Testing is done when the student has earned their stripes and fulfilled the other requirements for their current belt. Listed in the handbook, these include strikes, kicks, stances and drills. The time between belts varies greatly from student to student. How many times a week a student attends class, time practicing at home, attitude in class, age of the student, taking the summer off, etc. all factor into the time between belts. The only constant is that each rank takes longer to earn than the previous one with all other factors being equal.
The instructor selects the students who are ready to test and gives them a test date. (It is never a good idea for parents to push to have their child tested. That can lead to a lot of anxiety on the child’s part. Sensei Paul and his assistants work with the students and know when they have all of their material.) Beginning belts may receive only a few days notice while higher belts receive a longer notice with each level. This time is used for the student to be sure that they know all the required material.
Not all students will pass every test. If any of the basic stripe requirements are done incorrectly, then the student will not receive the next belt. New material may be great but previous material may have been forgotten. At each level, students are responsible to know all previous requirements as well as the current ones. (This is why each belt takes a longer time to earn.) Some students simply become too anxious and just seem to forget. Some students run out of energy before the test is done for various reasons. These students will schedule another test at a later date.
The night before a test, make sure to get a good amount of sleep. Eat a healthy but not overlarge breakfast. Drink plenty of water. Make sure to bring water with you for the test. (We do not recommend sport drinks because of the high sugar content.) If you are testing in the afternoon, have a light lunch and then eat again after the test. Wear your full Gi (uniform) to every test. Make sure that your CSD patch is sewn on the left side. If you are feeling ill, it is better to reschedule your test. Tests take a lot of energy. Please try to give 24 hours notice if you are cancelling.
Finally, relax; your instructor scheduled a test for you because you were ready. It will be hard but you can do it!