See also: Ninja Ranks
Academy students (忍者学校生, Akademī-sei) make up the student body of the Academy, where they are trained and prepared for life as a shinobi. They are not an actual part of the shinobi force, as they are still in the process of mastering the very basics of the ninja lifestyle. However, they can be conscripted as part of the war potential in times of emergency.
Academy students spend their time honing the various skills they are required to have and undergoing various tests and exams to see how they progress. Besides ordinary school subjects such as history and mathematics, they are taught the basics of ninjutsu, taijutsu, and most likely also genjutsu. This includes learning about chakra and how to control it, tactics, hand seals, they are taken through the handling of ninja weapons and tools, like shuriken and kunai, learning how to throw and wield them through target practice, and several E-rank techniques, such as the Clone Technique and the Transformation Technique. They are also trained in working both individually and in teams.
Eventually they are given a graduation test to see if they are ready to try and become genin. Passing this test does not automatically grant them this title, as they need to pass a second test given by their jōnin instructor, but they do receive a forehead protector. Those who fail either of these tests are sent back to the Academy. The requirements for graduating vary from village to village. In Konohagakure, the Academy students simply have to show their proficiency in a randomly selected E-rank technique. In Kirigakure, however, the test was a life-or-death battle between graduating students at one time, a practice since changed after the not-yet-qualified Zabuza Momochi massacred an entire graduation class.
After the Fourth Shinobi World War, the entire curriculum has been completely revamped, to ensure all students are more prepared in every way. General studies are now offered as courses in lieu of shinobi training; also, even aspiring shinobi must pass general studies in order to graduate, as opposed to simply mastering ninjutsu. Also, techniques that were once reserved for post-graduates are now part of the courses, such as Tree Climbing and Water Surface Walking Practices and even Nature Transformation.