placed in three-man teams under a Jounin-sensei. Their first act in these teams is to take the Genin Exam. The less visible path is through the Shinobi Training Center with what is referred to as the "military program." Academy drop-outs can attend the STC to complete training and graduate. Exceptional STC students can be transferred to the Academy as well. Graduates from the STC are placed in 12 man squads and do not take the Genin Exam.

To graduate from the Academy, a student must show that they have at least the minimum skills required to survive as a ninja. To qualify for graduation, a student must have taken several mandatory courses and passed at least one specialization course of their choosing. There are three parts to the actual exam - knowledge, physical skills, and ninjutsu skills. The knowledge section quizzes students on topics from shinobi and civilian law to history to genjutsu theory to moral and tactical issues. To graduate, a student must make at least 541 points out of 1180 possible, plus meet 100m and 1km running speed minimums.

Waivers can be granted to get around some parts of the exam, but they must be applied for by instructors and approved prior to the exam beginning.

Genin Exam

Available to: Academy Graduates
For those that graduate from the Academy, a second test is performed by their Jounin-sensei to determine if the Jounin will take the team on or send them back to the Academy. The precise test differs from Jounin to Jounin but at the core is a teamwork test - failing to use any teamwork will result in team failure, while utilizing teamwork will often result in passing even if the Genin fail to achieve the stated purpose of the test as provided by their sensei.

Those that pass the test are officially Genin, while those that fail give up their rank and either retake their final year at the Academy or take a six-month course at the STC as part of the "military program." After three tries to pass the Genin Exam (first try plus two retakes), a failed student is automatically dropped to the 6-month course.

Chunin Exam

Available to: Genin

Public Method

The most visible of promotion exams, the Chunin Exams are a three-stage game of elimination testing attributes crucial to being a Chunin. The exact test for each stage varies by village, but the third stage is always a tournament of some sort that is publicly held and typically attended by a large number of Daimyos. Due to the public nature of the final stage, villages often carry out preliminary matches immediately following the second stage if the number of passing ninja is too large. For 1v1 tournaments, the maximum number of participants is usually around 10. For team vs team tournaments, 6-8 teams is usually the maximum. Following the third stage, recommendations are made on who should be promoted and those chosen are typically promoted within a week of the Exam conclusion.

The Chunin Exam has two rotations. The first and more respected Exam rotates between the major villages once a year, while a slightly smaller one rotates between the minor villages once a year and staggered to take place six months after the major village exam.

Konoha's first stage is often a test of a ninja's information gathering skills and ability to work under pressure and stress. Those that cheat badly, or let the stress and pressure get to them and make mistakes, are eliminated along with their team. The second stage is typically a multi-day survival test along with some other objective that pits Genin teams against each other to pass. Konoha stresses teamwork and so pass/fail Chunin hopefuls as teams during the first two stages. Having incapacitated or dead team members automatically fails a team during the second stage for instance.

Other Methods

There are alternate methods to achieving the rank of Chunin, including field promotions (also known as "battlefield promotions"), a private in-village tournament, successfully completing a mission as team leader and acting-Chunin, and administrative testing.1

The use of alternate methods generally requires either attending a public Chunin Exam or being a Genin for more than 24 months.

Special Jounin Exam

Available to: Chunin
This exam is done on a case by case basis. A Special Jounin is the equivalent of a Chunin with Jounin level skill in a specific area of specialization. This results in slightly higher base pay and they are treated as if they were Jounin when working in their field of specialization.

This test is typically a task to display to experts in that specialization that the Chunin can handle the task and has sufficient mastery of the specialty to receive the rank. In general, a candidate needs solid Chunin skills, intermediate to advanced experience in the field tested, and advanced mastery of the specialty.

Jounin Exam

Available to: Chunin, Special Jounin
The Jounin Exam is, unlike the Chunin Exam, kept private and performed by each village. In general, a Jounin candidate needs to have B-rank or higher skills across the board. Candidates are then pared down through a series of tests. The short list of candidates then is scrutinized by a board of selected ninja that looks over the test results, mission records, the ninja's file, and so forth. They present to the village leader a report listing who is recommended for promotion and who is not, plus the reasoning for each decision. Further clarification, tests, and whatnot can be requested regarding a candidate. After that, the leader selects those to be promoted, typically just by approving the results of the report.

Expertise Exams

Specialization Exams

Specialization exams are, as the name implies, exams for a specialization that tests the knowledge and abilities of a ninja within that specialization. All specializations have three levels of mastery (though some have a fourth, introductory level that isn't really counted) - Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced - and each level has its own exam. Passing a mastery level often times provides a title in addition to certification, though many ninja don't bother using the titles until they achieve mastery except in the medical ninja field.

Aptitude Exams

Aptitude exams tests the skills and knowledge of a ninja in various areas. There are knowledge tests, practical tests, and so forth that affect a ninja's E to S ranking and possibly their actual rank should they fall below minimal skill levels for that rank.

There are two ability exams used by Konoha. One is used for Genin and Academy students, while the other expands on that one to be used for all levels of ninja. Typically a freshly promoted Chunin is put through the full battery of the large aptitude test while most subsequent uses of the test only test a section or two due to how much time is consumed doing the full test.

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