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"I dreamed I had to take a test..." Laurie Anderson opens one of her song-monologues that way, and instantly we all identify--we know instinctively that she'll be unprepared, or the test will be all wrong, as sure as a fairytale follows the opening "Once upon a time..." Dreams of tests seem to be universal.

Yet my own list of them is short--and doesn't follow the formula. Maybe it's that anxiety dreams can be dull (unless they puff up into comedy or nightmare) and I wanted interesting dreams for the site! But I suspect it's more than my editorial bias--I really don't dream of tests often, any more than I dream of losing teeth, though everyone else seems to.

My fears were of other things, like bullying--being younger and smaller than my classmates, I was vulnerable. My nightmares still reflect that. I was a child prodigy, so tests didn't scare me much in waking life--even if I WAS unprepared, I could usually do fine by guessing. As a result (I guess!) my test dreams generally question the competence (or motives) of the testers, not the dreamer! Or, as in Jade's Experiment, they explore what's tested (and what constitutes cheating) when tester and testee have different assumptions.

RELATED TOPICS: school - initiations and ordeals - threats and bullying - outcasts and outsiders - violence - you're on your own, kid - nightmares - fear and anxiety - just for comparison, teeth - See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.

What this site is - Add your dreams! - How to read blurbs - Ratings - Copyright - Downloading - The World Dream Bank has 2300 dreams plus 1000 more pages on dreamwork, shamanism, surrealism, fantasy, worldbuilding, creativity and genius. Site © Chris Wayan 2001-2013.

BOND: by Wayan; 1981/10/31, a nightmare where I'm the nightmare.
I'm James Bond, fighting a plot by the fiendish Eight. But I'm captured and questioned. Of course I lie to the enemy: the senators of the Committee on Intelligence Activities. Till I see myself through their eyes...
BUMBREE SYNDROME: by Wayan; 1984/3/14, a comic dream about dreams.
Princess Chinchilla and I use an umbrella to escape the Wizard. Now to escape the Dream Researchers!...
CHIMP FINAL: by Wayan; 1984/5/19, a dream about failure.
I'm in school on a chimp scholarship and it's time for my final exam...
DEAD, NOT STUPID: by Wayan; 2000/1/20, a (psychic?)dreamtale.
My little sisters tell the detectives, "Daddy's ghost has a message for you" but they don't listen...
ELF CIRCLE; 2011/3/19 by Wayan; a complex advisory dream.
After trespassing in a staff-only part of Faerie, I'm cast out. Only I'm cast like a seed, meant to grow a new elf circle...
FALSE ALARM: by Wayan; 1996/5/23, a nightmare I lived as a kid.
In school, I'm seen as a freak--lied to, set up for little pranks. Not just by my classmates--my teachers...
THE FINAL TEST: by Wayan; 1994/11/11, a reassuring nightmare.
A Star Trek future. Our experimental ship is hijacked, with us aboard...
GERRYMANDERING DESIRE: by Wayan; 1994/1/20, a modest sexual orientation proposal
The two commonest sexual orientations have no names, or even concepts! Yet they're obvious, once...
THE GOLDEN PAW: by Wayan; 2009/4/12, a dream on speaking up
An Oxford teaching assistant sexually blackmails one of his law students, but to his shock she goes public...
HER FINAL EXAM: by Wayan; 2015/9/8, a dream of a goddess in hiding--and why
During our final exam, second sight tells me our dance teacher's really a Greek goddess in disguise. But she has her own final exam to face...
HYDROGEN INITIATION: by Wayan; 1981/1/6, a shamanic nightmare.
I'm an initiate in a Sung Dynasty monastery. But I have no idea how far the hazing can go...
ICEBERG WRANGLERS: by Wayan; 2015/8/4, an otherworldly dream-poem
Captain Ahab's students are better ice wranglers than I'll ever be--wrestling near-invisible bergs round to lucky postures...
JADE'S EXPERIMENT, or, CLEVER HANS: by Wayan; 1981/4/29, a dream diagnosing the costs of sensory differences
I volunteer for a friend's psychological test, for her thesis. But using my sixth sense corrupts her data! Might it corrupt my real life too?
JERRY BROWN'S LAW: by Wayan; 2011/4/8; a dream of a political joke. Isn't it a joke?
The State tests my art. I worry they'll stereotype me as another Crumb. So I tell an absurd lie about our governor. But the joke kinda makes sense...
MAGIC SCHOOL: by Wayan, 1982/1/26: a waking event and replying dream.
Phyllis Schlafly, killer of the Equal Rights Amendment, provokes a dream of being Captain Kirk trapped in a magic school with no way out but the graduate exam... Can I learn the lesson of the tree?
MASTER OF THE HOUSE OF DUSK: by Wayan; 1994/10/10, an initiatory dream.
To enter the House of Dusk, I must say what haunts the Pass. Even if I guess right, do I really understand?
ON THE NIGHT RIDE HOME: by Wayan; 1971/11/8, an early dream-poem on breaking through prejudices
As I bike home at night, strange doings--a rat is sacrificed; gemstones delivered; an astronaut shows glowing alien objects; a second rat becomes a... firefighter?
PARVATI SAWS THE WALL: by Wayan; 2013/6/26, a dream-poem about a kook
A martial-arts student won't fight the teacher she loves--not even for her final exam. Instead she gets a rotary saw and...
THE STAIRWELL TEST: by Wayan; 1980/9/7, a pedophilic defenestration dream.
An underage girl comes on to me, and then asks me to... throw her down a stairwell?!
THE STACK: by Emily Joy; 2006/11/28, two small synchronicities
ESP? Weird luck? Subliminal perception? Whatever it is, it kicked me right out of a bad day...
TEST: by Wayan; 1994. Dream-inspired digital poster/quiz.
I dreamed I had to take a bewildering test on who is allowed in the military. I flunked. So will you...
THE TOMBSTONE TEST: by Wayan; 1986/8/18, a deceptive dream.
I walk in a vast graveyard full of history's most famous people. But it's all fake, built to test your...
VAMPIRE TESTS: by Wayan; 2015/8/22, a lurid dream-response to a quiet day
Captain Kirk is testing vampire myths on a world where they don't bleed you dry. At the moment, three vamps are sitting in a tent in a sunny meadow, queasy but alive...
WEREDOGS AREN'T RACIST: by Wayan; 1974/3/31, a surreal sarcastic dream
I'm a girljock waiting to see a movie when a weredog in line involuntarily shifts from dog to human, and a Berkeley radical takes offense...
ZERO SUM: by Wayan; 1996/5/29, a game-theory dream.
I'm lecturing to a crowd: "Love's a win-win game, and abuse, lose-lose. But blame is zero-sum..."
ZILLIONAIRE'S TOWER: by Wayan; 2012/2/9, a financial climbing dream
My mild yuppie friend Lou climbs a bank tower to reach his rich mentor, and wins an internship. But as he swears his oath...

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