A Level Media Studies (Reformed 2017)

What is Media?

This course is the process of turning you into a media practitioner and analyst-researcher. The subject is about change, and predicting the future. There is a need to keep on top of developments in media and consider the implications for today, and tomorrow. In real world terms, this study focuses on what media change means to business, institutions, societies, our psychologies and almost every aspect of the world as we know it, knew it, or would like it to be.

This course is about the contemporary media landscape, although ventures into the more recent past can illuminate what is happening now, and what may happen tomorrow.

The A level specification in Media Studies will not change until September 2017, meaning that this qualification remains one in which 50% of the examined work is undertaken through practical and research projects assessed within the college. The other half of the award is based on sitting formal, written exams. Preparation for these makes for challenging and rewarding work.

What sort of student does it suit and what will you get out of the course?

Enquiring, creative people with a strong interest in learning and applying new ideas are most suited to the study of the media. There is a good deal of reading to do, and that includes chapters in books that outline the ideas of key theorists. You will also need to 'read' a lot of media, which is to say that newspapers and radio need to become a part of your life, as 'traditional' media texts are mandatory to study in the new A level and you will write about them in exams. At the same time, there is still plenty of scope to analyse texts such as music videos and console games. Although Media Studies has become more academic, the value of practical work remains broadly the same, weighted at 30% of both the AS and A level.

AS Level

MPW approach to AS study

Unlike many schools, the media tutors at MPW are specialists that have either media or media related first degrees, plus experience of working in the industry and in creating media texts. There is now much more theory to learn, so classes will benefit from tutor academic backgrounds that create added value and security in delivery of this, as well as in developing your ability to apply it. Students will also commence writing a weekly blog about their own media use, and posts that analyse texts studies in and out of class.

AS Specification Number
AQA 7571

 

Paper 1 - 70%
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
112 marks
70% of AS

Media Industries and Audiences are covered in the first paper, that includes questions on Film, PSB, Radio, Magazines, Music Video. There are major questions on case study newspapers, and set text TV dramas that may include shows such as Humans and Game of Thrones.

Questions

• An unseen source.
• Multiple choice questions testing breadth of knowledge of the framework.
• Short answer questions testing in depth knowledge of the framework.
• An extended response question assessing the understanding of the issues relating to the theme of the non-exam assessment (NEA) and the theoretical framework.

Non-Exam assessment - 30%

60 marks
30% of AS
Assessed by teachers. Moderated by AQA.
Choice of briefs around media forms such as game shows, radio, magazines, web and music video.

Reading list

AuthorTitlePublisher
Peter Barry Beginning Theory MUP

A Level

MPW approach to A Level study

For the AS qualification, the emphasis is on how media texts and industries work. The A level course focuses on how and why texts are the way they are, glued to the historical, social, political and economic forces that have shaped them. Students will be expected to read texts developing their understanding of key media terms and concepts. They will also access and understand some of the ‘higher’ theory that is drawn from the wider academic field in which Media Studies exists. The contemporary and often topical nature of the subject means students will need also to read professional weeklies such as Media Guardian, Marketing, and Media Week. Students will prepare material and ideas for seminar presentation and group discussion on an almost weekly basis. This will be a useful taster of the University approach to study through independent reading and research.

A Level Specification
  

Paper 1 - 35%
Questions will focus on issues and debates in the media. A topic will be released in advance of the exam. Students will be expected to use any relevant elements of the theoretical framework in order to explore the ideas in the paper.

How it's assessed
Written exam: 2 hours
84 marks
35% of A Level

Questions
• An argument relating to the theme.
• Short answer questions relating to the theme.
• 2 x 15 mark questions testing in depth knowledge of two areas of the theoretical framework.
• 2 x 25 mark questions assessing in depth knowledge of the two remaining areas of the theoretical framework.

Paper 2 - 35%
Questions will focus on the analysis of media products, through the lens of the theoretical framework. Students will be expected to refer to the Close Study Products (CSPs) provided by AQA and other products they have studied. They will also be expected to demonstrate understanding of the contexts in which the products were created.

How it's assessed
Written exam: 2 hours
84 marks
35% of A Level

Questions
• Contrasting points of view relating to a particular CSP.
• Short answer questions assessing breadth and depth of knowledge of aspects of the theoretical framework in relation to particular media products.
• 2x30 mark questions assessing depth of knowledge of the theoretical framework and/or contexts in relation to media products.

