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Exam Dreams (and Nightmares)

Student sleeping on notebook

Exams may be over, but the trauma can continue for months and even years afterwards in the form of exam dreams...Your alarm goes off – it’s the day of your all important Torts exam. But wait, your alarm was set to the wrong time and the exam starts in 10 minutes! And it isn’t Torts, it’s Contracts! Disaster!

Alongside being chased, losing your teeth, falling, missing a train/bus/plane, and being naked in a public place, exams are one of the most common dream types; studies have found that between 20 and 50 percent of people are estimated to have experienced them.

We tend to experience exam dreams when we are stressed, feeling underprepared or worrying about being judged or failing.

But these aren’t dreams about regular, boring exams. No, these are exam scenarios that would put Murphy’s Law to shame. Getting lost on the way to the exam hall, running late for or missing the test, or having to do an exam on something you’ve never studied before are all pretty standard scenarios. Every single little thing seems to go wrong, and for some reason the exam in your dream has so much more riding on it than any exam would in real life.

In one dream I was back in year twelve and found out I had to sit a German exam that day. To add to the stress, I’ve never studied German and was running late for the test. On top of that, it was a Billy Madison-esque scenario where failing the test would mean that I’d have to start my law degree again. (The horror!)

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