|“||These tests aren't all obvious.||”|
The Trial is attended by the invited potential mages, both 'legacies' or those with no magical history, their families, and the Masters. Meanwhile, the non-mages accompanying the aspirants will magically be led to believe whatever they want to; parents may, for example, think that their child was applying for ballet school or an athletics program. Once out of earshot of the parents or guardians, all the mages are then briefed about the true nature of the tests.
Masters then oversee the divided groups of the aspirants, and some supervise a specific station of a task, which may vary from a written exam to the levitation of paper. After all the tests are taken, the aspirant is sent back to the bleachers to wait for the rest to finish. The mages present would then continue to record the scores and finalize the rankings, which are displayed in front of them on whiteboards. Whatever the results of the tests, however, choosing of the candidates will still be up to the Masters' judgment. The Masters will then pick applicants, a maximum of six each, who would then be required to attend at least the first year—whether they like it or not—and would be their apprentices for the next five years at the Magisterium.
The Iron Trial is divided into four (or five) tests, implied to be different each year. Each test, though designed with a certain goal in mind, may be used to test a potential mage's innate power in various ways, even in the most unpredictable ones. Failure in the individual or even majority of the tests does not necessarily mean that one has immediately failed the Trial, as their entry to the Magisterium still wholly depends on whether or not they would be picked by a Master.
The four tests during Callum Hunt and company's year are listed below:
- The first unofficial test was being able to hear Master Phineus, who communicated with the crowd telepathically, as mages with even the slightest bit of power should be able to hear him.
- The first real test was a sort of written exam, done on paper. The questions on the test seemed to be based on mathematics, science, and strategy, combined with supernatural elements. The pens used to take the test were enchanted with a seemingly infinite supply of ink. To use them, one must shake the pen to release the ink. But if shaken too roughly by a mage with enough powerful magic, a large amount of ink will spill from the pen.
- The second test involved a red ball and a long rope ladder dangling from the ceiling. The goal was to climb the rope ladder to reach the red ball, the magical twist being that the enchantments on the two objects reacted differently to each potential mage, seemingly depending on the power they possessed; mainly, the ladder lengthened further as the mage attempted to progress upwards. In Aaron's case, he was easily able to beat the challenge, appearing to move up faster than the rope fell. Call angrily stared at the unreachable ball and subconsciously, accidentally destroyed it.
- The third test required the potential mage to levitate a sheet of paper off of a desk, making sure not to let it wobble or fall. It is a test of control one has over their own magic. To perform this task, air magic is required. In Call's case, because of his insistence in trying to fail the test, he subconsciously did the opposite of what was asked: the paper stuck itself onto the desk.
- The fourth test involved the individual aspirant facing Master Rufus alone. The aspirant would be presented with a bowl filled with water that has a flame squarely in the center of it, magically kept burning by the Master. The test was for the aspirant to keep the flame burning with a combination of fire and water magic.
Mages need the intrinsic power of magic, knowledge of how to use it, and control to become deemed successful mages. New, untaught mages are powerful, being at the apex of their power, and dangerous, because of their lack of knowledge and control, hence the necessity to train the mages. Because of this, mages chosen by Masters are required to attend at least the first year of training.
Several applicants are not selected, however, and there are varied reasons for this: they may not possess neither the aptitude for learning nor one for control, or they may be unsuitable for the training that they would undergo at the school, wherein further exploration of their powers could be deadly. Upon rejection, they will somehow be made "permanently safe from magic or any danger of succumbing to the elements," possibly through binding and certainly through the removal or alteration of their memories of any magic they may have witnessed if they are too powerful or dangerous. Otherwise, they will simply be told of their obligations of secrecy and will be given the means to protect themselves and their family.
- Callum Hunt is possibly the first to ever lose points in a test during the Iron Trial.
- It is unknown if the Iron Trial takes place at different places every year. The one Call's year undertook was in Virginia, in an abandoned airfield hangar.