What is it about at sixth-form level?
Media Studies A Level provides you with a broad understanding of many different aspects of the media that you encounter daily. You are given the opportunity to explore and analyse the different ways in which the media shape your perceptions of the world.
This course enables you to develop an informed understanding of how the media creates meanings through its selection of specific codes and representations. You will also explore the interaction between media institutions and their audiences, and the different social and cultural possibilities of these interactions. The course also provides you with the opportunity to develop your media production skills through the creation of a foundation portfolio and advanced portfolio in year one and year two of the course respectively.
Why study it and what skills does it develop?
The media is the most dynamic, innovative, and influential method of mass communication of modern times. It is vital that you can evaluate competing sources of information and communicate effectively within a fast-changing digital environment; and A Level Media Studies provides you with these skills. The course encourages you to gain a deeper insight into how the media works; develop critical knowledge of media texts, audiences, and digital culture; and understand the complex political economy and technology which underpin them.
As an interdisciplinary subject you develop many transferable skills relevant to further education, the workplace, and life in general. These include critical skills of analysis; creative powers of expression; and an ability to articulate your thoughts on paper and visualise your ideas on screen and/or in print. This course supports practical career paths such as tv production, photography, and video game design. It also provides a good foundation for more theoretical and analytical pathways such as cultural studies, journalism, education, and humanities-based subjects at degree level.
What prior knowledge and skills are required?
A good grade in GCSE English (or equivalent) is essential to meet the comprehension, analytical and writing demands of the course.
How is the course assessed?
There are 4 assessment components on this course. Component 1: Foundation Portfolio. This is a coursework component. It is worth 50 marks and is 25% of the A Level qualification. Component 2: Media texts and contexts. This is a 2-hour exam which has 2 sections. Section A: Media texts is worth 25 marks and requires you to analyse an unseen extract from a TV drama to establish how meaning is created. Section B: Media Contexts is worth 25 marks and requires you to answer one question exploring either audiences or institutions. Overall, the exam is worth 50 marks and is 25% of the A Level qualification. Component 3: Advanced Portfolio. This is a coursework component. It is worth 50 marks and is 25% of the A Level qualification. Component 4: Critical Perspectives. This is a 2-hour exam which has 2 sections. Section A: Media debates is worth 30 marks and requires you to answer two questions
from a choice of three on media regulation, postmodern media, and power and the media. Section B: Media ecology is worth 30 marks and requires you to synthesise your knowledge and understanding of the key media concepts studied throughout the course. You are expected to explore at least two contemporary media forms to explore evolving media environments. Overall, the exam is worth 60 marks and is 25% of the A Level qualification.
Core Texts and Suggested Reading
To be confirmed at the start of the course
A level Media Studies: The Essential Introduction
By P Bennett, S Casey Benyahia, J Slater
Published by Routledge, ISBN 978-1138285897
Additional articles on specific case studies and videos on technical codes will be recommended to students throughout the two-year course to enhance their knowledge and understanding.
Exam Board and Specification Codes
CIE A level Media Studies 9607
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