You are on page 1of 3

MS1 - The Exam

The exam for media is on

It lasts for 2 hours.
You will need to answer all three questions.
Question 1: (about 30 mins for notes + 50 mins writing)
What will it be?
The first question will be a general analysis. We know that the Text will be Print based
this session. This means it could be:
a Magazine front cover,
a Newspaper,
a Print adverts
a website
a CD cover,
a computer game cover
or film poster (any genre).

There may be just one extract or there may be several that are linked (one year there
were three adverts all featuring interesting representations of men).
The Process and Timings:
Look at the question before making notes on the text, so you know what THREE
categories you are asked to analyse (you will get about 3 minutes to read the paper
before). The most common options are three of the following: visual codes, language,
modes of address, layout and design. You should also look at Qn 2 (a) and (b) during this
initial 3 minutes, as these questions will link to these texts too.
This viewing and note-taking exercise will probably take about 25-30 minutes and the
exam board advise you to spend about 50 minutes writing it up, as this question is
worth the most marks 40 out of 100. This first question should, therefore, take
you about 75-80 minutes to complete.

Writing It Up:
When writing, start by introducing the text briefly state what type of text it is and
who you think the target audience is and what you think its purpose is (to persuade/
inform/ entertain/ make us feel or see things/ people in a certain way)
Then start to write up your features this time you need to describe a feature (being
specific and precise and using correct terminology) AND offer some interpretation of
what it means/ suggests to us. You can also consider how it works/ what effect it aims
to have/ why the producers have opted for this choice. Remember that all media
features are there because someone has chosen them and thinks that they get the
message across and they mean something.
A good piece of analysis should look something like this:
The main image, placed in the centre third of the front cover uses a low-angle shot of
the man this creates an image of his weakness and powerlessness, so we feel sympathy
for him at this point. (accurate and precise description + interpretation of what it
means/ suggests to us/ impact on us)
You can use each feature you talk about as the basis for a new a paragraph.
Check that you are covering all three of the specified areas if a feature does not add
anything to any of these three categories, then leave them out!
Finish by summing up the main thing you think the media language in this text is
trying to achieve.A conclusion ties things up nicely and examiners like to see them!

Question 2 (about 35mins)
This will either be on audience or representation. It will be worth 30 marks in total and
will probably be split into three parts worth 4 marks, 10 marks and 16 marks
respectively. Use the mark guide to determine the length of your answer. About 5
minutes should be spent on (a), about 15 on (b) and 20 or so on (c).
Parts (a) and (b) will probably relate to the text you have just analysed and will require
you to refer to detail from these texts to illustrate what you are claiming.
Part (c) will be more like a short essay and will require you to use your own case study
material you must refer to at least 2 texts in detail and they must be from different
types of media e.g. a film clip and an advert would be fine but not two film clips. Start
with a brief introduction, develop your ideas in paragraphs with reference to textual
detail and theory and end with a conclusion. Focus on the question and keep relating
everything to it.
Question 3 (about 35 minutes)
This will be on representation or audience - whichever was not used for Qn 2. It will
take the form of a longer essay and is worth 30 marks. As it is worth almost twice as
much as 2 (c), this essay should about twice as long as that one to give you a rough
You must not refer to the text analysed in Qn 1 but must refer to your own case
studies try to cover at least 3 and ensure they come from at least two different
media three film clips would be bad but two film clips and a TV clip or two adverts and
a web-page would be fine. You can refer to both print and audio-visual material.
Again, offer an introduction, develop ideas that focus on the question clearly and end
with a summative conclusion, reflecting on what you have learnt or the key points in
your answer.

Representation Essays
2(c) or Qn 3 start by explaining what representation is and how the media often uses
familiar stereotypes in texts. Then use each text to form a sizeable block in your
answer identify for each text how the focus group/ issue is represented and offer
some detail from the text to prove this / illustrate this (one chunky paragraph); then
add some comment on the representation is it what we expect or is it different/ why?
(a second paragraph to add depth). End with a conclusion, summing up what this shows
about representation in the media bring it back to some general ideas about
Audience Essays
2(c) or Qn 3 start by explaining what the question is asking you to explore explain
any technical terms. This answer will probably be structured more around theory and
points than case studies. Plan your key points and then use case studies to illustrate
what you claim e.g. discuss Reception Theory and use something like FHM front cover
to illustrate how different groups could see the same text differently. End with a
conclusion that sums up the main things you want to say in answer to the question.
For both essays, keep linking ideas back to the question at the end of each section by
stating clearly what you have just written reveals in relation to the question.