Non-Exam Assessment: Creating a media product- 30%
Application of knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework.
Practical skills relating to the media format of their choice.

How it's assessed
A choice of topics related to the over-arching (annually changing) theme
72 marks
30% of A Level
Assessed by teachers. Moderated by AQA.

Tasks
Students produce:
• A statement of intent.
• Cross-media products made for an intended audience.

Reading list

AuthorTitlePublisher
Peter Barry Beginning Theory MUP

Please note – At the time of writing, AQA are still waiting for final accreditation of this specification. As such, the structure of the course may ultimately vary from what is printed here.



Jonathon

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
Exeter University (Business Management)

I chose MPW because of the academic support provided by the college, which was instrumental in helping me throughout the challenging nature of my one-year A level courses. The weekly Timed Assignments and assistance provided by the Personal Tutor system helped me in areas I had previously struggled. Playing for the college football team was a great release from the challenging academic nature of the year and it helped me build friendships with other students in the college.

Shivali

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Leeds University (Dentistry)

The best part about studying at MPW is the friendly, encouraging and supportive classroom environment that MPW provides.  It makes asking for help and reaching your potential easy and enjoyable. The college really helps students to believe in themselves.  The Personal Tutor system is great because it is available for you to use to whatever extent you might need whether that be having weekly meetings or meeting every now and then for a quick catch up to analyse my current progress.  The weekly Timed Assignments have also enabled me to build my confidence in the build up to my exams.  They help you to feel comfortable in an exam environment, as well as enable you to consolidate the material you need to recall in the final exams

Annabel

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AB

Progressed to
Exeter University (International Relations and History)

“Having not achieved the grades I wanted or needed in my A levels at my previous college I decided that retaking would be the best option for me.  I have found the small classes at MPW to be a real asset, and that, coupled with the fantastic teaching, has certainly enabled me to grow academically. Further to this, both the academic support and the university guidance provided by the college have been exceptional.”

Renee

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A

Progressed to
Manchester University (Dentistry)

After failing to get into Dental School last year I lost a lot of confidence and was worried that I might never get into my dream course.  The one-to-one support you get from MPW is so much more efficient compared to the main stream schools and colleges. The individual help you get for applying to University which includes interview support is amazing. No matter if you are a resit or a first time student, no one judges you and as long as you are hardworking and want to be a success.

Jake

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*A

Progressed to
Oxford University (Mathematics)

I joined MPW because I wanted to be part of a close knit community that focuses on helping students attain the grades they are really capable of.  Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor who assists them in all aspects of student life.  I would recommend the individual and personally tailored care given to any student looking to expand their academic horizons.  The encouragement and support has allowed me to aim high and achieve results that I had previously thought weren't possible. 

Cordelia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
King’s College London (Dentistry)

MPW gave me a second chance in pursuing a career in dentistry. The small class sizes and weekly timed assessments gave me and my tutors a clear indication of my progress.  The rigorous teaching schedules, structured and tailored to my personal needs, was exactly what I needed. MPW placed heavy focus on exam technique as the key to achieving the required higher grades. Being able to talk with my tutors at any time in the day was an invaluable aid. It was also clear how much the teachers took a personal interest in the development of each individual student.

Josephine

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of Warwick (Management)

I joined MPW having not fulfilled my academic potential during my AS level exams at my previous school. I decided to retake my AS year at MPW and it was the best decision I ever made. The tutors at MPW have pushed me to achieve my maximum potential and have greatly improved my academic performance. The best part of studying at MPW is the weekly timed assignments as they ensure that you continuously review and revise work as well as helping you to make weekly improvements on exam technique.

Olivia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
Bristol University (Dentistry)

Throughout my time at MPW I have been provided with constant support.  The college has prepared me for not only my exams but also the university interviews I attended.  It has been an amazing experience from start to finish.  The friendly and welcoming environment created by the staff and students made it an ideal setting for me to concentrate on achieving my targets.

Alex

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
University of Birmingham (Law)

I came to MPW with very low self-confidence after under-achieving at AS level at my previous school, and have left with greater confidence about my academic ability and with a definite degree of clarity about what I hope to achieve in terms of my career. My experience at my previous school was that those with Oxbridge potential receive the most support and attention. This is not the case at MPW. I have found that it does not matter about that what the student's potential may be, each student receives the same amount of help to achieve their goals.