At first, this appears to be a written test which is near impossible. However, the bizarre conditions Morino Ibiki sets down, leads to many to believe the tests true intent: cheating. Or, otherwise known as information gathering. Many Genins who get caught cheating are taken out and they fail the exams. Of course, due to some bizarre circumstances and a loophole in what Ibiki said, Naruto got through without writing the answers or going to the trouble to cheat.
After Morino Ibiki's mind test, Anko's comes in and reveals the next assignment: survival. All teams that passed the first exam are let loose in a forest full of dangers and animals. To increase the level of tension, each team is given one of two scrolls: the Heaven Scroll, and the Earth Scroll. And to add on to this, each team that gets to their destination must have each scroll, and this means many deadly fights. Many died in the second exam. Gaara of the sand and is team successfully completed this portion of the exam faster than any other team in all time.
Because of the high passing amount of teams from the second test, it is decided to have a prelim match to reduce the amount of the Genins. This preliminary fight is a one on one battle, randomly chosen by a computer. The winner is chosen by death, or is stopped by an instructor if there is a clear winner.
Only nine passed the preliminaries (Sakura and Ino's match ended in a draw.) and made it into the third exams. But due to the fact that Dosu was killed by Gaara there was a little change in the match-ups, leaving only eight people to participate in the tournament. The goal in this exam is quite easy, a duel to the finish, either by knockout or death. If you win you advance to the next match, facing another opponent. But even if you manage to win the tournament, there's a chance that you will not be selected to become a chuunin squad leader. So, even if you lose or don't win all your battles, you still have a chance to become chuunin. Unfortunately, you never get to see this tournament to the finish. Orochimaru launches his attack against Konoha during Sasuke's fight against Gaara. Only Naruto's fight against Neji (Naruto wins), Shikamaru's fight against Temari (Temari wins) was completed. In the end only one of the participants became a chuunin, Nara Shikamaru.