Wednesday, June 29, 2016

University of West London - trip briefing sheet

Our radio workshop at the University of West London is on Wednesday 29 June at 10am.

Full details of the meeting place can be found on our trip briefing sheet here.

Remember, we need a reply slip from a parent/guardian in order to allow you on the trip.

See you there!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Welcome to Year 13

Well done on completing a tough and fast-paced Year 12 in Media Studies! The MEST1 exam seemed to go well and we're confident there will be a lot of happy people on results day in August.

The next five weeks will contain critical preparation for Year 13. A2 Media Studies is a significant step up as well as being a far more academic course. We have a huge amount to get through and it is absolutely essential you attend every lesson this half-term to ensure you are ready for the demands of Year 13 in September.

If you don't attend lessons this half-term, we will assume you do not plan to continue Media in Year 13.

The first thing you need to do is move over to our Year 13 blog. You'll be creating TWO new blogs (one for exam, one for coursework) in the next week and we'll be putting up work on the Year 13 blog from now on.

The Year 13 blog is here - let's get started!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Year 12 Media lessons 19-27 May

There will be no A Level Media lessons in the week before half-term.

This follows the final AS Media exam on Thursday 19 May and applies between 19-27 May. Instead, we want you to start reading and researching the key exam topic for Year 13: new and digital media. Consider the following questions:

  • How has new technology changed different aspects of the media? (E.g. news, television, film etc.)
  • Have any major media industries or institutions suffered or gone out of business as a result of digital media?
  • Has new technology or digital media influenced other aspects of society - politics, education, community relations, protest movements, globalisation?
  • Has social media changed the way people behave and interact with the world?
  • Has technology allowed people to explore or promote their own individual identity - particularly minority groups?

We will be exploring some of these issues after half-term as we begin Year 13 - which includes starting Year 13 coursework.

As a prospective Year 13 student, it is absolutely essential you are reading and engaging with the wider media using resources such as Media Guardian or the links on our blog Twitter account.

Attendance at ALL lessons after half-term is compulsory and required in order to study Media in Year 13 from September. These lessons will continue until the final day for Year 12 on Friday 8 July.

An electronic copy of the letter we have distributed for parents/guardians regarding these lessons can be found here.

Good luck in MEST1!

Good luck to all our students taking the MEST1 exam on Thursday 19 May.

You've done a phenomenal amount of work this year and should go into the exam confident you will match your excellent coursework grades.

Remember: answer the question, be original, bring in media debates and theories and don't be afraid to be controversial or explore the other side of the argument.

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

UNIT 1 Exam Revision

Here is your complete checklist to prepare you for the UNIT 1 exam that takes place on Thursday 19th May at 9:00am.

Firstly, make sure you use the 6 Part Active Revision Cycle whenever revising:

This is the most productive approach:
  1. STEP 1 Read your notes/text book/online resources carefully
  2. STEP 2 Reduce/summarise the information (e.g. draw a mind map, write key words on A5 card, write a table, draw a diagram)
  3. STEP 3 Learn/memorise the reduced information - using rhymes, acronyms, etc.
  4. STEP 4 Do an exam question under timed conditions
  5. STEP 5 Review what you have done
  6. STEP 6 Traffic light topics (red - don't know it; amber - know it a bit; green - know it well)
A. MediaMagazine

Spend as much time as possible reading and actively making revision notes (mindmaps etc.) using the MediaMagazine (login details: greenford/greenfordmm). 

This is a great resource - up to date information, written by A Level media examiners, with all the key terminology and theory in bold in every article:
...or download any of the past issues (without a password) as a PDF from our:

B. UNIT 1 Exam Papers (Section A)

Practice Section A questions, under exam conditions:
Typical questions (fifteen minutes per question)...
  • Media Forms: What (media language/narrative) techniques does the extract use to establish the text’s genre and/or engage the audience?
  • Media Representations: How is gender/ethnicity/age/disability/sexuality/a place represented in the extract?
  • Media Institutions: In what ways is the extract typical of the film/advertising/television industry? What (institutional/brand) values does it promote?
  • Media Audiences: Who does this text/brand appeal to? Why?
Typical texts (it WILL be moving image in the May 2015 exam)...
  • TV programme extracts (drama/soap, news, game show, documentary, etc.)
  • Adverts
  • Film extracts/ trailers (variety of genres)
  • Music videos
  • Video game extracts/trailers
C. MEST1 Past Questions (Section B)

Firstly, revise your case studies fully - 'Ill Manors' and your British film. Go back over your own Independent Case Study you produced. Use all your notes on your blogs, checking your 'Ill Manors' index carefully and 'A Field In England'.

