In Western cultures, this motif often emerges in dreams in which we find ourselves taking an examination for which we are completely unprepared. For example, college students often have anxiety dreams around the end of the term that involve examinations they have not studied adequately for; this occurs regardless of whether or not the student has actually studied enough.
The unpreparedness motif can also emerge in other ways, such as when we dream about standing before a crowd on a stage or at a public forum, then realize that we have forgotten what we were going to say, or discovering we were never prepared to say anything in the first place.
A dream about being unprepared to take a test or give a speech might reflect anxieties about anything from how we will do on an upcoming job interview to whether we will succeed in a new marriage.
The core anxiety concerns doubts about our adequacy.... Dream Symbols in The Dream Encyclopedia