The Hunter Exam (ハンター試験, Hantā Shiken) is a yearly event that an applicant must pass to become a Hunter, an elite member of humanity and a part of the Hunter Association. These exams consist of several tests and stages, which can vary drastically. Thus far, 289 Hunter Exams have taken place. The Head of the Exam Commission is the Chairman of the Hunter Association themselves.
The Exam Hall changes each year along with the stages of the exam, and it is impossible to find on one's own. Applicants are given only approximate information on the location of the exam. To reach it, they must find a navigator (a person or Magical Beast who can lead them to the exam site).
The Hunter Exam occurs once every year starting from January 7th and lasts for a period comprised between one week and one month. The exact date and time is communicated to the applicant upon registering. The application deadline is December 31st. The 289th Hunter Exam was an exception, as it was moved to an unknown date between early January and July 3rd.
Due to the large number of people who wish to become Hunters, the exam phases tend to be exceptionally difficult. Many applicants end up dead or handicapped. However, applicants who have access to Nen or special skills (such as survival skills or combat skills) before the exam will have tremendous advantages compared to the rest of the examinees. The Hunter Association hires people to "trim the fat," that is, to eliminate all the weak applicants who aren't worthy of taking the main exam since the Association doesn't have the time or the resources to test everyone. Navigators themselves are authorized to test them.
Moreover, statistics show that:
- 1 out of 10,000 people make it to the main exam.
- The rate of rookies passing the exam is once every three years. (This statistic is later amended by Netero, who states that rookies had never passed or even reached the final phase of the exam for about ten years before the start of the story, making the 287th Hunter Exam a statistical anomaly due to its large number of successful rookies.)
The great importance of being a Hunter draws millions of people, even though fatalities are quite common. If the applicant is underage, the signature of a parent or guardian is required on the application card. Applicants are each given a badge with an assigned number once they are officially taking the exam. These badges also have transmitters that help the Hunter committee track the examinees and monitor their progress or find them if they are lost. Losing one's badge makes it difficult for the committee to rescue the applicant.
Usually, in every exam, there are about 5 or 6 stages. Since the location of the exam changes, so does the location of the phases and their goal. Passing the third stage grants an applicant unconditional access to the following year's Hunter Exam.
Examiners are elite Hunters who examine the applicants without pay. They change every year, and each examiner assigns the examinees a different task. Attacking an examiner will result in immediate disqualification.
The specifics of the scoring system and each applicant's score are classified. In broad terms, three categories are considered:
- Physical Ability: measures the applicant's strength, agility, endurance, and the sharpness of their senses.
- Mental Acuity:is used to evaluate focus, flexibility, judgment, and creativity.
- Overall Impression: everything else that isn't included in the other two categories falls under this one. It serves to assess the potential as a Hunter of the candidate. To assign a score, the members of the Exam Commission discuss their opinions among themselves and test them against the impact each applicant has had on the others.
Passing the Hunter Exam grants one a Hunter License that can benefit its owner. Aside from the recognition the license holder enjoys, the benefits are:
- 95% of all public facilities can be used at no cost. Furthermore, all such services are provided with first-class benefits.
- Unrivaled freedom to travel around the world. Access is granted to about 90% of countries that normally restrict the entry of outsiders and access to 75% of areas where the general public is prohibited from entering.
- Almost no legal responsibility for murder of any kind.
- The ability to sell the Hunter License as a valuable collector's item. Though only the original owner of a Hunter License can take advantage of the normal benefits, it can still be sold for enough money to support the seller for at least seven generations in luxury.
- The ability to use the license as collateral for a zero-interest loan of 100 million at any bank.
- Access to the secret Hunters-Only Website, where secret intelligence about various subjects, uploaded by other Hunters, can be purchased.
Known Hunter Exams
267th Hunter Exam
284th Hunter Exam
286th Hunter Exam
- Theta (Passed, provisional)
- Salkov (Passed, provisional)
- Myuhan (Passed, provisional)
- Danjin (Passed, provisional)
- Muherr (Failed)
- Juhnde (Failed)
- If the statistics provided by Kurapika (1 rookie passes every three years) and Netero (no rookies pass for ten years, then a batch of them succeeds in the same exam) are both considered accurate, an average closer to the actual rate of rookies passing the exam on the first try would be 3 or 4 every decade.
- As shown with Killua, if a participant renders all other competitors unconscious or unable to compete, they are automatically passed. There is no point in the other phases if there's only a single competitor.