Test Dream Meaning and Interpretations


At certain times in your life you may find yourself and your actions are being closely scrutinized.  If you are at all uncertain that you can successfully pass close scrutiny, you may find yourself dreaming that you’re taking a test and failing.  These types of dreams are considered mirror dreams, or dreams that mirror your feelings back to you.  They are not meant to provide you with information about anyone else, but instead to show you areas of your life that need attention.

This dream can take different forms.  You may be unable to find the testing center and as you quickly travel through corridors, you can’t find anyone who can tell you where you’re supposed to be to take the test.  Or perhaps you’ve arrived at the correct place, but you find that you had the time wrong, the test is over, and everyone has gone home.

Test dreamsAnxiety

It could be that you arrive for the test at the right place and time, but you don’t have the number 2 pencils the test giver demands, and you are not allowed to take the exam.  Maybe you do have the pencils but the exam you’ve been handed is completely blank and you aren’t able to let anyone know, or the pencils keep breaking when you try to answer.

Perhaps everything is fine until you see the test and realize you don’t know any of the answers.  You receive the test with a great big red failure mark covering the page.

You’ve failed and you won’t be able to reap the rewards that a successful passing grade would have afforded you.  Not only that, but others are now mocking you, pointing and laughing as they brandish their own tests marked with passing grades.

Fear of Failure

This is a nightmare that most people have endured in their lifetime.  The test is significant, but may be taken literally or symbolically.  Maybe you’re about to sit for your final exams and you’re unsure that you’re ready.  You may suffer this dream in the nights preceeding the exam date.

If the dream is meant symbolically, the exam could mean something quite different.  Something is likely causing you distress in your waking life and you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Being scrutinized is uncomfortable for most people, so this dream is rather common.  Unless you have relatively healthy self-esteem, you may feel as if you’re not going to measure up, that you’re going to fail the test.

Perhaps you’re up for a promotion or a pay raise and you fear you aren’t going to be considered good enough to get it.  You may be one of two or more who are being considered for the promotion and you aren’t sure how you measure up against the competition.  This dream could be a manifestation of those fears and could help you to recognize that there’s something that needs attention.  Maybe there’s something you can do to put yourself ahead of your peers in the minds of your bosses.

The Need to Commit

Or it could be that you’re working on a project and you just haven’t put your all into it.  You’re aware that it isn’t your best work and now that it’s time to turn it in, you’re worried that you’re going to be found out.

This type of dream can alert you to subconscious thoughts that plague you, telling you that you should prepare better, work harder, and do more to create the project that your teacher or boss is looking for.

For some, this dream is a reflexion of their every day anxiety.  If you feel you don’t measure up, if you think that you’re in over your head; you may have a test dream.  If you are not confident that you are ready to move up to the next step in your life, the anxiety may overwhelm you and spill over into your dreams.

This anxiety is common in people who are working their way up the ladder, trying to make a name for themselves in their field of choice while trying to keep up with the Joneses next door.

It’s a very busy time of life when even finding enough time to sleep is hard.  Dreams that magnify your fears just increase your anxiety.

If these dreams are plaguing you, it may be time to step back, take stock of what’s important, and concentrate on those things while letting the others go.  You’ll find you’ll be happier by day and sleep better by night.

About 20% of people experience test dreams at some time in their lives, though it’s more common in teens and young adults whose lives are generally more stressful than those of young children and older adults.

They are often recurring dreams that continue until the problem is resolved.  They may not always take the same form, but the feeling of inadequacy will be central to the dream each time.

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Causes of Test Dreams

Indulging in procrastination can cause you to have test dreams.  You know it needs to be done, you know there’s a deadline, but you convince yourself that you have plenty of time.  You put it off.  Deep inside you know that the deadline is approaching and you’re going to have to do some fancy footwork to find the time to get it done if you don’t attend to it now while you have the time.  You may ignore the building anxiety in favor of doing something else that’s much more fun, but it’s always there in the back of your head, waiting to plague your dreams.  A lack of motivation is difficult to overcome, but you’ll know the problem is coming to a head when it starts interfering with your sleep.  It’s time to start working on it while you’re awake.

