Zombie Cheerleader wrote:
IIRC, Kirk was about to or already had graduated at the time of Nero's attack. Remember, he told Pike he'd get through the Academy in three years. The Kobayashi Maru test would seem to be for final year or command school cadets based on TWOK. So I don't think he was a "mid cadet".
For most of ST XI, Kirk was a Lieutenant. This is confirmed by the transporter readout screen when they're trying to beam him and Sulu away from the drill.
So it would seem that if the hearing hadn't been interrupted, Kirk would have been formally graduated as a Lieutenant - just like he did in TOS.
In any case, Kirk didn't go from Cadet to Captain - he went from Lieutenant to Captain. Still a big jump, but he only skipped two grades (Lt. Cmdr. and Commander), so it's not THAT big a deal.