GCSE MEDIA STUDIES EXAM
YEAR 11 FINAL REVISION GUIDE
SECTION A – LIFESTYLE MAGAZINES
• Read the questions carefully/ underline key
• The questions are ALWAYS based on the same key
concepts (GENRE, MEDIA LANGUAGE,
• The questions are ALWAYS worth the same
amount of marks
• Remember to P.E.E!
• Use key media words wherever possible
Q1. GENRE – 10 MARKS
My Personal Style Rules
Do you have a personal style? A signature look? I’m
not really sure I do. Although I fear there’s probably a
book of magazine editor’s laws somewhere that says I
I asked my husband to pinpoint mine. He looked a bit
pained and said, “I don’t know! One day you have an
Annie Hall vibe and the next you’re in a hot dress.
What’s going on there?” It’s a question I get all the
time, and I’m yet to come up with an answer….
…Enjoy the issue!
Jo Elvin, Editor.
an image of a
directly in the
Includes a Chatty
from the editor to
A MODEL ANSWER - GENRE
The magazine ‘Easy Living’ is an example of a women’s lifestyle
magazine because of the content. The term ‘lifestyle’ defines
everything that fits into everyday life and a pure example of this in this
extract is the contents page. There are several teasers on the page
alongside images, including the words, “Real Life”, “Fashion”,
“Emotional Intelligence” and “Beauty.” Therefore, by covering the
main light hearted priorities in a women’s life it proves that this is a
Another way that we know this extract is lifestyle is through the use of
text, specifically the teasers on the front cover. An example of this is
where it says, “What your friends really think of you.” Through the use
of direct address, it pin points what events happen in a woman’s day-
to-day life. Furthermore, this proves that the magazine ‘Easy Living’ is
an example of lifestyle.
We also know it is a conventional lifestyle magazine as the front cover
is dominated by an image of a model looking directly into the camera.
NOTE: Model answers are based on the “Easy Living” extract from your mock exam.
Your answers in the final exam will depend on the lifestyle magazine extract you are
given on the day!
Q2 MEDIA LANGUAGE – 20 MARKS
Direct mode of
MODEL ANSWER - LAYOUT
Layout is used to create effect throughout the
extract, and an example of how it is used is the
front cover. The front cover of Easy Living has a
symmetrical design giving it a chic, classic and
organised look. This creates effect because it uses
the correct layout in order to attract a certain target
audience. Using this example, by keeping this
magazine as a classic design but also including a
chic, modern look will attract women from a
middle-class background who lead a traditional
lifestyle however they like to be up to date.
Therefore, layout is used to create effect in order to
attract the correct target audience.
• Onomatopoeia – Bang! Pop! Crash!
• Repetition – Go, go, go!
• Exclamation – Wow!
• Pun – David Peckham: Becks does
Only Fools and Horses
• Misspelling - Sista
• Slang – OMG!
• Personal pronouns – You will love
this as much as we do.
• Colloquialisms – (chatty) -Hey,
how’s it going?
• Alliteration – figure-fixing. Top
• Rhetorical question – feeling blue?
Editorial—a letter from the
editor to the reader often
referred to as an opinion
Direct mode of address—
speaks directly to the reader
personal stories eg. The
other day I was in a club with
my mates and Katie Price
Relates to the content of the
magazine—this summer I am
MODEL ANSWER -LANGUAGE
Language is also used in order to create effect. This
is shown on the front cover in which a coverline
reads “skin you’ll be raring to bare” which includes
the use of direct address. By targeting the reader
specifically through the use of the word “you” it
creates a false relationship with the audience due
to synthetic personalisation. This creates effect
because the reader feels they are on a par with the
magazine, giving them a sense of pride. Therefore,
language is used to create effect in this extract to
make the reader feel they can connect with the
• Typography—arranging type to make it look appealing
• Serif—fonts that have little edges to them look more serious
• Sans serif—sans means without. Sans serif means without the little edges—looks
more fun and less formal
• Typeface—a family of fonts
• Specialist typeface—unusual and unique fonts used to make the magazine
• How is it used:
• Upper/lower case
• House style—keeping the style of the magazine consistent
• *Don’t just say what they have done, explain why they have done it and the effect
that it has on the reader*
SERIF fonts to
make it look
‘OMG District 3’. Use
style fonts to make it
look more personal.
