What is it about at sixth form level?
We are immersed in the products of the mass media on a daily basis. Figures vary wildly, but it is estimated that the average individual is exposed to at least a good few hundred advertisements a day. The best of them – or worst, depending on your point of view – can stay with us for years. Just as it is necessary today to have numeracy and literacy skills, it is increasingly important to have the critical abilities to engage with the media so that we are able to understand the designs it has on us and so that we are able to avoid being naïvely manipulated.
By studying Media Studies A level, you will develop the knowledge and skills needed to analyse the products of the media. 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. Films are only studied in the context of marketing and production, to avoid overlap with the sister subject, Film Studies.
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. It will develop your analytical skills and develop your ability to express complex ideas in a clear written form. It combines well with other subjects requiring verbal and visual analysis, such as English Literature and History of Art, though the creative coursework element means it makes a good partner for Art, Photography and Graphic Design too. The coursework will develop some photographic skills and the use of Adobe Photoshop.
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?
There are two exams along with a coursework component. The Component 1 exam, “Media
Products, Industries and Audiences” assesses media language, representation, media industries, audiences and media contexts. It is worth 35% of the A level and lasts 2 hours. The Component 2 exam, “Media Forms and Products in Depth”, consists of three questions. It assesses language, representation, media industries and audiences and the forms to be studied in depth are television, magazines and blogs/websites (using examples set by the board). It is worth 35% of the A level and lasts 2 hours 30 minutes. Component 3, “Cross-Media Production”, involves coursework and is internally assessed. Candidates produce individual work following one of the briefs set by the exam board, relating to the production of print and online marketing materials for film. It is worth 30% of the A level.
Advanced Level Media
By A. Bell, M. Joyce, D. Rivers
Published by Hodder Education
The Media Student’s Book (5th Edition)
By G. Branston, R. Stafford
Published by Routledge, ISBN: 978-0415558426
The Media in Britain
By J. Stokes, A. Reading
Published by Macmillan, ISBN: 978-0333730638
Exploring the Media: Text, Industry, Audience
By B. Connell
Published by Auteur, ISBN 978-1906733476
Exam Board and Specification Codes
A level: WJEC A680AL
Head of Department
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