Re: Poll: Do you prefer your aikido rank tests announced (planned) or unannounced (surprise)?
For us we tend not to announce the lower kyu tests, certainly 5th (our first grading) will normally take the pattern of the student(s) being asked to go out th front for a few weeks and go through techniques from the syllabus, this build till they eventually are used to it and are doing the whole thing, then a few other things are thrown in to see how they deal.
Assuming it isn't a disaster they are awarded at the end of the night - this has the benefit with newbies of nobody actually failing they were just doing a "mock".
For higher grades a different approach is used, and a lot of focus goes into the preperation for of a grading, which is done at a public event twice a year.
Not so much the tequiniques, which as Bronson says should be there by that point, but more the whole "crispness" and "focus" that is needed in a grading.