If you fear being left behind while the rest of the world advances, if you feel alone and you worry that you don’t measure up, that the crowd is moving ahead while you’re unable to keep up, if you feel you just aren’t good enough, these feelings may manifest themselves in dreaded test dreams.

The dreams are your subconscious’ way of making you aware of feelings you may be trying to hide from yourself.  They are there to alert you to the need to take action.  You may need to work harder, or simply learn to believe in yourself and your worth to the people and world around you.

Alternative Interpretations of Test Dreams

Dreaming of sitting a test represents your feelings about a difficult situation. It can also mean you are worried about things in your real life. You may have doubts about your ability to resolve things with good outcomes. This type of dream symbolizes being tested or feeling testy about something in your real life. This may annoy you.

Failing a test in a dream represents your resignation to your failure at something in real life. It can also mean you have a real fear of failure. Your failures may even cause you to sink into a deep depression. What do you fail at? Who have you failed? Do you worry about letting others down? Is it easier to fail than it is to succeed?

Dreaming of cheating on a test represents your dishonesty in real life. Have you been lying to cover your tracks? What do you try to get away with? This dream warns that the only one you ultimately cheat when you lie is yourself. Being a cheat will earn you some hard lessons. Being forced to sit a test and failing represents your everyday annoyances.

Successfully completing a test is a message to give you the confidence you need to face a situation. You can take on anything with success. You just have to walk your truth with integrity.

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About Author

Stephen is a self confessed dream junkie that loves all things dream related. He is a writer for Dream Stop and has been working in the field of dreams for the past decade. He believes that the YOU are the only person who can truly understand the meaning of your dreams. You have to look inside your inner thoughts to find the hidden truths in your dream. These interpretations are for entertainment purposes only. Stephen's interpretations should be considered an opinion, not professional advice.


  1. i had a dream about me and my mother and my brother going shopping then my mother stands to buy some fruits mean while me and my brother go into a toy shop and look at toys during that time my dad was at job . sundennly a man enteres the shop ,a customer and me and my brother were looking at some airsoft toy guns , and i found out that the man that entered the shop looked like my dad but he is not same clothe same bag and same voice me and my brother like some gunds but we dont have money then that man buys those guns and takes them home

  2. had a dream that i will never forget. it was at my old house and me and my family were going out looking for this treasure chest but we never found it so we sadly went home. but when my mum opened the door of my old house we saw loads of treasure and there was lots of magic. when i went to my room i saw it was messy so then i said please can you tidy my room and the magic tidied it. then i woke up.

  3. i had this weird dream that i was kissing some hot boy named Dermot and that apparently he was my boyfriend. we was in a shopping centre and i went down the escalators and there was about 10 men and they all looked the same and one came up to me and said “apples!” and touched my breast and i cut my eye at him and walked away and there was this sign and i read it and it said something like “do you have a strange feeling when this guy says something to you? well dont try to avoid it.” and for a long time i’ve been trying to work out what it meant

    oh and when i was little i had the scariest dream ever. it was a mirror dream and there were two copies of my mum and they looked exactly the same as my real mum and in my dream i had to work out which was my real good mum and go to her but is i chose the wrong mum i had to live with her. i really want to know what that meant is someone could tell me i’d be gratefull! 🙂

    • Brendan Bowling on

      While you was sleeping you thought about the good days you and your mom has and the bad days you and your mom has and you don’t know which one your mom would be in the next day so what ever one you picked or was going to picked meant that you needed to treat her right ( if you picked the wrong one) and you was going to have the good time with your mom (if it was the right one)

  4. I had a very disturbing dream recently that made me wake up crying.
    It was about these two guys arguing after the football team lost. There was a tailgate afterwards and everybody was invited. I went and saw the argument. It made me very confused because the two guys were bestfriends. It was the quarter back and one of the wide receivers. The receiver was shouting to the quarter back, “i cant trust him anymore!” The quarter back replied back, however i do not remember the exact words, but it was like “well i cant trust you either!” So i stepped up and tried to talk the two out of fighting, but instead, the quarterback raised his hand and slapped me across the face. I went flying back and BURSTED into tears. This is when i had woken up…i will never forget this dream…lol i didnt know if it meant something…I’ve never told anyone that dream and i was hoping somebody would know just exactly what it meant 🙂

  5. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉

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