A Few Questions about Mass Effect

So I own the Mass Effect trilogy for PS3 in which I've completed it once as a Soldier on Normal difficulty. Currently I am on my second playthrough On Hardcore (almost completed the first game) as a Sentinel (loving that class by the way). For my first question, is it possible to reach level 60, or at least level 50 in one playthrough of the first game? If not then I know you can take a character and repeat the story with your same gear and what not.

That leads me to my second question. When you start the game over with a character that has already finished the campaign, what exactly do you keep? Is it just your levels and gear? Or do your Renegade/Paragon points come back as well? Also, Do you have to play as the same class with the same basic info you selected (ie being Ruthless or a Warhero, and where you were born)?

After this playthrough of all three games on Hardcore I want to do a third playthrough on Insanity. I plan on going the Paragon route for this playthrough. So for my final question, which class is the best one for Insanity? I was considering doing soldier again because of their incredible survivability and being a simple run and gun type of gameplay.

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