What Were Einstein’s Grades Actually Like? A Youtuber Found His Mark Sheets And They’re Not What You’d Expect
The truth about Einstein’s grades has been exaggerated to no end on the internet. Many ‘fun facts’ websites usually talk about how Einstein had terrible grades in school and use it as a ‘there’s hope for you too’ moment. However, that’s not true at all.
YouTuber Tibees actually acquired Einstein’s mark sheets from his school and university and breaks down his grades. Let’s just say they’re not what most people think they are.
The first thing she clears up is Einstein’s failed university entrance exam. When he was 16 he applied to the ETH University in Switzerland and failed the entrance exam. Many people use this as an ‘Einstein was terrible at studies’ moment, but it doesn’t work for two reasons. First of all, he actually did pretty well at the scientific section; it was the linguistic section that was his downfall. Secondly, the minimum age to even take the exam is 18, so Einstein was trying to apply early.
The German scientist then went to Argau Secondary School near Zurich. Looking at his report cards, he was a great student. He scored the highest marks in all the science/maths subjects; the only subject where he underperformed was French.
Here's something people conveniently don't mention though: Einstein actually went straight to ETH University without having to give entrance exams for the second time. His university grades show that he was a pretty good student there as well. Although he didn’t get full marks like in school, his grades were still pretty good.
The ‘Einstein failed physics’ myth must have stemmed from his fourth-semester grades where he got a 1 (out of 6) in his Physics Practical class. This is not because he wasn’t bright though, but because he was careless and barely showed up for practicals. He preferred not to waste time on classes he didn’t perceive as valuable to him.
The Youtuber also compares his grades to his classmates and we see that he was actually at the top of his class in university. It’s possible that this rumor of Einstein having bad grades started because he was often quoted saying things like these (hopefully he actually said this and it’s not a fake quote):
Hopefully, Tibees’ video has dispelled the myth that Einstein was a terrible student to some degree. However, despite having good grades, Einstein did struggle in university. He felt trapped and compelled to study subjects that did not interest him. And here we are, about a century later, facing the same problem. Well, what can you do, right?
Did you really think Einstein was terrible at academics? Or did you know this already? Tell us in the comments. Make sure to follow us at Yeti Yap if you enjoyed reading.