Dream Question: I keep having a recurring dream that I’m back at school taking an exam. In the dream, I’m not expecting to take a test and I’m not ready for it. What does that mean?
School, college and university are all part of our formative years. It’s where we spent time growing up, forming friendships, developing our outlook. What happens during those learning years might help shape who we become.
Dreaming of being back at school can reflect a period of learning. It might be that something happening in your life right now has been a “learning curve”, and you’ve learned something about yourself, someone else or life itself – it could be a metaphor for what some may see as a “life lesson” if you like. It might be that you’re making changes, or thinking about going back to school, starting a new qualification or a change of career.
How you experienced school will also influence how you interpret this dream. If school was a happy time, you might find the dream is taking you back to good times, and the feeling of being carefree again. If school was difficult, ask yourself why you might be having this dream again now. What’s happened that would remind you subconsciously of the time you were at school. Perhaps you’re feeling the same pressure now, as you did back then.
Taking exams in dreams often presents itself the way described above – not knowing about it and not feeling ready. This can mirror how life can be – something happens we’re not ready for and not prepared for how we might cope with it, or what the outcome or results might be.
Dreams like this can symbolise the stress you experienced when you were back at school, especially around exam time. The dream can serve to remind you that you’re getting stressed again maybe as you did back then, and so it’s time to start managing what’s getting on top of you.
It can also be a common dream for people who work to tight deadlines, or who are busy with lots of other things. It can symbolise trying to keep on top of everything, and then something comes out of the blue which adds to what you’re already doing. And of course if you’re a teacher, it could reflect waking life for you too.
It may also be that you feel you’re being tested by life. If lots has happened, and you’re being pushed emotionally to the limits, talking it through with someone can be helpful. You may also find keeping a dream diary useful, as this can hold clues to why you have this dream when you do. See more on this below.
Top tips for School and Exam Dreams
- Have a think about how stressed you are and what positive changes you can make to help you relax. Having a good bedtime routine which includes a warm bath and a relaxation technique can be useful. Mindfulness can help.
- Consider whether you’ve been going through a period of learning. What are you feeling tested by? These can provide insights as to the meaning of your dream.
- Try keeping a dream diary. You might find you have this dream because of something that’s regularly happening in your life at the time. Dream diaries can help you spot patterns, and understand what they mean.
Copyright Delphi Ellis