A lot of Martial Arts classes have some type of grading system. This means that pupils attain an obvious sign of development, ordinarily a belt. Generally the grading itself is a testing session where pupils are put through their paces and made to parade their skills, especially those needed to receive a specific level.
The grading test is often an extremely exciting, but difficult, day, while some do fail, normally they shouldn't as they will not be put forward for the grading unless they're prepared. Obviously, there's no point attempting your black belt if you're only a blue belt standard. You 'll be in over your head! Some Martial Arts classes refrain from holding grading tests as such but rather award the student the new belt when the coach feels they're at the required level. While pupils miss out on the grading day itself this method stops the clamor for a new belt that students will sometimes consider is due them.
Frequently pupils consider that merely because they have turned up for the designated number of classes they're due their grading. This is probably fine for the McDojo's of the world but is abhorrent to a Martial Arts teacher who has your best interests at heart. After all the belt is really only there to keep the uniform tidy, the color is of no value if it is simply handed over regardless of a persons ability.
The easiest way to tell whether a given Martial Arts school makes it's pupils obtain their belts or not is to take a look at the standard of their black belts. If they're no good the school is probably not worth investing your time and effort in. If they are good it's well worth giving the place a go. Good black belt standard equals tough grading and high skill levels. Of course, it is also a great indication of the trainers ability, if you keep at it you too could be as good as the black belts, one day. Not everyone is capable of passing on their talent to pupils and that holds true for ex-World Champions, winning does not always translate into teaching!
The majority of grading systems will ensure that you acquire your new belt or sash and so have great value. However, you do need to put the effort so you're properly prepared for the test. Do not leave anything to chance, practice in and out of your school, so you are as well prepared as possible!