10 History Myths You Probably Still Believe

3. Einstein’s grades


This might come as a disappointment to some boys and girls out there, but contrary to popular opinion Einstein never failed mathematics at school. Just the opposite, in fact: he had always been an exceptional student. Einstein was also aware of the rumor and commented on it once, saying, “I never failed in mathematics. Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus.”

What Einstein did fail was the entrance exam at the Federal Polytechnic Academy in Zurich. While he was excellent in science-related subjects, he completely failed the language part. And when he did enter the academy, on second try, Einstein didn’t bother to attend most of the lectures, earning the reputation of a lazy student. It’s said that the professors who had dealt with him were genuinely surprised at his later success.

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