This article will discuss the interpretation of a common dream that people, especially students, have- the dream about failing in an exam.
We all have our unique dream symbols, the meaning of which can be understood in the light of our own belief systems. Nevertheless, there also exist some dreams that are common to most of us.
This is because there are some life experiences that are experienced by most humans irrespective of their culture, ethnicity, or personality. Going to school and taking exams are among such experiences.
Dreaming of failing in an exam
It’s perhaps the most common dream that haunts not only students but also adults who’ve been through the modern education system. We’re taught that exams are important life challenges we need to overcome to succeed in life. So our subconscious mind uses this symbol to represent life challenges in general.
Seeing this dream usually means there is an important, upcoming life challenge you’re worried or anxious about.
In this type of dream, it’s common to experience some difficulty or hindrance in giving the exam. Your pen stops working, you’re out of time, you can’t find your seat, you reach the exam hall late or you forget everything you had learned.
All these are symbolic of you believing you’re not being prepared to face this upcoming challenge in your real life, whatever that might be.
You might get this dream when you’re about to face an important job interview that you believe you’re unprepared for. Your mind uses the exam as a symbol to represent the job interview.
Why students see this dream
When a student sees this dream, it means they believe they’re unprepared for an upcoming exam. In this case, the dream is pretty straightforward and devoid of any symbolism.
Students can get these anxiety dreams weeks before an important exam. They’re anxious about an important challenge ahead and their preparation is almost zero. However, as soon as they start preparing, there’s a good chance they’ll stop seeing such dreams.
This is because the dream was essentially a warning signal from the subconscious, asking them to prepare. When the students have prepared and are confident in their preparations, they don’t see these dreams.
Even if a student prepares well, they may not be confident in their preparation and still get this anxiety dream, even on the night before the actual exam. A study found that students who had negative exam dreams the night before an exam actually performed better than those who didn’t.
This shows that high anxiety can be a powerful motivating force. If you’re not satisfied with your preparation, you’re like to work very hard.
Reflection of a recent failure
This dream could also mean you believe you’ve failed in some way. For example, a salesman who failed to make an important sale might also see such a dream. In this case, the inability to give the test is symbolic of a real-life failure the person recently experienced.
Our dreams are often a reflection of our recent thoughts, emotions, and concerns. Particularly, concerns we haven’t expressed fully or resolved.
Hi, I’m Hanan Parvez (MBA, MA Psychology), founder and author of PsychMechanics. I’ve written 280+ articles and published one book about human behavior on this blog that has garnered over 3 million views. PsychMechanics has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur.