Dream Symbols | Objects

Tests and Schoolwork Dream Meaning

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Have you recently had a dream about tests or school work?

Although it’s not a completely universal experience, more than 60% of the world will receive some formal education in their lives, and therefore taking tests and doing school work is a pretty common occurrence in most of our stories.

It’s no wonder this experience pops up in our dreams from time to time, especially if you were privileged enough to go to school for 12 years or more, which is no small chunk of your life!

According to Psychology Today, dreams about school are extremely common among adults of all ages, and ranks as one of the top 5 most common dreams. If you are dreaming of taking tests and doing (or failing to do) school work, you are in good company!

Consider how you felt in your dream and what other details you noticed, and then continue below to see what your dreams might be trying to tell you.

What it Means to Dream About Tests & School Work


A dream of a test or an exam can indicate that you are feeling “put to the test” somewhere in your life, or feeling scrutinized in some way. These dreams are rarely pleasant, and the most common test dreams are ones where you are feeling stressed or unprepared.

Does this feel true of any area in your life? Are you going through an experience where you are actually being tested or evaluated in some way, maybe at your job, in a relationship, or if you are currently in school?

Is anything happening that makes you feel like “someone is testing” you? Sometimes we can have periods in our lives when tough situations keep cropping up one after the other and it feels like the universe, God, etc. “is testing us.”

Your dreams may simply be a sign of stress in your life, but perhaps there is something you can do to be more prepared. When we are in school ideally we study and prepare before a big test, or put in a lot of time and research before writing a paper or doing assignments. Is there anything you can do to make yourself more easily able to handle the tests that life is throwing your way?

Confidence + Self Esteem

Getting a good grade on a test or school work assignment can really feel amazing. Passing or doing well can really affirm our self worth and esteem. But failing a test or getting a bad grade on a school work assignment doesn’t feel so great, does it? It can make you feel like you simply aren’t good enough, and that can really trash your confidence and self esteem.

A dream about doing poorly in these situations could be a sign you aren’t feeling so great about yourself, or some aspect of yourself.

Do you feel like you aren’t good enough in some area of your life, or just in general? Do you find yourself speaking harshly to yourself throughout the day? What can you do to build yourself back up?

Here are some easy suggestions on how to build up your self esteem if you think this an issue you are grappling with.

  • Avoid negative self talk.
  • Try using positive affirmations, affirming your self worth.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Praise yourself for your efforts, even if it doesn’t always work out.
  • Practice gratitude often.
  • Learn a new skill/hobby or master one you are already competent at.
  • Most importantly, just be kind to yourself.

Remember, no one is perfect, and just know that you are doing great!

Reaching Goals + Overcoming Challenges

Just as passing or failing a test or assignment can represent feeling good or bad about ourselves and our performance, it can also symbolize goals we’d like to meet, and challenges in our lives, particularly how we feel we are doing to in terms of overcoming/reaching them.

Did you do well on your test or assignment in your dream? Perhaps you are close to reaching a goal in your life or nearing the end of a challenging period.

Did you do poorly? This dream might be telling you that you don’t feel close to meeting your goal at all or that you are failing to meet the challenges being put to you.

Did you just not show up to take the test or hand in the school work? This dream could suggest you are hiding out, avoiding the conflicts in your life. Maybe if you don’t acknowledge them, they will just go away? Of course, this is rarely the case. You may be in denial that you have a problem that needs dealing with, and this dream could be your wake up call to recognize what you need to take care of.

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?” …Then a voice comes to me out of the dark and says, “We hate to tell you this but life is a thousand word essay.”

— Charles M. Schulz

Types of tests or school work you may encounter in your dreams

  • General School Subject Tests
  • Math, English, History, Science, Art History, Sociology, Etc
  • Essays
  • Research Papers
  • Book Reports
  • Homework Assignments
  • Pop Quizzes
  • Blue Book Exam
  • ACT
  • PSAT
  • SAT
  • GRE
  • MCAT
  • LSAT
  • IQ Test
  • Professional Certification Tests
  • Psychological Tests
  • Cognitive Test
  • ASVAB (military)
  • Job Knowledge Test
  • Physical Ability Test
  • Strength Test
  • Skills Test

…among others! This list is by no means exhaustive, and you very well may have experienced a different type of test or school work in your dream.

Common Dream Scenarios With Tests and Exams

Now that we’ve covered some common themes and types of tests or school work you could be seeing in your dreams, let’s take a look at a few scenarios involving tests and school work.

You passed a test with flying colors

Passing a test, or getting a good grade can be an illustration of how you are feeling about yourself. You are feeling confident and prepared to meet whatever challenges you may in life.

This dream could also be an indication that positive changes are happening in your life. Often we take tests as a barrier to progress in some way, perhaps you are leveling up in some area of your life.

You failed a test miserably

If you found you didn’t do well, or outright failed a test in your dreams, this could signify that you are feeling unable to handle something in your life. You may be currently dealing with challenges you feel unprepared to deal with, or you could even have recently suffered a failure or loss.

This dream can also represent anxiety you are feeling regarding an upcoming challenge, or fear of failure.

You didn’t do your school work / take the test

If you just totally bailed on your test or to hand in an assignment, this dream could be about avoiding struggles in your life, and even being in denial about your problems. This dream could also be about feeling unprepared, or unsure on how to deal with something in your life.

You are worrying about taking a test or doing school work

Sometimes you might dream you get lost on your way or are late to take a test/hand in an assignment. If you dream you can’t find your way to your test or classroom, it might be that you feel strongly that you want to prove yourself in some way but are unsure of how to accomplish that. It can also be that you feel unprepared in some way.

Cheating on a test/school work

Cheating on your work in your dream could suggest that you are feeling guilty about cheating, or taking a lot of shortcuts in your waking life. Maybe you know you are doing something unscrupulous, but feel that as long as you can get away with it, it’s ok to continue. Your subconscious might be trying to tell you to knock something off.

If you get caught cheating in your dream, you might not necessarily be doing anything “wrong” in your conscious hours, but this dream may be a representation of embarrassment or guilt you are holding onto.

To understand more about what your dream means, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do you feel about tests/school work in everyday life?
  • Do you have any personal associations with tests/school work?
  • Were you taking, excelling at, or failing at the tests/school work?
  • How did you feel in the dream?
  • What other symbols appeared in the dream?
  • Do you feel you are “being tested”?
  • How is your self esteem?
  • Are you worried about something?

Did you have a dream about tests or school work? Tell us about your dream and what it means for you in the comments section below!

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  1. I have often had this repetitive dream about a college History and Calculus final exam that is coming up in a week or less and I am totally unprepared and with no time to catch up for the exam.
    It is very important to me to not fail any of the exams and although I wanted an A grade, now for these two tests I’ll be very happy to just get a passing C grade as the best case scenario for me.
    In the dream about the two courses, I know I had signed up for the History class but for some reason I only attended the class a couple times and missed the remaining lectures, so do not know much about the course but now have my final exam in it. No way to read up on all in just a few short days! This makes it a very worrisome dream for me.
    Similar scenario on the Calculus exam. I signed up for the class but did not pay attention to the course and feel like I know nothing on the subject and would fail the exam which is Not an option to accept. No time to catch up either, thus very worrying for me!
    I’ve had this dream at least 20 times in my life.

    1. I have had these same exact types of dreams! I’m not sure what they mean. For me the dream is usually – I didn’t go to class the whole year, and the final exam is taking place in a few days so there is no way I can prepare for it in time since I never attended the class and know nothing about the subject.

  2. I had a dream about a science experiment. In class i felt good and respected. Than we had to write a story that included our school work. I didnt start writing it till it was almost time to turn it in. There was a girl in my dream and she kissed me. It was very pleasant even tho i failed my paper

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