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This gives students a comprehensive and integrated coverage of media theory and practice with a particular focus on new technologies. The course covers audiences as both producers and consumers of media texts. Students have the opportunity for media production both in AS and A2 and students will be able to investigate what interests them. There is a choice of cross-media studies with an emphasis on contemporary issues and debates. There is a rolling programme of production briefs and pre-set topics.

Course Content

Year 12 Course Content (AS Level where applicable pre-reform)

AS:  Students complete two units of work which provide an integrated and complementary introduction to the study of the media and the contemporary media landscape. The content of both units is underpinned by a set of key media concepts and media platforms for example:

Media Concepts

–  Media Forms
–  Media Representations
–  Media Institutions
–  Media Audiences

Media Platforms

–  Broadcasting
–  Digital/Web-Based Media (e-media)
–  Print

Unit 1 requires candidates to carry out a cross-media study for an unseen examination. The study will then also be used to inform their work on Unit 2. For Unit 2 candidates will produce two media productions in two of the three different media platforms, with an evaluation of the productions, including a consideration of the use of the third media platform. Both units require candidates to look at cross-cultural issues where appropriate.

Year 13 Course Content (A Level where applicable pre-reform)

A2: Candidates will build on their AS work to look more fully at the contexts of media production and consumption. As well as building on the concepts studied at AS, candidates will look at some of the following debates and theories as appropriate:

Media Debates

–  Representation
–  Media Effects
–  Reality TV
–  News Values
–  Moral Panics
–  Post 9/11 and the Media
–  Ownership and Control
–  Regulation and Censorship
–  Media Technology and the Digital Revolution – changing technologies in the 21st century

Media Theories Media Analysis e.g.:

–  Semiotics
– Structuralism and Post-Structuralism
–  Postmodernism and its Critiques

Politics and the Media e.g.:

–  Gender and Ethnicity
–  Marxism and Hegemony
–  Liberal Pluralism
–  Colonialism and Post-Colonialism

Consumption and Production e.g.:

–  Audience Theories
–  Genre Theories

For Unit 3 candidates will be required to study two pre-set media topics on at least one of the three media studies platforms. For Unit 4 candidates will produce a media product linked to their research for an individual critical investigation. In both A2 units candidates should look at cross-cultural factors and the effects of globalisation on the media where appropriate.

Entry Requirements

Five GCSEs at grade A*-C including English and Maths. You will also need a good visual sense and/or ability with words.


Unit 1 – MEST1

Investigating Media

50% of AS, 25% of A2

2 hour written examination

Two sections:    A – four compulsory short answer questions

                              B –  choice of one from two essays

Unit 2 – MEST2

Creating Media

50% of AS, 25% of A2

Practical Unit, internally assessed and externally moderated

Two linked production pieces taken from two of the three media platforms studied in Unit 1 plus 1500 word evaluation

Unit 3 – MEST3

Media: Critical Perspectives

25% of A2

2 hour written examination

Two sections:    A – three compulsory questions on unseen stimulus pieces

                             B – one essay from a choice of two topics

Unit 4 – MEST4

Media: Research and Production

25% of A2

Practical Unit, internally assessed and externally moderated

Two sections:    Critical Investigation

                          Linked production piece

Financial Information

The Academy will not charge for books, materials, equipment and instruction in connection with the National Curriculum or Statutory Religious Education taught at school, except where parents have indicated in advance their wish to purchase the product.

Exam Charging Policy:

–  Students with less than 85% attendance may, under the discretion of the Sixth Form Office, be asked to pay for their exam entry.

–  Exam resits that are made at the request of the post 16 students will be charged at full price.

–  When it is not possible to obtain a refund, full price will be charged to students for:

    –  the Summer Exam entry, if they withdraw from the subject after 20 April.
    –  non-attendance at an exam without good reason.

– BTEC students, who leave the Academy prior to the conclusion of the course, will be charged £50.


Future Opportunities

This A Level course prepares students for progression on to higher education courses in media studies, cultural studies, film studies, communication studies, media production, television studies, literature etc. in a range of media-related areas. This course can provide career opportunities in journalism, advertising, marketing and public relations for example.

Further Information

This course will help you develop three relationships with the media. As a ‘consumer you’ll become more aware of the many ways in which media messages are presented to us, as well as discovering how the institutions which produce and distribute media products are trying to reach you. And if you want a career in media, producing and evaluating your own media productions will give you a real hands-on understanding of both how media messages are created and what they are aiming to do.