At a forum on education issues in New York City today, President Obama was asked whether he had ever failed a test in grade school, to which he replied, "Oh, yes."
"Absolutely," Obama said. "You know, I would say I was a mediocre student until I got to college. I goofed off way too much."
Obama first attended school in Indonesia in the early 1970s before he moved to Hawaii, where he attended the prestigious Punahou Academy through high school. He started college at Occidental College in Los Angeles and finished his undergraduate degree at Columbia University in New York City.
The president said today that his daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, were much better examples of model students. "They are so far ahead of me basically in all respects," he told the forum.
The girls recently began a new school year at the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. For Malia, it's the first year of high school.
"At least at the school they're at they're getting a lot more homework than I did when I was that age," Obama said. "They seem to be working deep into the night. You know, I didn't study that ardently till the night before an exam."
With the 2012 presidential race dominating headlines, President Obama acknowledged that daughter Malia is likely studying the rival campaigns as part of the ninth-grade civics curriculum.
"She's pretty dispassionate about it," he said of presidential politics. "She's able to kinda separate out Dad, who's at home, from the debates that are going on out there."
Obama said he encourages both of his girls to think for themselves and become responsible citizens.