Miseducation: Einstein’s Academic Failure

Albert Einstein, age 14

Albert Einstein, age 14

‘Miseducation’ is a series intended to correct falsities that are often mistaken for common knowledge. Tips provided are discouraged from being raised to maliciously correct teachers. Furthermore, OPT does not condone acts of know-it-allism.

Even as a generation’s greatest thinker, Albert Einstein was bound to have his detractors. According to a widespread rumor, a young Einstein, as a result of early and rapid mental development, was unable to concentrate through primary school mathematics and failed a class. On the contrary, Einstein’s effortless grasp of the material proved beneficial in the classroom, where he consistently exceeded school standards.

Einstein’s parents attributed partial credit to the inclusion of forthcoming textbooks on young Albert’s summer breaks from school. Undoubtedly, Einstein’s brilliance can’t be boiled down to study tips, but his rampant success should be enough to make one think twice before frittering away the entirety of a valuable summer vacation. It may be too early in academia to master differential calculus over the break like a teenage Albert, but summer will certainly present opportunities to get a jump on next term – Einstein style.

The misconception of Einstein’s failure is derived from misinterpreted school records, reminding us that data is meant to be double-checked. Ultimately, even the mightiest mind can miss the mark sometimes. Einstein’s acceptance to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School came upon his second application. His insufficient first application was attempted when he was two years younger than a typical applicant, so he was still admitted a year earlier than most. While young Einstein subdued the math and science sections on his first try, performance on non-science sections was lacking, French proving particularly difficult. Thus, Einstein demonstrates the delicate balance of studying multiple subjects and the importance of well-roundedness.

While it may be hard for the laymen to wrap their minds around his theory of relativity, Einstein’s determination offers plenty of practical lessons for any academic.

Making the Grade – 20 Things You Need to Know About Einstein – Time

Einstein Failed School – Dr. Karl’s Great Moments in Science – Australian Broadcasting Commission

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