A LEVEL MEDIA STUDIES
Media Studies is the kind of course in which students are very actively involved and, as a consequence, confidence and expertise can increase quite sharply. Practical work forms part of the course and students are given the opportunity to create their own piece of media using video cameras, digital editing software, stills cameras and page design. We look at both traditional and new media and consider many of the big changes that have occurred in the media world and their impact on our lives. The media today is frequently described by theorists as being ‘24/7’ – in the postmodern world we now live in we quite simply can’t escape it. Studying and learning about the media, therefore, is becoming ever more important and ever more relevant. Careers in this field are expanding rapidly and it’s an exciting and vibrant area to be involved in.
What will you be learning?
Media A Level is a 2 year linear course and therefore all of the assessment is completed at the end of Year 13. This involves two examinations and one piece of practical coursework. Of course, opportunities will be given during Year 12 to learn and build on practical skills as well as studying areas and topics in the media of interest and relevance to the exams. Think of it as your building blocks to success.
Everything in Media Studies A Level falls into four main areas of study – language, representation, audience and industry so this means that whatever you’re learning about will be able to be related to one of these four concepts in some way. Language isn’t just words on a page, it’s how a media product looks and the codes and conventions that have been embedded into it to create the producer’s desired effect. Representation is something that we all have to deal with every day – its stereotypes; how groups, individuals and communities are shown in the media and the way this affects us in society. It’s no coincidence, for example, that the ‘hoodie’ has now become a visual symbol of everything that’s wrong with youth today. This stereotype has been created by the media – that’s what we look at. Industry is everything behind the scenes, from making money to the rules and regulations that media producers have to abide by. And, finally, we have audience. This is exactly what it sounds like – the people that consume the media. So, who consumes what forms and types of media products and why do they do this? What pleasures are gleaned from different media forms and how does the media affect us?
In a nutshell, A Level Media Studies will allow you to develop and apply your understanding of the media through both analysing and producing media products. You’ll make connections between different products and techniques and will develop the necessary analytical skills to allow you to question and critically explore aspects of the media that may initially seem straightforward and familiar. You’ll look at different periods of history to consider major media changes, you’ll consider media in its widest, global sense and you’ll also consider products that are outside of the commercial mainstream. Cross-media products are at the heart of the media today and therefore these will be central to what you study, alongside the importance of online and social media platforms. This, of course, will also influence and inform your coursework choices. There are several coursework options to choose from (options are set by the exam board and change every year), allowing for a real sense of creativity and freedom to explore current products and ways to develop that all important ‘unique selling point’ in an already saturated market.
The course allows you a real sense of ownership, develops your independent study skills, encourages research and analysis and allows you to pursue your own media interests within a theoretical framework, whilst also developing your practical skills. It is not a practical course, however; like all a Level subjects, this course is mainly assessed through examinations that test skills of analysis and understanding. Results year on year are excellent and A level Media Studies at Hornsea School is always one of the top performing subjects in the sixth form.
70% Examination – 2 examinations will be sat at the end of Y13 that will incorporate both set products and unseen texts. These will require analytical skills, media language and conceptual and theoretical understanding.
30% Coursework – a multi-media production selected from a series of briefs set by the examination board which change annually. At least two different forms of media must be included in the coursework.
A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 4 and above, including English and Maths. If the subject has been studied previously then a minimum of grade 6 in Media GCSE is required. If it has not been previously studied, English Language and Literature, both at a minimum of grade 5 is essential for A level study.