What is it about at sixth-form level?
The media play a central role in contemporary culture, society and politics. They shape our perceptions of the world through the representations, ideas and points of view they offer. The globalised nature of the contemporary media, continual technological developments, and more opportunities to interact with the media suggest their centrality in contemporary life can only increase. A level Media Studies offers us the opportunity to develop an informed understanding of these key issues and to engage with the media critically and creatively.
Through the key concepts of Language, Representation, Industry and Audience, Media Studies analyses how media products create meaning, the interaction between media institutions and their audiences, and the different social and cultural possibilities of this interaction. You will look at all aspects of their design from their audio-visual presentation to the rhetorical devices and connotations of the language they use. You will examine a wide range of material, ranging from music videos and print advertisements to video games and internet content. Media Studies will develop your creative and critical abilities, and advance your understanding of the power of the creative industries.
Why study it and what skills does it develop?
An A level in Media Studies provides a good foundation for further study in the humanities, marketing and communications. It will develop your analytical skills and develop your ability to express complex ideas in a clear argument. It combines well with other subjects requiring verbal and visual analysis, such as English Literature, History of Art, and Film Studies. The creative coursework element means it makes a good partner for Art, Photography and Graphic Design. The coursework will also develop photographic and editing skills.
What prior knowledge and skills are required?
You will need a good level of English, preferably including English Language GCSE, because of the comprehension demands and the written nature of the assessments.
How is the course assessed?
The A level course is assessed by two component examinations and two pieces of coursework. There is one examination for component 2: Media texts and contexts accounting for 50 marks and one examination for component 4: Critical Perspectives accounting for 60 marks. Each of these examinations is 2 hours long. Each of the four components is worth 25% of the overall A level. The Foundation and Advanced Portfolios therefore account for 50% of the overall A level. Coursework will be internally assessed and externally moderated.
Core Texts and Suggested Reading
To be confirmed at the start of the course
The Media Student’s Book (5th Edition)
By G. Branston and R. Stafford
Published by Routledge, ISBN 978-0415558426
A level Media Studies: The Essential Introduction
By P Bennett, S Casey Benyahia, J Slater
Published by Routledge, ISBN 978-1138285897
Exam Board and Specification Codes
CIE A level Media Studies 9607
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