Posted by: beagle4 | April 11, 2011

Ahhh.. Not Again

Last Saturday, I spent 8 wonderful hours of my life taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Throughout my life I have found that typically the night or two before an important exam, I have dreams related to either failing the test or trying to figure out a specific question related to the subject. Friday night was no different; I remember in my dream I kept using tables to look up thermodynamic properties of different compounds. It seems like even though I have decided that I am ready to take the test, my brain decides to attempt to keep learning and problem solving to help me prepare. Luckily, the other scenario that occurs every once in a while (dreaming about failing the test) did not happen. Usually this type of dream puts me in a stressed/nervous/anxious mood initially after I wake up.

The interpretation of dreaming about a failed test is quite easy to identify when the dreamer is a student (many students have stressful tests about once a week). A failed test is a literal interpretation of past, present, and future tests in you waking life. Oddly enough, good students usually dream more about failing tests because they hold themselves to higher academic standards; so no need to worry if you constantly have dreams about failing a test. Dreams about failing a test for non-students is more difficult to interpret. For non-students, failing a test in a dream can represent a number of fears in real life. They can represent a feeling of inadequacy, low self esteem, or a lack of confidence. These dreams would typically occur when you are feeling “tested” in waking life. They can also indicate that the dreamer feels they are being judged. Like other dream warnings, these dreams can be a signal for the dreamer to examine their life. Failing a test could also represent a fear of letting someone down or a fear that you are not meeting other’s standards. (source)

Test dreams could also suggest that you are feeling unprepared for a challenge. Although the subject of the test may have nothing to do with your life, the feelings felt while taking the test in the dream are often parallel to how you are feeling about a particular challenge or situation in your waking life.

One dream that is common to the past two to three generations in the United States is the recurring final exam dream. Dr. Judy Willis, a neurologist and classroom teacher, explains this in her blog, Radical Teaching, in a post titled Recurring Final Exam Dream. In this dream, you have to take a final exam for a class that you forgot you were taking and are completely unprepared for. Additionally, some dreamers also have the dilemma of not being able to find the exam room, having to go to the bathroom, or finding the exam room door closed when they arrive. Often people wake up without ever entering the room and seeing the exam, but knowing that the outcome was bad. Personally, I have only had this type of dream once (at least that I remember). Oddly enough, in the dream I believe I was taking a final for an LAIS class at Mines that I signed up for, but for some reason I never attended the class and I forgot that I was registered for it. I remember I didn’t know the location of the test and had to run up a spiral staircase trying to find the test room which was changed multiple times. Once I finally made it to the room, I had no idea how to solve any of the questions on the test, since I had never attended a single class.

These kinds of dreams usually don’t start until high school and may not start until college is completed. Dr. Willis also says that this type of dream is common to countries with educational systems that emphasize high stakes formal written tests that determine your future academic opportunities. She is curious if the U.S test pressure is influencing the frequency or age of this type of dream. She feels that test pressure is draining joy from learning and that this toxic impact of test pressure should be stopped. Maybe all classes at Mine’s should learn from this….(although doubtful).

Now just close your eyes and dream…


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