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Mest 1 guidance

Exam guidance for AQA A Level Media Studies MEST 1

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Mest 1 guidance

  1. 1. MEST 1 (EXAM) GUIDANCE Notes for students
  2. 2. MEST 1 MEST1 Investigating Media is a two-hour exam, worth 80 marks and is 50% of the AQA AS Media Studies qualification. It comprises two distinctly different sections – Section A: Text, Concepts and Contexts with 4 short answer 12 mark questions based on stimulus material (either static image or audio-visual). Section B is called Cross Media Study and comprises a choice between two 32 mark more essay based questions. Students are advised to spend 1 hr. 15 minutes on Section A and 45 minutes on Section B.
  3. 3. Section A • MEST1 Section A question areas are predictable but only in the concept they explore andall are linked to the stimulus: • Media Forms incl. Genre: e.g. conventions and narrative, use of media language including technical language and mise-enscene, how the sequence is constructed to engage audiences (techniques), form and style. • Representation: linking with challenging or reinforcing stereotypes e.g. representation of technology, celebrity, family, realism, place, gender, national identity, ethnicity, age, social class, sexuality, ability/disability…how the construction evidences the representation. Again, as is in Media Forms (media language) the correct application of representation media language/terminology is required.
  4. 4. Section A • Media Institution: e.g. branding to audiences and brand image (popular question), characteristics of a particular institution, production and distribution, issues of ownership, use of digital technology, originality and innovation, critical and commercial success, independent v mainstream, regulation, advertising… • Audiences: e.g. targeting, audience appeals or pleasures, communicating values or ideologies, audience positioning, range of audience readings and theory, viral marketing, the language of persuasion…
  5. 5. Section A • Stimulus material can be static image but in the last 3 years audio-visual stimulus has been preferred apart from the January 2012 MEST1 paper which used the front cover of iNewspaper with questions on how design appealed to potential readers, audiences appeals, representation of news and entertainment and branding in an age of online news. Reference to existing theory is also required in Section A, particularly relating to Genre, Representation and Audiences
  6. 6. Section A • Stimulus will normally be drawn from anytime up to 3 years before the date of the exam. • The order of the above questions will sometimes change e.g. Institution question first and not Media Forms but all 4 concepts will be explored and order or questions should not concern students.
  7. 7. Section A • Moving image stimulus can mean anything from a film opening/closing sequence, a key scene or a trailer, television sequences either opening or closing or a chosen scene from any genre piece. It could be a viral, radio, or television advertisement, a corporate media promotional advert, an online short film, a radio sequence, music video or video game trailer. The length of the clip will normally be between 1 and 2 minutes, occasionally over and played 3 times reflecting the need to allow students enough time to answer the questions. Approaches to responding to the stimulus material vary but fundamentally students need to make notes between viewings in response to all four Section A questions.
  8. 8. Section A • Static image or print stimulus material means that students have slightly longer to answer each Section A question and have the stimulus material in front of them for the whole exam. Static images can include a newspaper front cover, printed advert (with context), magazine cover, feature or double page spread, printed website, film poster, DVD jacket, piece of photojournalism or citizen journalism, printed social networking page or blog or piece of promotional material – the range of potential static image stimulus is significant.
  9. 9. Section B • The Cross Media Study represents a much less ‘teacher taught’ section of MEST1.
  10. 10. Section B • The following question areas have been explored by AQA in the past and • • • • • • • • • • the list also includes other potential areas of questioning identified in the specification: Linking between platforms – audiences and intertextuality, promotion, revenue generation including relationships with advertising. Advantages and disadvantages of each media platform, techniques used to attract and maintain audiences. The impact of synergy across platforms. Different Narrative and Genre functions across platforms. The role of the audience in creating and shaping media output across platforms (representation of audience and institution – ownership and control). How audiences use and respond to media products from different media platforms. How institutions respond to change e.g. new digital technology across platforms. How audiences respond to changes in digital technology e.g. interactivity. Institutions and Platforms – equal/unequal presence and why media products have more of a presence on some platforms than others. Issues of regulation across platforms.
  11. 11. Examples of cross-media studies Music Industry Promotion and Marketing • Moving Image Platform: Studying Music Videos - 4 or 5 key texts both independent and mainstream e.g. Wrecking Ball (Cyrus), Bound 2 (West), Roar (Perry). • Print Platform: Researching 4 or 5 music magazines, independent and mainstream e.g. Q, KERRANG!, Hip Hop Connection, The Wire. • E Media: Studying Music industry websites and viral marketing,, www. (fan site)
  12. 12. Examples of cross-media studies Film Industry Distribution and Exchange • Moving Image: Studying film – 4 or 5 key texts, independent and mainstream e.g. Star Trek into Darkness, Skyfall, Tomb Raider (2013), The Selfish Giant, The Double. • Print Platform: Studying film posters (the above), Empire, Sight & Sound magazine. • E Media: Studying video games e.g. Tomb Raider and Skyfall, LOVEFILM, Netflix,MUBI, YouTube/ Vimeo.
  13. 13. Examples of cross-media studies Other Cross Media Study Topics • Lifestyle Media across platforms e.g. Heat, Reveal, Loose Women, X Factor, Angry Birds, FarmVille, Eastenders… • News Media across platforms e.g. BBC News 24, Sky News, The Guardian,iNewspaper, BBC News/Sky News apps and websites, citizen journalism, Twitter news feeds...
  14. 14. MEST1 Theorists • MEST1: Section A requires limited, but evidential reference to existing theory within the framework of short, 12 mark questions while Section B would benefit from at least two references to existing theory. These references would elaborate on how the theory relates to the specific question area, and how it can be applied across platforms – the question area will be the guide on what theory to incorporate.
  15. 15. Media Forms incl. Genre and Narrative • Todorov – four act narrative structure (Equilibrium, Disruption, Resolution, New Equilibrium) • Propp – 8 character roles (limited application, only mainstream texts)
  16. 16. Audiences • Blumler and Katz – Uses and Gratifications theory (Surveillance, Diversion, Personal Identity, Personal Relationships) • Katz and Lazarsfeld – Two Step Flow (opinion leaders taking messages on) • Adorno/Frankfurt School – Hypodermic Syringe. Audiences are passive (negatively affected without challenging media output).
  17. 17. Representation • Levi-Strauss – dominant v subordinate representations
  18. 18. Institution and Cross Media Study • Michael Wesch – YouTube as cultural phenomenon • Nick Lacey – Synergy