The Hunter Exam (ハンター()(けん)()()()()()()()(), Hantā Shiken) is a yearly event that an applicant must pass to become a Hunter of the Hunter Association; an elite member of humanity who explores the mysterious unknown, who seeks to accomplish various goals for the sake of their own interests and for the betterment of society as a whole, and who protect humankind, innocent creatures, and rare goods and artifacts from anything that would threaten their wellbeing. These exams consist of several tests and stages, which can vary drastically from year to year.

Thus far, 289 Hunter Exams have taken place.[1] The Head of the Exam Commission is the Chairman of the Hunter Association themselves.[2]


The Hunter Exam occurs once every year starting from January 7th and lasts for a period comprised between one week and one month.[3] The exact date and time are communicated to the applicant upon registering.[4] The application deadline is December 31st.[5] The 289th Hunter Exam was an exception, as it was moved[1] to an unknown date between early January and July 3rd.[6]

No restrictions exist on who can take the exam, regardless of age,[note 1] background, or criminal record; even the devil himself could take the exam and pass, as long as the examiner says it's okay. However, if the applicant is underage, the signature of a parent or guardian is required on the application card.[7]

There is no limit to the number of times a person can take the exam. If someone fails, they can simply try again next year. Alternatively, if someone passes the exam, they're appointed a Hunter for life and are prohibited from taking it again.


Becoming a hunter has multiple benefits and carries great importance. As such, millions of people seek to take the hunter exam each year, even though fatalities are quite common during the exam. Since the Hunter Association doesn't have nearly enough time or resources to test that many people, they hire scouts to secretly carry out a sort of unofficial preliminary exam to "trim the fat", eliminating all the weak applicants who they deem wouldn't be able to handle the exam and become hunters anyway. For example, when the Captain was transporting Hunter Exam hopefuls on his ship, he dismissed all the people who got seasick during a storm.[8]

Suppose the scout deems a candidate worthy of the main exam. In that case, the scout will give the candidate special directions to the location of the next part of the preliminary.[4] After sufficiently proving themself, the candidate will be led to the site of the real exam. Statistically, only 1 in 10,000 people make it to the main exam.[9]

It is impossible for an applicant to reach the exam site without going through these preliminaries, as the public is only given approximate information on the location of the exam, such as the city where it's taking place. To reach the actual location, they must be led there by the person (or Magical Beast) assigned to guide the ones deemed worthy to the exam site.[4] However, if an applicant passes the third phase of the Hunter Exam, then they will be granted unconditional access to the following year's Hunter Exam.[10]

The Exam[]

Upon arriving at the exam site, applicants are each given a badge with an assigned number.[9] These badges also have transmitters that help the Hunter committee track the examinees, monitor their progress, or find them if they are lost. Losing one's badge makes it difficult for the committee to rescue the applicant.[11]

The Hunter Exam's location is different every year, as are the number of phases and the tasks assigned to the applicants in each phase. Although, the average number of phases is 5 or 6.[12] Due to the large number of people who wish to become Hunters, as well as the benefits of the position and the dangers of the job, 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.[13]

The examiners overseeing the Hunter Exam are elite Hunters who examine the applicants without pay. The examiners, like the exam itself, change every year. Attacking an examiner will result in the immediate disqualification of the applicant who did so. However, this would not prevent the applicant from taking the Exam again the following year. Furthermore, the examiner may even overlook the attack if it was for a good reason.[13]

Statistically, the rate of rookies passing the exam is once every three years.[13][14] (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.)[15]


The Hunter Exam isn't only about completing the tasks the examiners assign. The applicants are spied on throughout the course of the exam and profiled. The specifics of the scoring system and each applicant's score are classified. In broad terms, three categories are considered:

  • Physical Ability: Used to evaluate the applicant's strength, agility, endurance, and the sharpness of their senses.
  • Mental Acuity: Used to evaluate the applicant's focus, flexibility, judgment, and creativity.
  • Overall Impression: Used to evaluate the applicant's unspoken qualities and overall worth, everything that isn't included in the other two categories falls under this one. It serves to assess the applicant's potential as a Hunter. 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.[16]


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:


A Hunter License

  1. 95% of all public facilities can be used at no cost. Furthermore, all such services are provided with first-class benefits.
  2. Unrivaled freedom to travel around the world.[9] 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.
  3. Almost no legal responsibility for murder of any kind.
  4. The ability to sell the Hunter License as a valuable collector's item. Only the original owner of a Hunter License can take advantage of the normal benefits. However, it can still be sold for enough money to support the seller for at least seven generations in luxury.[13]
  5. The license can be used as collateral for a zero-interest loan of 100 million Jenny Symbol 2011 at any bank.
  6. 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[]



287th Hunter Exam[]

Passed by:


288th Hunter Exam[]

Passed by:


289th Hunter Exam[]




  • If the statistics provided by Kurapika (1 rookie passes every three years)[13] and Netero (no rookies pass for ten years, then a batch of them succeeds in the same exam)[15] 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.
    • However, the only rookie to pass during the 267th Hunter Exam was Ging Freecss.[20] While during the 287th, 6 reached the final phase[15] and five passed,[21] showing that although the interval might be consistent, the number of rookies who pass is not.
  • 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 only a single competitor exists.
  • The first ever Hunter Exam was held in the year 1713, which was 286 years before the beginning of the series, in 1999.
  • According to Satotz, "once you fail, you can no longer pass, and once you pass, you can no longer fail". This means that once the examiner has declared someone has passed the exam, that person is officially a Hunter and can never take the exam again, even if the applicant is dissatisfied with their victory and wants to try again.[22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 33, Chapter 346
  2. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 32, Chapter 331
  3. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 15, Chapter 147
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 3
  5. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 15, Chapter 146
  6. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 33, Chapter 349
  7. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 1
  8. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 2
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 4
  10. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 3, Chapter 23
  11. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 4, Chapter 31
  12. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 2, Chapter 13
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 5
  14. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 6
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 4, Chapter 32
  16. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 4, Chapter 33
  17. Hunter × Hunter: Hisoka's Past (One-Shot)
  18. 18.0 18.1 Hunter × Hunter - Episode 26 (1999)
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Jump Ryu! Vol. 21 - Togashi's notes
  20. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 5, Chapter 38
  21. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 5, Chapter 37
  22. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 4, Chapter 35


  1. In Episode 1 (1999), Kite says that people become eligible to take the Hunter Exam at age 12.