Tests and Schoolwork Dream Meaning

Dreaming about taking tests and doing schoolwork is common. It ranks as one of the top five dreams that people have. It’s not surprising because around 60% of the population of the world receives formal education of some sort.  Many of us are lucky enough to spend 12 or more years studying especially if we go to college. It is a big part of our early lives and you can dream about school even when years have gone by since you were there.

In this article, we will be telling you what dreams about school and tests can mean. Remember to also consider how you felt in the dream. Did you feel happy about the time you spent at school or was it the worst time of your life? Also, don’t forget to remember the symbols you saw as they will have some significance in interpreting your dream.

What it Means to Dream About Tests & Schoolwork 


Dreams of tests or exams are usually negative. They can mean that you are being ‘put to the test’ in your waking life. It is common to dream that you are going into an exam room without having studied. This usually makes you panic in the dream and you can wake up feeling stressed and guilty because you have let yourself down. 

Perhaps someone is testing you at work and a promotion is on the line. Perhaps your romantic partner is putting you to the test and your marriage is on the line. If you are still at school or college, the dream could be quite literal. Have you done enough work to pass your exams?

You could dream about tests and schoolwork if you are going through a time when nothing seems to be going right. You could be experiencing one difficult situation after the other and are having trouble coping with the problems you are facing. 

Your dream about schoolwork may just be a sign that you are stressed. Maybe there is something you can do before the problems manifest themselves. There could be something you could do to be prepared for the problems coming your way. Perhaps you could put more effort into your job so that you are rewarded with a promotion. If you’re at school, study before you run out of time.

Confidence & Self-Esteem

If you pass your exams with flying colors, it makes you feel good about yourself. It confirms your self-esteem and makes you more confident. However, if you dream that you have failed a test or have gone into an exam room without knowing anything about the subject can be dismal. It can make you feel that you aren’t good enough to progress to the next step of your life. Perhaps you want to go to college, but the dream is telling you that you aren’t well prepared. However, this could just be a warning. There might still be time to reverse this sequence of events. 

If you dream about failing an exam but you’re not at school or college, it can mean that you just don’t feel good about yourself. Perhaps you have just been drifting without succeeding in anything. It’s time you reversed this pattern and built up your self-esteem.

Here are some suggestions of how to build up your confidence and self-esteem. 

  • Stop having negative thoughts. You are worth just as much as anyone else. 
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others. Everyone has their own skills and yours are just as valuable.
  • When something goes right, pat yourself on the back. You deserve it. Even if something doesn’t go quite to plan, praise yourself for the effort you put into it. 
  • Be grateful if people help you. Don’t resent interference. Most of the time your friends will have your back and will want to help you. 
  • Why not go to evening classes and learn something new. If you can master a new skill, it will build up your self-confidence.
  • The most important thing to do is to be kind to yourself. Don’t dwell on other people, feeling jealous that they have had more success than you. Everybody has their own talents and nobody is perfect.

Reaching Goals & Overcoming Challenges   

Dreaming about passing or failing tests and exams can also mean that you are trying to reach goals in your waking life. If you did well in the test, you could be nearing your goal and achieving success. You might also be nearing the end of a period that has been challenging. However if you did badly, it could mean that you are unable to conquer these challenges. You are also not anywhere near reaching the goals you have set yourself. 

You could dream that you didn’t take a test and slipped school or college. Maybe you didn’t hand in your homework on time. This could mean that you are hiding from conflicts or challenges in your waking life. You could be thinking that these challenges will just disappear, but that is rarely the case. The dream could be telling you that it is time to face up to these challenges and conflicts. You have problems and they need to be faced.

Types of Tests or School Work You May Encounter in Your Dream

  • Elementary school tests
  • High school tests like Math, English, and Geography
  • Book reports
  • Research papers at college
  • Essays
  • Pop Quizzes
  • Intelligence tests
  • Psychological tests
  • Professional certification tests
  • Physical exercise tests
  • Cognitive tests

In addition, there are plenty of other tests and exams you might see in your dreams. Usually, they will relate to your waking life. 

Common Dream Scenarios with Tests and Exams

We have looked at some of the most common themes we could see running through our dreams about tests and schoolwork. Now it’s time to take a look at some scenarios that may come up.

You Passed a Test with Flying Colors

It is a good sign if you see yourself passing a test in your dream or getting good grades in your schoolwork. You are probably feeling confident and secure in your achievements. You are also ready to meet challenges head-on. 

Dreaming that you pass a test can also indicate changes are happening in your waking life, and you are ready for whatever is thrown at you. These changes are usually positive. 

Tests can stop progress, but if you see yourself passing with flying colors, the barriers to success have been taken down and you will be able to see situations clearly 

You Failed a Test Miserably

On the other hand, you could dream that you have failed a test This can mean that you have failed in something in your waking life. Perhaps you haven’t completed a job to your boss’s satisfaction. Maybe you are unable to take on a task set by your boss. You will most probably feel a failure. 

Another interpretation is that you might be feeling anxious about an upcoming event. Perhaps you have to make a speech, but you are shy and don’t like talking in front of a crowd of people. 

The dream could also mean that you have suffered a loss. Perhaps a loved one has passed away or maybe you have lost money and have a gambling debt.

You Didn’t Do Your Schoolwork/Take the Test

Perhaps you have had a dream where you decided not to take a test or exam. Maybe you haven’t completed your schoolwork. This could easily mean that you are struggling with events in your waking life and are having difficulty facing up to your problems. You could be in denial and the dream is telling you that you must face up to your struggles. 

Another interpretation of this dream is that you are unprepared. Perhaps you have a new task at work, but you haven’t done any research that is needed to complete the assignment. You might not even know how to deal with it.

You Are Worrying About Taking a Test or Doing School Work

Perhaps you are worried about the test you have to take. Maybe you are late for your exam and don’t have enough time to complete it. You could also be late handing in an assignment. This could mean that you aren’t able to cope with the problems you have in your waking life.

Perhaps you get lost and can’t find your way to the classroom to take your test. You want to take the test, but you can’t get to the exam room. This can mean that you want to prove yourself, but don’t know how you can do it. The dream is telling you that you need to have more confidence in yourself.

Cheating on a Test/Schoolwork

Perhaps you dream that you are cheating on a test. Maybe you are looking at what someone else has written or you have sneaked into the exam room with a piece of paper with the answers on it. This can mean that you are feeling guilty in your waking life. Perhaps you are taking shortcuts at work rather than taking your time to sort through all the facts. Maybe you are doing something unscrupulous but you feel that if nobody knows, what’s the harm? The dream is telling you not to do this. It is better to be honest and this is what your subconscious is telling you.

You could get caught cheating in your dream so this is a premonition of what might happen. Do you really want to be caught out? On the other hand, it could represent guilt you are feeling when you did try to cheat. Maybe you are doing nothing wrong now, but you could have done so in the past and this is still in the back of your mind.

If you really want to know what your dreams about tests and schoolwork mean, you will need to ask yourself certain questions.

  • Do you still think about tests and schoolwork in your waking life?
  • Did you succeed or fail in exams at school?
  • Do you have any associations with schoolwork? Perhaps you are a teacher.
  • Were there any other symbols in the dream that can help to interpret it?
  • What were your feelings and emotions in the dream?
  • Do you have high self-esteem or do you feel that you aren’t as good as other people?
  • In your waking life, do you feel as if people are always trying to test you?
  • Have you any worries that might bring on a dream about tests and schoolwork? 

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