MODEL ANSWER - TYPOGRAPHY
Typography is used in this extract to create effect
and this is also shown on the front cover. The
masthead used in this extract is written in relaxed,
sophisticated sans-serif font which correctly reflects
how the magazine is targeted towards a mature,
sophisticated type of woman. By not including a
serif font in the making of the masthead it gives the
reader the idea that this magazine contains light
hearted, modern information throughout the
magazine. Furthermore, through the use of the
masthead, the audience are given an insight as to
what the content of the magazine will be like,
therefore creating effect.
Connotation – suggested meaning or association
Eg. The colour red has connotations of passion, danger
The colour pink implies femininity, fun and frivolity
The colour white suggests purity and innocence
MODEL ANSWER - COLOUR
Colour is also used to create effect and this is shown on
the contents page. Due to the fact that this issue of the
magazine was published in summer 2008, the colour
scheme suites it appropriately by using bright, vibrant
shades to promote happiness and femininity. By using a
vibrant red, blue, purple, yellow, mauve, green and
orange it connotes certain things according to the title.
An example of this is red used with the words “Real Life”
because red can connote love, death, danger and
romance due to its versatile meaning. Therefore,
colouring is used in this magazine to create effect, in
order to almost direct the reader into certain moods and
Q3. REPRESENTATION – 20 MARKS
• You need to show how
lifestyles have been
represented in the extract –
assumes men and women
think a certain way and hold
certain ideals. Write about the
text as well as the images –
use specific examples.
• Talk about positive and
• Is it stereotypical?
• Talk about what is missing as
well as what is there eg.
homosexuality, people with
disabilities and ethnic
Look for things like: Body ideals,
relationship ideals, women all want to
look good and be good housewives and
be healthy, men all want to be cool and
have perfect muscles, we all aspire to
look like models and celebrities. We all
want to look young. These things make
A MODEL ANSWER - REPRESENTATION
Discuss the ways in which women and/or femininity are represented in the extract.
In this extract, women are represented negatively and one reason fro this is because of the use of
language. An example of this is in the editor’s letter in which Susie Forbes writes, “How to look
good on holiday – a subject we tackle at some length in this issue – is surely one of life’s biggest
conundrums.” By using the “we” it uses direct address to assume that the women who’d read this
magazine have nothing more concerning in their lives than fashion. This therefore represents
women negatively because it results back to how a classic housewife should act – to just look nice
and cook the meals.
However, women are also represented positively on the front cover. An example of this is the
image of Kylie Minogue and the teaser beside which reads, “KYLIE MINOGUE 50 AND fabulous”.
This portrays women positively because although Kylie has had a publicly tough life, she is still
shown to be beautiful, pure and happy through the use of the image. By smiling promiscuously, it
gives off the impression that even at forty women can still be sexy. Therefore this gives women a
sense of pride and rewards as to the ‘guts’ of certain women.
On the contrary, women are also represented negatively on the front page. A teaser reads, “The
marriage crime you don’t even know you’re committing”, and this portrays the impression that
firstly a woman’s life revolves entirely around marriages and families. Due to this it implies that all
women are capable of is marriage and possibly not an actual career. Also, by saying that the
audience wouldn’t “even know” they’re committing the certain crime, it is slightly degrading by
implying that they possibly don’t have the brains to understand.
Finally, women are also evidently represented positively on the contents page. By including
information on a physical activity which is set aside from typical women’s sports like yoga and
jogging, it reinforces how women are capable of doing the same amount and styles of physical
activity as males. Furthermore, the audience will gain a sense of pride in themselves, when the
magazine implies that all women are capable of such things.
The magazine notably excludes representations of homosexuality and women with disabilities.
The assumed readership is heterosexual and stereotypical.
SECTION B – TV COMEDY
Don’t mix up the questions!
