Re: Announced Vs. Unannounced Testing
My Sensei has used both testing options on me
For the 1st Kyu and Shodan, I had a very long early warning, and practiced for weeks and possibly even months prior to the test.
My Nidan test was only announced after the test had finished. A friend was being tested for Shodan, and myself and another Shodan were asked to demonstrate various things while he was resting, between the test chapters. All of the demonstrations were in free-form types, thus did not require preparation and pre-agreement with Uke. E.g. instead of demonstrating grab releases with Uke doing several pre-set states in an organized manner, we walked around, close eyed, and reacted to Uke grabbing us as he wishes. We did not demonstrate strike techniques separately - only did free-play randori (both sides, attack, perform techniques and counters as they feel) with the guy testing for Shodan ...). After that guys test ended, Sensei and a couple of other Sempai (My Sensei has the authority to promote up to Yondan or so, in Korindo Aikido) consulted and then announced "the friend is Shodan and XX and me are Nidan", I did not know it had been a test until that point.
An announced test has the advantage of lettign the student prepare, the preparation stage often lets the student organize his knowledge, train more seriously and at times, even gets him to advance much further then without testing.
An surprise test, has the advantage of letting the student see his own level when surprised. An un-annonced test (like I had) has the advantage of student not having a chance to complain he is not ready (as I did every time a test as mentioned since the Shodan test) and no pressure.