Naruto wasn't able to complete the Genin exam for some time. Either he was just a young starter and Sakura & Sasuke started after he failed, or a result that he was quite older. They say he was the same age, but never really told us to which day he started.

Doesn't that mean Naruto is older than Sasuke and Sakura?

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    Are you talking about the Academy exam? They all failed their Chunin exams the first time. – kuwaly Apr 7 '18 at 17:44

As per this question and the Naruto wikia, Naruto was 12 at the start of the show. The Naruto wikia also lists Sasuke and Sakura as being 12 at the start, which indicates that they're the same age. It's also corroborated by this, which says it got it from the Official Character Stats Book.

As you point out, it's not really clear how that works out, given that he's stated to have failed the exam to become a genin more than once (I'm assuming that's what you're asking about, rather than the Chunin exam, given context). Possibilities for that include either that he started younger or that it's just a timeline mess that they never bothered to deal with. I'm guessing the latter.

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  • I'd side more on the former as Naruto's been alone the entire time but his dream was to become Hokage so he could have started early without any parental interference. Also if I recall another answer here Kakashi was younger than Naruto getting into the Anbu Black Ops and you'd think he'd need to pass at the Genin exam first – Memor-X Apr 7 '18 at 23:25
  • That's possible. I was trying to find if the Academy had some sort of minimum age, but I couldn't find it in my admittedly cursory look. – kuwaly Apr 8 '18 at 10:11
  • It's also possible that Naruto entered the exam while the others didn't because they understood they weren't ready yet but Naruto, impatient as he is, couldn't wait and took the exam every chance he got. – Gravinco Jun 7 '18 at 12:40

If you remember, Kakashi finished in a year, so I would guess that you could take the exams at least twice a year and Naruto failed 6 times. It never said how long they were at the academy. So it would make sense that they could be the same age.

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It says that he failed twice + the last time where he ended up passing after all when he learned the Kage Bunshin. I read somewhere that we are shown he starts at the same time as the other contemporary genin, and we know he was in the same class as Shikamaru, Choji and Kiba, as they skip class several times, and Sasuke as they start their rivalry early.

I would guess that there are Genin-exams three or four times a year or maybe 3-4 times over a few months, and maybe extraoridinary tests for exemplary students that want to take it (itachi, 4th hokage, kakashi). Then they start their time as Genin at the same time no matter what, so everyone can be assigned to a proper genin-team with the best balance according to strengths and weaknesses. Sasuke being overall exemplary, Sakura super-smart but not very athletic and Naruto being quite athletic but not very school-smart makes for a very balanced team.

As some mentioned, it might change according to peace-time and war-time, or maybe in accordance to how many students there are. When looking at Boruto-classes (yes I read that as well. I have a lot of time.) there one is a repeater as well. 7times I think? and he is clearly older than the others, but probably not more than a year or so since he still seems on the same wavelength as the other kids.

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