1. AS Media feedback (May 2014)
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First of all, well done for sitting the mock – as you’ve probably realised by now, the onlyreal
way to get you head around the paper is to sit a formal practice.
Feedback is the number one factor in helping students make progress (we all learn from our
mistakes). So listen carefully to all the feedback you receive – and make sure you know what
you need to do for the real exam.
The following tips should help you. You will read some general advice on style and exam
technique, followed by some hints on tackling each of the 3 questions.
Use a separate, full page of A4 for your plan for the longer questions (30-40 marks) so you
can keep it in front of you. Remember to put your name on both the plan and your answer
Write the heading ‘Plan’ at the top. Underline the bottom of the plan to show the examiner
where it ends. (This is especially important if you are doing a plan for the ‘stepped’ question
Make sure you have answered the WHOLE question. Put key words (parts of the question) in
BOLD on your plan – then tick them off when you have covered them. The examiner will be
able to follow your thought process.
HAVE A GO at answering every question.
The 2½hr paper contains 3 questions – allocate 50 minutes per question. 10mins of this 50
should be spent planning.
Question 2 is a ‘stepped’ question in 3 parts. The total marks on your mock Q.2 was 30.
Therefore each mark was worth 1.6 minutes (that’s 1 minute 40 seconds) of your 50
minutes. This is how long you should have spent on each part of Q.2:
2(a) 4 marks = 6 minutes
2(b) 10 marks = 16 minutes
2[c] 16 marks = 25 minutes.
2. AS Media feedback (May 2014)
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As this is an academic subject, always write in the third person. Avoid saying “I”. Instead
say, “This answer will…”
AS Media exam papers don’t usually ask for your opinion, so avoid saying “In my opinion”
or “I think”. So if you’re exploring a point of view, or how something could be interpreted,
you could say, “It could be argued that…” or “This could mean…” or “It could be interpreted
Do NOT use the word “people”! – it’s:
audience / reader
model / actor
Don’t talk about “they” as in “They’ve put Michael Caine on the cover” – it’s:
the text’s producer
Avoid making sweeping generalisations, such as “blue is a stereotypical boy’s colour”. Write
academically – e.g. “Blue is associated with masculinity”.
Look back over your notes and revise as many theories as you can. Memorise the name of
the theory. If you can recall the researcher’s name and the year then do.
Aim to refer to 1 theory for every 10 marks (i.e. 3-4 theories per 30-40 mark answer). You
don’t need to give lots of detail, you just need to show the examiner that you understand
If your MTG is C or above, you need to be criticising the theory - as well as explaining it, and
applying to your answer.
Discussing your own examples
When asked for your own examples, make your point FIRST – then introduce the case
study. For example, “Media texts use camera angles to engage their target audience. For
example, the first episode of Benefits Street (broadcast Channel 4, January 2014) uses a
3. AS Media feedback (May 2014)
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high angle establishing shot, showing an overview of the setting, James Turner Street. This
bird’s eye view is unusual in a documentary and therefore engages the audience.”
Your example must be specific (youcan’t just talk about ‘The Times’).You MUST give the
details of the examples you are discussing – i.e. date of broadcast/publication, channel, the
title of programme or article, the headline used. The examiner is not going to cut marks if
you get a precise date wrong, so do your best to include this information – it adds
credibility to your answer.
If discussing lexis, you must use quotes.
The examiner will be looking for a variety of case studies. Try to avoid justdiscussing TV
shows for example. In your revision, cover a broad range – don’t forget to include music
videos, newspaper article/page, film posters, websites, computer games etc. Don’t forget,
as well as using cases we have covered in class you can use any RECENT (say, 2011
onwards) texts – as long as you know them really well! That means you can talkabout
specific camera angles, quote specific headlines and describe diegetic/non-diegetic sound -
and discussthe IMPACT of these techniques on the reader!
Structure - introduction
In the introduction to a long answer (30-40 marks), define all the key terminology at the
Seize hold of the question in your intro. Tell the examiner HOW you are going to answer
the question. E.g. “This answer will analyse visual codes by discussing the signs presented in
both media texts; it will consider layout and design by discussing the conventions of
lifestyle magazine covers; and it will address language and mode of address by considering
body language, lexis and eye contact.”
Once you’ve written a plan, the introductionwill write itself.
