Media Studies

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Exam Board: WJEC

Students do not need to have studied GCSE Media Studies to take the subject at A Level, although it provides them with a good foundation of skills, which they can develop. The A Level course extends students’ skills of analysis, expecting them to demonstrate their knowledge through the rigour of formal academic essays. It also allows them to use their creative skills designing and creating their own texts.

Course Content

The A Level Media Studies course includes two exam modules, one on ‘Investigating Media Language Representation in the Media’ worth 30% and one on ‘Investigating Media Forms and Products’ worth 40%, and one coursework module in which you have the opportunity to create your own Media production piece worth 30%.  The Year 13 course asks students to consider the same Media products introduced at Year 12 level in more depth, with greater emphasis on how theories and contextual factors can be evaluated to help our understanding of the products. The coursework element requires students to have some creative flair and a strong understanding of computer skills and software.


The exam modules are split into 2 sections. Component 1 is aimed to provide students with a framework for analysing the media and requires them to explore representations and audience/user responses. We explore genre, narrative, representation and audience reactions through a range of media texts, ranging from advertising, television, film marketing, music videos,  video games, magazines, newspapers.

Component 2 asks students to study in depth six case studies set by the exam board based on the industries of television, magazines and media in the online age. Within these they look in depth at analysing the texts within their social, cultural and historical contexts, their representations and audience responses and also investigating the industry context of production, marketing and regulation in relation to webpages and social influencers across multiple online platforms .

Students will need to do an in-depth comparison of products by looking at the difference between historical and contemporary texts within the same industry, as well as comparing English with non-English speaking texts (subtitled) to account for the fact we live in an increasingly global age. For example, students explore a 1965 edition of Vogue compared to a modern edition of The Big Issue. This allows students to consider context but also the difference between mainstream and independent publishers. Students will also get to explore how the TV Crime Drama genre has evolved by comparing Life on Mars to the Swedish-Danish The Bridge.

For the NEA component,  Student will also get the chance to explore the media in a more creative way by producing a cross-media production piece in which they create 4 pages of a printed magazine, as well as a radio programme, to explain key features of their chosen magazine based on a brief set by the exam board. The exam board will stipulate the genre and target audience, but the rest is up to the students. Here, students can use their analysis and own research to inform their planning of their production piece and it gives them a strong sense of agency of the non-examination part of the course. Student get to choose a sub-genre of interest to them and use images, layout and design and written articles to represent an issue that is meaningful to them: this could be body image, gender roles, aspirational lifestyles in the beauty or health industries; some may have more of a niche interests in sports, music or travel. The students who score most highly in this element of the course tend to challenge or subvert the stereotypical conventions and instead move their representations forward in a new and innovative manner.

Enrichment Opportunities

Enrichment activities are frequently based around individual tuition on computer packages like Photoshop and InDesign to push students to create excellent coursework production pieces. Students will also have the opportunity to help contribute journalistic articles and reviews to the school’s termly magazine @Oakwood. We also plan to take students on trips when relevant topics come up, these can include BFI Study Days, BBC Young Reporter competition and Newsday, talks from experts in the industry invited into school, IntoFilm Festival, and a tour/ practical in newsrooms notably the English and Media trip to The Guardian


Students are internally assessed with formal essay assessments at least twice every half a term.


Coursework assessment occurs internally and is rigorously moderated to ensure students are marked according to examination criteria.

This is a 2-year linear course so in Year 13 students will also have external examinations which require essay based responses to both stimulus materials shown in the exam and material learnt over the duration of the course.