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It's time to stop the rumor mill: Albert Einstein's grades show he was actually good at math in high school

By AYIE LICSI Published Oct 05, 2022 2:13 pm

Was one of the most brilliant physicists of modern history, Albert Einstein, bad at math when he was younger?

The Nobel Prize shared a photo of the future laureate's report card online from when he was 17 years old, attending Cantonal High School in Aarau, Switzerland in 1896.

The grades followed a scoring scheme of 6 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. Einstein excelled in mathematics and other related subjects, garnering a 6 in algebra, geometry, descriptive geometry, and physics. He also got the highest grade in history. 

Here's the rest of his grades:

German language and literature: 5
French language and literature: 3
English language and literature: —
Italian language and literature: 5
History: 6
Geography: 4
Algebra: 6
Geometry (planimetry, trigonometry, stereometry and analytical geometry): 6
Descriptive geometry: 6
Physics: 6
Chemistry: 5
Natural history: 5
In drawing: 4*
In technical drawing: 4*
*The performance over the course of the year is considered.

Previously, a grade of 6 was considered the lowest mark while 1 was the highest. The myth started because his school reversed its marking system, according to ABC Science

Answering news articles claiming he was bad at math, Einstein dismissed them as a myth and said, "Before I was 15 I had mastered differential and integral calculus."

The mind behind the theory of relativity would later earn a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.