GCSE Media Studies covers various methods of mass communication, including; television, newspapers, magazines, radio, commercial music, new media and films.
The course combines study and analysis of media texts with the development of the skills employed in their production. For example, students will study how magazines are produced, learn appropriate terminology, and analyze how meaning is conveyed through symbols and text. Using this knowledge, students will develop ideas for their own magazine, and produce several pages of the new product.
This balance of analytical and creative skills is reflected in all the units studied over the two years.
The Media Studies GCSE consists of 60% Controlled Assessment and 40% Final exam.
The exam lasts 1 ½ hours and is on a single topic which changes every year – recent topics have been TV News, the Music Press, and Video Game Marketing.
The Controlled Assessment unit consists of three assignments. The first assignment at the start of year 10 covers print advertising and is worth 15 marks. This is followed by a film marketing unit with a Controlled Assessment worth 30 marks. The last Controlled Assessment is the Practical Production, in which students research, plan, create and evaluate their own media product, which is usually a magazine. This is worth 45 marks and is the most important single piece of work students undertake – taking time and care to make their product look as close to professional quality as they can.
All assignments and the exam comprise analytical, creative and reflective elements, which means Media Studies covers and improves a broad range of the students’ skills and interests.
The study of GCSE Media prepares students for further study of the subject at higher levels, and is ideal preparation for a huge number of jobs in an increasingly important industry.