The Chunin Exams are a type of test to test the abilities of the genin. If the genin pass, they will be considered for promotion to Chunin.
To become a Chunin, a Genin participates in a widescale examination, known as the Chunin Exams, with their team. It may be assumed that a Genin does not necessarily have to undertake the exam along with their teammates since Sakura Haruno succedded in becoming a Chunin during the time-skip with Naruto and Sasuke both being absent during the period. The only exam seen in the series is a three-stage exam held in Konohagakure:
- The first stage is a written test, which includes difficult questions related to different subjects. It checks information gathering and decision-making abilities (as well as overall understanding of ninja philosophy).
* The second stage tests abilities of accomplishing a mission and adhering to guidelines* The third consists of fights between those who passed the previous two stages, observed by a council of Daimyos that decides who becomes a Chunin and who does not.
While the winners are able to proceed to fight the next opponent, aptitude, rather than winning, is evaluated to determine whether a candidate is promoted; for example, Shikamaru Nara forfeits his first match but is still promoted because of his strategic aptitude. This way, anyone who makes it to the third stage of the Exams has a chance to become Chunin. However, it is also possible for none of the candidates to become Chunin if the judges believe that they do not have appropriate qualifications.
Preliminaries may also be held if too many ninja teams reach the end. In the Chunin Exam Arc, seven teams, an unusually high number, completed the second phase of the test. The losers in this extra round cannot participate in the final tournament and thus cannot be considered for promotion to Chunin.
In the past, each village held their own Chunin exam. After the Third Ninja World War, allied ninja villages agreed to hold the exams together at the selected village that would host the exam. This was done to improve relations between the villages and prevent war between them. Another advantage is that ninja that took the exam might attract clients who are interested in hiring them. Because of the growing number of ninja in each village, the exams are hosted twice every year.