Remember, you must revise examples across all THREE platforms - broadcast, e-media, print.

These are the key questions you should be able to answer:

How are texts in the three platforms constructed?
• Are there similarities and differences in the way the area is dealt with in each platform?
• What type of media language is used and how?
• How are genre codes used?
• How do texts within the three platforms construct narrative?

How do audiences access texts across the three platforms?

• Do the texts enable different types of audience activity and/or interaction?
• Are audiences able to play a role in the construction of media texts? (UGC)
• Are there differences in the audience gratifications offered across the three platforms?

How are representations constructed and are there similarities and/or differences across the platforms?
• What values and ideologies are communicated within the representation?

What institutional issues are raised by the topic areas?
• How are institutions reacting to change in technology?
• How are institutions attempting to reach and engage their audiences?
• What economic issues are behind the construction and distribution of contemporary media texts? 

Then, make sure you complete detailed essay plans on ALL of the past questions, and then practice as many as you can under timed conditions (45 minutes/question):

January 2009
1.To what extent do the media products in your case study do more than just entertain their audience(s)?

In your answer you should:
● Provide a brief outline of your case study
● Consider how far the media products in your case study also inform, educate and
provide opportunities for interaction and participation
● Support your answer with reference to examples from three media platforms.

2.Consider the reasons media products from your case study are present across a range of media platforms.

In your answer you should:
● Provide a brief outline of your case study
● Discuss the advantages for producers of each media platform
● Support your answer with reference to examples from three media platforms.

June 2009
 1. ‘Audiences are no longer just consumers of media texts but producers too.’ To what extent is this true of the media products in your case study?

In your answer you should:
● provide a brief outline of your case study
● evaluate how far audiences participate in and contribute to the media products in your case study
● support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

2. Account for the similarities and differences in the codes and conventions used in the media products from your case study.

In your answer you should:
● provide a brief outline of your case study
● compare how and why media products from your case study are similar and/or different within and across media platforms
● support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

January 2010
1. Identify how media products from your case study make links with other media platforms. What are the reasons for these links?

In your answer you should:
● provide a brief outline of your case study
● consider possible links such as targeting audiences, promotion and revenue generation
● support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

2. ‘All media texts tell stories.’ In what ways is narrative used in the media products in your case study?

In your answer you should:
● provide a brief outline of your case study
● discuss the different ways narrative functions in the media products in your case study
● support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

June 2010
1. 'Audiences are becoming increasingly powerful in shaping media output.' With reference to your case study, how far is this true?

In your answer you should:
● provide a brief outline of your case study
● evaluate the roles of audiences in the creation of media products from your case study
● support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.


2. ‘It is not the strongest that survive but those most responsive to change.’  How and why do media institutions continue to change?

In your answer you should:
• provide a brief outline of your case study
• show how and why media institutions in your case study have been responsive to change 
• support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms. 

January 2011
1. How far have improvements in technology made a difference to the quality of audience experience?

In your answer you should:
● provide a brief outline of your case study
● evaluate the impact of new technologies (eg red button, file-sharing, 3D) on the audience's ability to interact with and/or enjoy media products from your case study
● support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

2. Do the institutions in your case study have an equal presence on each media platform?

In your answer you should:
● provide a brief outline of your case study
● evaluate how and why media products from your case study have more of a presence on some platforms than others
● support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

June 2011
1. 'To be successful, media institutions have to use a variety of media platforms'. To what extent is this true of your cross-media study?

In your answer you should:
● provide a brief outline of your cross-media study
● consider the possible advantages of using a range of media platforms
● support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

2. 'Our enjoyment of media products is influenced by the platforms we use to access them.'How far is this true of your cross-media study?

In your answer you should:
● provide a brief outline of your cross-media study
● consider how audiences use and respond to media products from different media platforms
● support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

Jan 2012
1. Evaluate how far audiences are able to represent themselves and/or their ideas and opinions in media products from your cross-media study.

Support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

2. Evaluate how successfully media products from your cross-media study are promoted within and across media platforms.

Support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

June 2012
1. Consider how imaginative techniques are used by media products from your  cross-media study to attract and maintain audiences.

Support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

2. Synergy is the process by which media institutions use a range of platforms to promote, sell and distribute their products. Assess the impact of synergy in your cross-media study.