Context and impact:
When analysing a media text, remember to discuss the following:
CONTEXT – What is the genre (or sub-genre)? What ideology is presented in this media text
(or from the producers of this text)?
IMPACT – What effect do the codes and conventions have on the target audience?
4. AS Media feedback (May 2014)
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Remember to introduce the GENRE of the text. E.g. all printed texts (in the mock it was
lifestyle magazines) have codes and conventions. The examiner wants to see that you know
what they are.
Here is a list of terminology you could have explored which we have studied this year
(some is specifically for magazine covers):
Masthead Cover lines Tag line Superlatives!
Colour palette Shot size (medium
Pull quote Mise-en-scene Proxemics Iconography
Lexis (don’t forget mode of address also
refers to the lexis used – e.g. “You” is direct.
Problem-solving Sell lines
Anchorage Polysemic image
And here are some key semiotic terms you could have used (remember signs?) :o)
Iconic sign Symbolic sign Indexical sign
Signifier Signified Connoted Denoted
Use the over-arching terms ‘primary’ and ‘secondary codes’ too.
If you are given 2 stimuli (as in the mock, where you had 2 magazine covers), you could
compare and contrast their codes and conventions. This ensures you cover both texts in the
same detail, rather than analysing one more closely than the other. A decent plan - which
sets out the key words in the question - will support you to do this. So in the mock, some of
the strongest responses tackled the visual codes of both covers in the first paragraph, and
the mode of address of both covers in the last.
2(a) For this one, you needed to explain what is on the cover that attracts the target
audience you selected. I.e. the choice of model, shot size used, anchorage and cover line. It
is not enough to say, “Eastwood is the main focus” – how?
2(b) For this 10 point question, you could do a simple bullet-point list for your plan (clearly
labelling it ‘PLAN’ and underlining it underneath).
5. AS Media feedback (May 2014)
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This question referred to what you see in the text. For a 10 point question, you should aim
to make 3-4 points, which you explain with evidence from the text.
2[c] From here until the end of the exam (including Q.3) this is your chance to show the
examiner what you can do!
You should state HOW audiences are targeted – THEN introduce the case studies. To
answer this question, you could have written a plan which shows something like this:
INTRODUCTION –Will introduce how audiences are targeted (specifically focusing here
onlexis, MOA, shot sizes, mise-en-scene) + state this answer + introduce examples
PRIMARY CODES: AV + PRINT
Lexis, mode of address
Cases: AV – Channel 4 documentary ‘Benefits Street’ (Jan.2014) + Print - Sky News online
story ‘Rio preparation ‘worst ever’ (April 2014)
SECONDARY CODES: AV + PRINT
Shot sizes, mise-en-scene
Cases: AV – Lady Gaga ‘Applause’ music video (2013) + Print – Dolce & Gabbana ‘Catholic’
spring campaign 2014 advert.
ALWAYS INTRODUCE the terms in your introduction: what is representation? Define what a
stereotype is. Remember to state that the media CONSTRUCTS representations – a media
text is not a ‘window on the world’. This is key to showing your understanding of
representation – so you may well finish this answer with this conclusion as well.
Guess what – you need a plan! (It’s a long answer – 30 points here). Spend 10/50 minutes
planning your answer. You may have heard this - fail to plan and you plan to fail.
Do NOT use the stimulus material.
THERE ARE NO MARKS FOR SWEEPING GENERALISATIONS. You are banned from saying,“all
of the media do this or that”. This is NOT the place to say, “The media represent young
people as hooligans and older people as grumpy.” No they don’t. Some do, some don’t.
6. AS Media feedback (May 2014)
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This is where it is important to give those SPECIFIC examples. You are NOT saying your case
studies represent how the whole media represent this group of people. You are saying
these case studies represent this group like this.
Use specific case studies – they must cases you know really well (see earlier notes on using
case studies). With your case studies, you MUST say HOW the text CONSTRUCTS (achieves)
this representation – see mindmap below on how to deconstruct representations.If your
case studies are superficial and focus on describing character and plot, you will pick up few
marks (if any).
Use theories you have learnt while studying representation, stereotyping and mediation.
Remember the 6 point mindmap for deconstructing representations (no one used this in
the mock!). You’ll certainly be able to apply 1-4 (5-6 depend on the type of text):
1. Ideology of the
2. Primary +
3. Mediation4. Main focus
5. Opinion leaders
You know all this stuff
already!Good luck on Friday!