GCSE Media Studies: Year 11

Course Outline (Exam Board: AQA)

Year 11

Controlled Assessment Task: Music Video production

Students may work individually or in a pair to research, plan, film and edit a three minute music video. They must choose a song that does not already have an official music video (the best way of doing this is to choose an artist they like and find an album track that has not been released as a single in its own right). A great deal of planning goes into this project, making up a portfolio of tasks. It is timed in such a way to ensure students are ready to film by October half term. Students and parents will be provided with a detailed lesson-by-lesson calendar with all deadlines clearly communicated to help them manage their time. This unit is worth 30% of their final GCSE grade.


2017 Exam Topic: Television Game Shows

2018 Exam Topic: Serial Television Drama

The exam topic changes every year and is set by AQA. Students sit a 90-minute written exam comprising 4 questions. Two of these are likely to centre around the students’ research into existing examples of relevant media texts and two are likely to relate to their own idea for a new text within the genre. This exam is worth 40% of their final GCSE grade.

We believe the most successful way to teach media theory is through practical work. Students are encouraged to take on the role of media producer to create their own media texts, which they then analyse in relation to the codes and conventions of existing texts.

Key Skills

  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Planning
  • Production
  • Time management
  • Organisation
  • Group work
  • Discussion and debate

For every student our main aims are to aid the development of:

  • An independent critical voice
  • Independent thinking skills
  • Creativity of expression
  • Technical competence using relevant media equipment and software
  • Powers of analysis

Dispelling some myths

Because Media students can legitimately study any text, some critics believe this means the subject is intellectually shallow. However, this misunderstands what the subject is about. Cultural competence in the 21st Century is about being able to enjoy popular culture texts, whilst simultaneously understanding the construction, manipulation and commercial nature of these texts. Young people of today should be equipped with the means to challenge the messages they are bombarded with from the media and understand that these are simply constructed views and representations.