Media Studies is an engaging and interesting subject which requires students to develop their critical thinking, analytical skills and creativity. Students have to engage with four main concepts: Language, Audience, Institutions and Representation. It is taught by English teachers and many of the skills are transferable to GCSE English Language. The course lasts two years and we use the AQA syllabus.
There are two units:
Unit 1: Investigating the Media (worth 40%)
This is an external examination and is taken at the end of Year 11, with teaching for it from about February of Year 11. This requires the student to answer four equally-weighted questions based on a topic, which changes every year and is set by AQA.
In the past, topics have included ‘Reality TV,’ ‘Action Adventure Films’ and ‘Television Crime Drama.’ Future topics are as follows (all information correct and up to date):
2013: The Music Press
2014: Promotion and Marketing of Computer Games
2015: Television News
Unit 2: Understanding the Media (worth 60%)
This is the former ‘coursework’ element, known as ‘controlled assessments.’ There are three assignments taken from AQA assignment banks and decided by the teachers. The assignment topics may change from year-to-year, depending on what the Unit 1 exam topic is (as we cannot have an overlap of subject matter). Each assignment is gradually more difficult and worth more marks than the last. They are internally assessed and externally moderated and are done throughout Year 10 and to about February of Year 11.
- Assignment 1: Introduction to the Media. Topics have included Children’s comics, DVD packaging and CD covers.
- Assignment 2: Cross Media Study. Topics have included Promotion of Music and Film Promotion.
- Assignment 3: Practical Production and evaluation. Students undergo extensive research, create four pages of a magazine and write a 700-800 word evaluation.