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home MS4 Exam Questions MS3 Specifications media texts representations audience



This unit aims to provide candidates with a framework for analysing the media and

requires them to explore representations and audience/user responses.

Candidates will be encouraged to explore the media through a study of genre, narrative and representation and make connections between the texts and audience/user responses to them.

In the developing area of interactive media, this involves considering users and their interaction with texts.

It will be important for candidates to be provided with a range of examples which will enable them to understand and interpret the media independently.

The representations of social/cultural groups, events, issues and their underlying

messages and values will be explored using a range of approaches.


Candidates will be required to study how media texts are constructed and how

audiences and users respond to and interpret them using the following framework:

(a) Texts

• genre conventions

• narrative construction

• technical codes such as camerawork, lighting, editing and sound for

audio-visual media and graphic design elements for print-based and

interactive media

• language used and mode of address.

(b) Representations

• the role of selection, construction and anchorage in creating


• how the media uses representations

• the points of view, messages and values underlying those


Candidates will be expected to have studied a range of representations of:

• gender

• ethnicity

• age

• issues

• events

• regional and national identities.

(c) Audience Responses

Candidates will need to consider the ways in which different audiences can

respond to the same text in different ways. This will involve studying:

• the ways in which audiences can be categorised (e.g., gender, age,

ethnicity, social & cultural background, advertisers' classifications)

• how media producers and texts construct audiences and users

• how audiences and users are positioned (including preferred,

negotiated and oppositional responses to that positioning).

Any media can be explored but the media texts used in the examination will

be selected from the following:

• advertisements

• DVD covers

• CD covers

• newspaper front pages

• magazines (including comics)

• radio sequences

• film extracts

• television sequences

• music videos

• websites (if selected for examination, websites will be reproduced in

print-based format)

• computer game extracts.


A written examination paper of two and a half hours, assessing AO1 and AO2. This

will consist of three compulsory questions:

Question 1 requires an analysis of an audio/visual or print-based

extract (40).

Questions 2 and 3 will be based on representation and audience issues and

may be subdivided where appropriate (30 and 30).

Note: for questions 2 & 3, candidates will be expected to draw on their own studies of

representation and audience response issues



This unit is designed to enable candidates to demonstrate knowledge, understanding

and skills in media production processes through research, planning, production and



Candidates will be required to produce three pieces of linked work. These will


• a pre-production reflecting research and demonstrating planning techniques

• a production which has developed out of the pre-production

• a report of 1200 - 1600 words.

It is anticipated that one brief will be set outlining pre-production and production

tasks. Although there must be a link between pre-production and production, there is

some flexibility in the nature of the tasks which can be set for pre-production and


Examples of linked pre-production and production tasks include:

• A storyboard of the trailer for a new BBC1 television crime drama (preproduction)

and the trailer for that drama (production)

• A script or shooting script for the opening sequence of a teen horror film (preproduction)

and a marketing campaign for a new teen horror film, to include at

least the dvd cover and one poster (production)

• Draft designs for two magazine front covers (pre-production) and a double page

spread for one of those magazines (production)

• Prototype design for a new website (pre-production) and the completed website

consisting of a home page and at least two associated web pages (production).

The production tasks must enable candidates to demonstrate competent technical

skills. It is essential they have access to appropriate technical equipment and that

they have been taught how to use it prior to undertaking their productions.

(a) Pre-production

Pre-production tasks must be undertaken individually but may be set on a

whole class basis. Pre-production work will focus on the research and

planning skills needed to create media productions. Pre-productions may,

for example, involve research into comparable products, key aspects of the

appropriate industry relevant to the pre-production as well as research into

the target audience.

(b) Production

The production must develop out of the pre-production planning.

Audio-visual productions can be produced individually or by a group

(maximum of four). For group tasks the candidates will need to select one of

their pre-productions to develop into a production. There must be appropriate

opportunities for a significant and definable contribution to be made by each

candidate. Audio-visual productions should be up to 3 minutes in length,

depending on the nature of the production and the number of candidates.

Interactive media (other than audio-visual productions) and print-based

productions must be produced individually and must contain at least two

pages of original material. The majority of the images within the production

should be originated by the candidate.

(c) Report

The pre-production and production must be accompanied by a report of 1200

– 1600 words. This report must be completed individually and will include:

• a discussion of the most significant research findings which informed the


• a brief justification of the target audience for the production

• an evaluation of the production which highlights its strengths and

weaknesses through, for example, a comparison with existing media


The report may be submitted in one of the following formats:

• an illustrated report

• an essay

• a suitably edited blog.


This unit will be internally assessed and externally moderated, assessing A02, A03

and A04, with the following mark allocations:

• Pre-production (20)

• Production (40)

• Report of 1200-1600 words (40)

Each of the three pieces of work will be assessed separately and then combined to

achieve a total mark.




AS (2 units)

Unit 1:

(50%) External Assessment: 2½ hour

Written Paper

Media Representations and Responses

Three compulsory questions, including one question on unseen audio-visual or print based

material (interactive media will be presented as print-based) (40, 30 & 30).

Paper raw mark total: 100

Paper UMS total: 100

Unit 2:  

(50%) Internal Assessment

Media Production Processes

Three components: one pre-production (20); one production which develops from the

pre-production (40); and one report on the production process (40)

(Group work permitted for audio-visual productions only.)

Paper raw mark total: 100


Images of Michael Jackson might be used to study genre, representation and audience response


This unit develops the knowledge and skills acquired at AS and as such contributes to synoptic assessment. In particular, it is designed to demonstrate the importance of research in informing media production and to develop the skills acquired in MS2.

