Youngest ever undergraduates start new term

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A 12-YEAR-OLD boy and his sister aged 16 made academic history today when they arrived at university together for their first day on campus.

Iskander and Noraisha Yusof, who will both read maths at Warwick University, near Coventry, are the youngest ever brother and sister to become undergraduates.

But while their achievement may astound lecturers and students alike, it is considered nothing out of the ordinary at home. Their sister Sufiah, 14, is just beginning her second year at Oxford University and their four- year-old sister Zuleika is expected to sit her maths A-level by the age of six.

Accompanied by their father Farooq, Noraisha and Iskander met lecturers and tutors and said they were looking forward to joining the undergraduate ranks.

Noraisha, who hopes to go on to do research in mathematical biology, said she had chosen Warwick because it was one of the top-three centres for mathematics in the country.

"I don't think it is a problem coming to university this young," she said. "I have already done my A-levels, what else could I do?"

Noraisha gained grade As at A-level in Maths and Further Maths before she was 15, while her brother achieved an A in Maths when he was 10, and a B in Further Maths a year later.

Iskander also gained grade 1 in a special Step 2 paper set by the university, a more remarkable feat than his A-level achievement, according to course tutor Dr Mario Micalles.

The quieter of the two, he is the same age as Ruth Lawrence when she accepted a place at Oxford 14 years ago.

But he is unimpressed by his achievement.

"It doesn't really matter and it doesn't bother me. When I'm with my friends I talk about other things," he said.