The Bishop's Apprentice Exam is an exam organized by the Barsburg Church and taken by acolytes who want to become apprentice Bishops, something that will give them more privileges within the Church, as well as being given a Clergy pass. Those taking the exam must wear an exam badge. During the exam the students will be tested in two areas, their Biblical knowledge and their skill as a team. The exam is taken in pairs and, like the Begleiter exam, encourages teamwork.
Students and examiners Edit
The exam allows those with a Zaiphon, thought to be a blessing from God, to bypass normal rules and regulations to become a Bishop early. Normally a candidate would have to make the transition between believer to priest before they can become the apprentice to a Bishop, but having the ability to use a Baculus is so prized that age is not a factor for them.
Every year, more than a thousand people arrive at District 7 to take the exam. There is no age limit for the exam, as both old and young take the exam, and no rules against taking pets into the exam, as Teito was able to take Burupya into the exam with him. There also appears to be no limit on how many times a person can sit the exam. However, it seems that women are not allowed to take the exam, as no female candidates have been seen so far.
Seven Bishops are involved in the training of the candidates, and each Bishop is expected to oversee all the candidates from their respective district, (for example Castor is meant to train all candidates from District 2).
Many students live on campus in the Church for the duration of the exam, but some commute. They are housed in the applicants block of the Church.
Students are paired up to challenge and improve each other, and share a dorm room with their partner.
Events of the examEdit
During the written part of the exam, students must memorise the 7700 scriptures from the 77 volumes of the Barsburg Bible, with 100 of these scriptures being chosen at random for the exam questions.
Normally students are expected to study at the Church for at lest 5 years before they can take the exam. Before the exam, students muct take part in chores around the Church, such as cleaning the halls and delivering caustic lime to each of the floors. For an examinee, morning begins at four am.
|“||What's crawling at your feet is fear! The cowardly are stopped here.||”|
—The Former Assistant Archbishops, explaining to the candidates what happens at the first stage of the exam.
Before students are allowed to enter the first part of the exam, they are first required to get there by passing through a room of shadows that cause the person to feel a great sense of intimidation, weak and heavy as they walk through.
The shadows are physical manifestations of fear, similar in nature to Wars, and grab at the candidates in an attempt to drag them down. The former assistant archbishops explain that this is to separate the cowards from the courageous, and many candidates are eliminated at this stage.
During part 1 of the exam (written)Edit
After passing through this, the candidates can then begin the exam. This part involves students answering 100 questions. They use their Baculus to inscribe the answers on the walls on which the questions are written, and the answer opens the doors, allowing them to pass through. They go through several different exam halls. Although the doors only need one of the pair to answer to open, they both must reach the final doors together.
Kor Palace: The Kor palace is a large tank filled with water and live Kor. Students must hold their breath whilst destroying 50 Kor and answering each question. It tests the candidates' endurance and ability to remain calm in intense situations.
Only once they have defeated 50 Kor are they allowed to exit the Kor palace; if they leave before they will be disqualified.
Numerous other terrains after this one include avoiding a rolling boulder, climbing a mountain, travelling through tunnels, and jumping across rocks. The second-to-last challenge involves the pair walking across a tightrope over a chasm whilst avoiding the manifestations of fear that grab at them from below. The rope is designed to break when candidates make it halfway across, and those who fall are caught by Hawkzile-riding Bishops waiting below, and taken to safety.
|“||The reason for passing the exam is the question, of course. There are no winners in this exam. What is needed is those who can extend a hand to people.||”|
Final challenge: The final question awaits after this: "defeat your partner and inscribe your name onto the door of victory", as only one person from each pair can pass. 9% of the remaining students will fail at the last question, as they must measure themselves against each other.
The name inscribed onto the wall is revealed to not matter, and is instead another test to test the candidates' humility. Inside the door of the victor is a pain walkway where a reaper appears and drags the candidate away. Inside the door of the loser there is an extravagant path that transports the candidates back to the main hall. Those who walk through the door of the defeated are those who pass, not those who walk through the door of the victor.
During part 2 of the exam (practical)Edit
|“||The second exam is a practical exam. There is one rule: if you reach the door on the far side of the bridge, you pass.||”|
—Lance, introducing the second half of the exam.
The second part of the exam takes place on the bridge of trials and tribulations, guarded by the guardians of the bridge of trials.
Each candidate is required to cross one of the bridges of trials, a thin strip of marble from which the only exit point is a door on the far side, and the bridges cause the innermost darkness that lie within the hearts of those crossing it to manifest itself in physical form, which seem very real. Because the bridge manifests the person's worst fears, the Bishops are unable to predict what will occur.
However, before the candidates can fight the manifestations of their fears, they must battle a giant Kor. This battle is to disguise the true purpose of the bridge, and to fool candidates into thinking this is the true exam.
|“||There is only one requirement to pass: those who know their darkness and can face it head-on.||”|
—Lance, explaining what is needed to pass the exam.
Candidates must cross the bridge and reach the door on the other side in order to pass. Those who are unable to face their fears are unable to stand on the bridge, meaning they will fall through as the bridge becomes intangible. If this happens, they will fail the exam.
After the examEdit
It is regulation that all who pass the exam must accompany a senior Bishop as an apprentice. These apprentices will spend around four more days in the Barsburg Church continuing to carry out their acolyte duties. After this, they will leave the 7th District to train as Bishops; an act that involves travelling the Barsburg Empire, under the guidance of their superior, to improve their skills in exterminating Kor.
Traditionally, an apprentice bishop has a cross tattooed on their back to show they have been allowed to "pursue the path of becoming a Bishop". It takes two days for the tattoo to be completed.
Those who fail the exam can either leave, or remain in the 7th District to retrain and attempt the exam next year. Upon deciding to attempt the exam again, four days after the exam, the acolytes will leave the Barsburg Church and be allocated to their old dorms where they will mingle with those attempting the exam for the first time, and repeat the year.
Students can be disqualified for a number of reasons, most notably: cheating, as shown when two examinees attempt to run through a door opened by another pair. Candidates are also disqualified for failing to defeat the Kor in time. Behaving rudely, or talking back to the examiners is also likely to cost students marks. Since the exam encourages teamwork, candidates will be disqualified for abandoning their partner, and, up until the very final challenge, if one of the pair fails, the other will be disqualified.
Although examiners appear to have the power to stop the exam when the acolyte suffers during the second half of the exam, they have not been shown intervening when candidates are in serious danger in the first part of the exam. Bishop Lance had said that he is here to "impartially judge, not save people", but it is unknown if there is a risk of death during the exam.
- The total number of the multiplication of all the books and chapters greater than 6 sentences, divided by 13 is 5,754,861.
- The Jin/Arsh and Golia/Lu teams are amongst those disqualified.
- The bridge of trials and tribulations was originally used to judge those with an audience with the Pope.
- During Frau's exam, every other student had to be re-graded separately, as Frau's light erased everyone else's darkness.
- The bishop's apprentice exam can be considered the Church's equivalent of the Barsburg Armed Forces's Begleiter Exam.