The catechism of the entered apprentice degree in Freemasonry includes learning the symbolic meaning of the degree’s working tools, as well as memorization of the questions associated with the rituals of the organization. Additionally, the entered apprentice is conferred his grips, penal signs, passwords and ritual works during the initiation.
The working tools of the entered apprentice Mason are the 24-inch gauge and the common gavel. The 24-inch gavel’s symbolism is a measure of how a Mason should spend his time: eight hours in the service of God and community, eight hours for work and eight hours for rest. The common gavel is a tool that is used by operative masons to shape rough stones and create proper foundations for structures. Without a proper foundation stone, a structure cannot stand. The symbolism of the common gavel for the entered apprentice is similar; he should work every day to fix his rough edges to create the perfect foundation of his life.
While an entered apprentice is allowed to attend certain lodge meetings, he is not allowed to vote, receive Masonic charity or hold office. Depending on that jurisdiction's Grand Lodge, the entered apprentice may not be allowed to receive a Masonic funeral.