Learn the difference between audience pleasures
and scheduling and institutions
You only have 30 mins for section B – 15 mins per
SO Don’t waffle – get as many points down as you
Use examples from the programmes for audience
Q1. INSTITUTIONS (CHANNELS) AND SCHEDULING
• Licence fee—what we pay to have the BBC without adverts
• PSB—Public Service broadcasting—like the BBC purpose to educate and inform as well as entertain
• Non-PSB—can show what they want for entertainment
• Commercial—channels financed by showing adverts
• Terrestrial—BBC1, BBC2, ITV1 and Channel 4
• Digital—all other channels
• Psychographic personality, values, opinions, lifestyles
• Demographic—age, social bands, gender, nationality
• Mass— wide audience/ the masses
• Niche – small audience
• Showcase—show off new programmes
• Premier time slot—best time to schedule for maximum audience
• Watershed—after 9pm adult content can be shown
• Rolling programme—repeats the same programmes
• Mixed schedule—doesn’t repeat
• Stripped schedule—shows the same programmes
• Prime time—when the most viewers watch the most popular shows
A MODEL ANSWER – INSTITUTIONS AND SCHEDULING
4a) Discuss two TV or radio comedies you have studied. Discuss why they were scheduled:
-on the channels that chose them
-on the days and times they were transmitted.
My two comedies are Have I Got News for You (HIGNFY) and The Big Bang Theory.
HIGNFY is scheduled on BBC 1 at 9pm on Friday nights and it is repeated the next day. It fits BBC1 as it is a
mainstream programme that will appeal to a wide audience because it is funny. It is also educational as it
covers serious subjects like politics, so this makes it fit Public Service Broadcasting because it is funded by the
licence fee and so has to have a reason for charging people to watch it.
Friday night is a good time for comedy as it is a wind down time of the week, so BBC1 always shows comedy at
this time. 9pm is a good time as it is after the watershed so it can contain swearing and adult or rude subjects.
The programme that follows is usually a comedy as well because it can inherit HIGNFY's audience. The
programme can also be downloaded on BBC iplayer.
The Big Bang Theory is shown on E4. It shows many episodes back to back throughout the week but the current
series is scheduled at 8pm on a Thursday and is immediately followed by another episode at 8.30pm. The Big
Bang Theory fits E4 because it is a channel aimed at young people who are the target audience for this
programme. It also fits because E4 shows a lot of comedy shows, especially 'cool' shows from America. E4 can
do this as it a niche audience channel that is not covered by PSB (Public Service Broadcasting) regulations as it
is not a terrestrial channel. This means it can have stripped schedules and repeat programmes over and over
again that are aimed at young people. This makes it easier for young people to know what is going to be on E4.
The repeated episodes of Big Bang are shown at lunchtimes and early evening as they are not considered
important enough for prime time but the current series episodes have a prime time slot. It can also be
downloaded on 4oD.
The BBC would not show an American import like Big Bang because it is supposed to make it's own
programmes. E4 would not show HIGNFY as most of it's audience are much older than the E4 audience.
Q2. AUDIENCE PLEASURES
HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU
panel game show
Paul Merton and Ian Hislop
different guests/presenters every week
people performing as themselves
humour comes from attacking people
and events in the news
attacks the rich and powerful
BIG BANG THEORY
based on characters in everyday
just for entertainment
has a narrative
people acting as characters
we sympathise with the characters
Sheldon and Penny
use verbal comedy
intellect is cool
A MODEL ANSWER – AUDIENCE PLEASURES
4b) Explain how these two programmes offer their audiences different pleasures.
HIGNFY is very different to Big Bang as it is an almost live comedy panel game show about recent
events in the world whereas Big Bang is a sitcom where the comedy is based on characters and
HIGNFY is 'infotainment' as it offers some education on the news events of the week, whereas Big
Bang is simply for entertainment.
HIGNFY has regular stars - Paul Merton and Ian Hislop - that the audience can tune in and see
sparring with each other every week. This is similar to the regular characters in Big Bang, such as
Sheldon and Penny, who are in some ways like a family who the audience can drop in on
regularly. One big difference is that HIGNFY is presented by different people every week and has
different guests and the audience can tune in to see who will be presenting this week and how
well they will do. Big Bang on the other hand usually has more or less the same cast in every
episode, but different storylines for the audiences to follow.
Big Bang is a drama, so it has episodes with narratives that are resolved at the end of the
episode. This gives the audience the pleasure of a story being told. HIGNFY follows a similar
pattern every week but, but there is little sense of a narrative resolution - one team will win the
competition, but this is really a throwaway ending. The quiz is an excuse for people to be funny.
Big Bang will have situations where we can sympathise with the characters as well as laugh with
them or at them. For example, when Leonard is unlucky in love or when Raj can't talk in the
presence of women. HIGNFY is more about people performing for TV as themselves so we tend
to judge them on how well they have performed instead of feeling for them.