Candidates are required to produce three pieces of linked work:
• a research investigation (1400 – 1800 words)
• a production (informed by the investigation)
• a brief evaluation (500 – 750 words).

(a) Research Investigation

Candidates are required to undertake an individual investigation into a
specific area of study focused on one of the following concepts: genre,
narrative or representation. Their research should draw on a range of both
primary and secondary sources. It should enable candidates to reach
conclusions that will inform their production.

Examples of investigations include:
the representation of teenagers in two British films
• the generic similarities between Dr Who and Stargate
• the narrative structures of The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.

(b) Production
Candidates are required to submit a production which should develop from and be informed by the candidate's research investigation. This production must be in a different form from the AS production.

Audio-visual productions should be up to 4 minutes in length (depending on the nature of the production).
Print-based productions (or their digital equivalent) should be a minimum of 3 pages.
Digital media (other than audio-visual productions) and print-based
productions must be individual. Audio-visual productions can be produced either individually or in groups (maximum 4). Group tasks must offer appropriate opportunities for each candidate to demonstrate an individual Contribution.

(c) Evaluation
The production must be accompanied by an individual evaluation which
explores how the production has been informed by the research undertaken into the relevant media concept.
The evaluation can be produced in any appropriate form such as:

• a discursive essay (with or without illustrations)
• a digital presentation with slide notes (such as a PowerPoint)
• a suitably edited blog.


This unit will be internally marked and externally moderated, assessing AO2, AO3
and AO4.

Candidates are required to submit:
• a research investigation (1400 – 1800 words): 45 marks
• a production (informed by the investigation): 45 marks
• a brief evaluation (500 – 750 words): 10 marks
Each of the three pieces of work will be assessed separately and then combined
to achieve a total mark for the unit.


This unit contributes to synoptic assessment. It is designed to develop candidates' understanding of the connections between different elements of the specification and to develop their knowledge and understanding of the relationship between media texts, their audiences and the industries which produce and distribute them.

Progression from AS is demonstrated through this emphasis on the relationship between text, audience and industry and the debates surrounding the nature of that relationship. Candidates' understanding of the media will also be more informed by appropriate theoretical perspectives.


Centres will be required to select three different media industries from the list below to study with their candidates.

• Television
• Radio
• Film
• Music
• Newspaper
• Magazine (including comics)
• Advertising
• Computer Games

For each industry, three main texts should provide the focus for candidates' study.
At least two of the chosen texts must be contemporary and one must be British.
Centres are advised to select contrasting texts so that candidates acquire as wide an understanding of the media industry as possible. What constitutes a 'text' will vary depending on the industry. See the Notes for Guidance for examples and guidance.

For each text selected, candidates should consider the following as appropriate:
• genre
• narrative
• representation
• production
• distribution (and exhibition where relevant)
• marketing and promotion
• regulation issues
• global implications
• relevant historical background
• audience/user targeting
• audience/user positioning
• audience responses and user interaction
• debates about the relationship between audiences/users and text.

A written examination of two and a half hours, assessing AO1 and AO2.
The paper will consist of two sections:

Section A will offer two questions based on media texts;
Section B will offer four questions based on industry and audience issues.
Candidates will be required to answer one question from Section A and two
questions from Section B, using a different media industry for each answer. Each question will require them to make reference to the three main texts they have studied for each media industry.

The examples below have been grouped into complimentary tasks. In the first section there are tasks suitable for individual students. An example of a possible area for investigation is given first ,then there is a suggestion for a possible production which could develop out of the investigation. In the second section there are suggestions for individual research investigations which may lead to a group production.


• An exploration of the representation of teenagers in (two or three) British films.

• Campaign material for a low budget UK ‘teenage-rights-of-passage’ film

• An analysis of the representation of two stars from mainstream and alternative music.

• The official fan site for a new artist (this could utilise MySpace or YouTube)

• An analysis of news photographs: their structure and narrative appeal

• A series of anchored news photographs for a specific newspaper

• Do film promotional websites follow the same conventions? A close analysis of (two or three)
contrasting sites

• A web site promoting a new film (this could become a group production with the insertion of film
footage shot by the students)

• How far are Soap Operas a representation of real life? (A close analysis of two contrasting
programmes) ‘

• Three to four page magazine spread launching a gritty new soap opera.

• Exploring the representation of gender in men’s magazines.

• Three magazine pages for a new men’s magazines which challenges stereotypical

• Analysing representations in teen magazines

• A photo story for a new teen magazine

• How do cause adverts represent issues?

• Three print cause adverts aimed at teenagers (e.g. anti drugs)

Research Titles:

• An investigation into how genre conventions are used to raise audience expectations in
film trailers.

• An analysis of the narrative structure of three contrasting trailers.

• A study of the representation of heroes and villains in three trailers

• A trailer for a new film.

Research Titles:

• An analytical comparison between two narrative driven music videos

• A study of gender representations in two (or three) music videos

• How are music videos edited? A close study of two (or three) music videos

• A music video for a new band

Research Titles:

• Investigating the styles of two radio presenters.

• Deconstructing reality: how are issues represented in radio programmes?
• A comparison between two radio news bulletins from contrasting channels


• The opening section of a new talk based radio programme

Research Titles:
• An examination of the genre conventions in documentaries (two or three) aimed at teenagers.

• How are teenagers represented in documentaries?

• Exploring the narrative structure and editing techniques in two short Channel 4 documentaries.

• Three minute wonder documentary exploring a local issue.