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BWG 42:

Advancing an exponent 1-4 skill requires a number of routine tests equal to the exponent. Also, for exponent 1-4, a character needs difficult tests equal to half the exponent, or challenging tests equal to his exponent divided by three (rounded up).

BWG 52:

Exponent 1-4 skills must be advanced by filling up the routine test requirement. Then, meeting either the difficult or challenging test requirement will push the skill to the next exponent level.

The former excerpt doesn't seem to require that the difficult/challenging tests take place chronologically following the routine tests, but the latter excerpt does. Which is it?

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2 Answers 2

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Tests may be recorded in any order

BWG p. 45, "Converting or Substituting Tests":

What if my character is one routine test from advancing his skill, but has tons of difficult tests?

This scenario could never occur if all routine tests had to be recorded before all difficult tests. Thus, it seems that the tests can be recorded in any order, with BWG p. 52 referring to the order of checking the recorded tests for advancement (though this order doesn't actually matter) rather than the order in which the individual tests are recorded.

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I have played, discussed and game mastered Burning wheel with a number of different people (from different countries) and have never met the interpretation where one has to first gather routine tests and can only then start gathering the other tests. If it was a widespread interpretation in the community, I believe there is a fair chance I would have met it by now.

This does not necessarily say anything about a strict rules as written reading of the rules, but speaks to the way the game is often played.

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