Support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

January 2013
1. Evaluate how new technologies have been used in the products in your cross-media study.

Support your answer with reference to a range of products from three media platforms.

2. Intertextuality describes the way in which media products make reference to other media products that producers assume audiences will recognise.  Identify the ways intertextuality is used in your cross-media study.

Support your answer with reference to a range of products from three media platforms.

June 2013
1. How far does the platform on which they are consumed determine the construction of media products in your cross-media study?

Support your answer with reference to a range of products from three media platforms.

2. Explore how representations are constructed in media products from your cross-media study.

Support your answer with reference to a range of products from three media platforms.

June 2014
1. ‘Media institutions are essentially profit-driven.’ Evaluate how commercial pressures have had an impact on the products in your cross‑media study. 

Support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.

2. ‘When we engage with media we both act and are acted upon, use and are used.’ Consider how much control audiences have in relation to their use of media products from your crossmedia study. 

Support your answer with reference to a range of examples from three media platforms.


June 2015
1. Convergence allows audiences to access media content from multiple platforms on one device. Assess the impact of convergence in your cross-media study. 

Support your answer with reference to a range of products from three media platforms.


2. How do institutions ensure the audience’s enjoyment of a media product’s narrative is extended across the platforms? 

Support your answer with reference to a range of products from three media platforms.

D. Key Concepts, Key Media Terminology, Film Language and Audience Theory

Revise the following really well:

E. AS Revision Booklet

This excellent guide summarises the key theories and key terminology you need to include and provides examples of how to use them in the exam. 

Read this repeatedly in the run-up to UNIT1, revise ALL the main theorists here and practice using them in your answers.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

MEST1 Mock exam: learner reponse

It is absolutely vital you reflect on the areas to improve from your full MEST1 mock exam.

Indeed, the most important aspect of any mock exam is making mistakes and learning from them. You need to closely analyse your performance across each section and question and identify specific ways you will improve for the real exam in two weeks. Complete the following learner response tasks:

1) Type up any feedback or comments from your paper in full (you do not need to write mark/grade if you do not wish to).

2) Did you succeed in meeting or exceeding your target grade in AS Media? If not, how many additional marks do you need across Section A and Section B to achieve your target grade?

3) Read through the mark scheme. Pay particular attention to pages 5-8 that has anticipated content for each of the questions in Section A. How many of these potential points did you make? Did you successfully answer the questions?

4) Which was your strongest question in Section A? Why did you do better in that particular question?

5) Which was your weakest question in Section A? Again, try and identify why this happened. Did you misinterpret the question? Did you run out of time?

6) Rewrite your answer for your weakest question in Section A. This should now be a detailed, three-paragraph 12-mark response.

7) Now look at the mark scheme for Section B. Did you cover all three media platforms? Did you write about three different films in your essay?

8) Question focus in the most important factor for a top-level response. Did you use the key words in the question in every paragraph?

9) Read the Examiner's Report in full. For each question in Section A, look at whether you included the things the Chief Examiner refers to in the stronger responses. Did any of the problems identified with some answers apply to you? Be specific. Now look at the Examiner's Report for your chosen question in Section B. Did your response fit the stronger or weaker examples highlighted by the Chief Examiner?  

10) Finally, identify three things you will do differently in the real exam in two weeks. These can refer to preparation, notetaking, Section A or Section B - it is up to you.

Complete this during the lesson you are given your paper back and finish for homework if required. It is vital you complete EVERY LR task to ensure you are prepared for the real exam.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Visiting speaker: Journalism professor

We are very lucky to have a Dr Sumaya Alnahed, a lecturer in journalism at the University of West London, visiting us to give a lecture on the impact of new and digital media on the news industry. 

The talk will take place on Wednesday in the Lecture Theatre during periods 3&4.

The impact of new/digital media on News is the Year 13 exam topic so it is essential for all A Level Media students.

The talk will focus mainly on the changing nature of news as a result of new technology and social media. Dr Alnahed is the course leader for the BA (Hons) Broadcast Journalism degree at UWL and her doctoral research compared the news agendas of Al Jazeera and the BBC. Some of her other research interests include the influence of geopolitics on news production, the political economy of news media and Arab media.

This is a brilliant opportunity to hear a university-level lecture just weeks before your final exams. It is open to all A Level students so do encourage Economics, Politics and Business students who are free to join us in the Lecture Theatre.

Make sure you are there!