I am studying for my British A-levels. I have a flair for mathematics and physics and I would like to pursue a career in electronic engineering in the UK. I would also like to study mathematics after earning an engineering degree. Is this a good idea? Is there another way of acquiring an engineering and maths degree?
Udara Perera, via email 

There are colleges in the UK that offer options in joint honours degrees. University of Exeter has an excellent Bachelor of Science in mathematics and engineering, which combines mathematics and engineering modules.

With the help of a college counsellor you could explore a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering with a second major in applied maths or a Bachelor of Arts in applied mathematics with a second major in electrical engineering.

Engineering mathematics is another degree worth exploring with your combined interests. It is the application of mathematics and computing it to problems of engineering. There is a shortage of people with these skills. 

My daughter is studying in class seven (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education syllabus) in Kerala. Her ambition is to become an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. She is excellent in her studies. Please advise.
RPP, Ras Al Khaimah 

IAS examinations are a part of the Civil Service Examinations in India and are highly competitive. The IAS exam has two parts - part one comprises general studies, general knowledge and a subject of the candidate's choice. Part two assesses the intellectual and other traits of the candidates followed by an interview. Only Indian nationals above the age of 21 and under 30 years can apply for the IAS. Candidates need to have graduated or be in their final year to take the exam. There are special schools that coach students for these exams.

Having said that, I feel there is no hurry and I would let her enjoy her years in school and college. If she is still interested in the civil services, she should start preparing for it after college.

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Sanjeev Verma began his career with Ernst & Young and now heads Intelligent Partners, an education consultancy with offices in the Gulf. The firm specialises in teacher recruitment, college counselling and psychometric tests. You can ask him a question by emailing