As part of your revision always ensure that you go through the previous year’s examiner’s report. This will guide you in your learning. Pick up on key points and consider what candidates did well, and include that in your own work. In addition, make sure you also consider what candidates need to continue to develop and ensure that you consider these points when you develop your case study and essay responses.
Question 1: Media Forms
This was the second best answered question, with well over a third of candidates achieving a level three or above.
There was some confusion over what constituted the opening of the sequence (despite the introductory blurb explaining this). Although examiners were asked to mark such responses positively, many candidates self-penalised by not focusing fully on how the initial part of the sequence drew the audience in.
Surprisingly, use of media terminology seemed less confident this series. Less successful candidates wanted to discuss other aspects of the sequence (e.g. narrative techniques, use of humour) rather than its form. Successful responses on the other hand really got to grips with how editing, sound, mise-en-scene and camera were used to pull in and hook the audience (sophisticated responses even managing to discuss how a range of audiences would respond).
Some candidates still feel the need to bolt on audience theory even when it is not really appropriate (e.g. Hypodermic Needle). Others decided to discuss other key concepts in the opening question, in turn using additional sheets and wasting time for no extra reward. It is clear from this final comment that candidates must really make sure they answer the question clearly.
Question 2: Representation
Pleasingly this was the best answered question in Section A, with over half of all candidates achieving a level three or above.
Successful responses provided a range of ways the workplace was represented focusing well on how this meaning was constructed through use of sound, lighting, editing and mise-en-scene. Close textual reference and terminology was in turn used well.
Less able candidates seemed to lack confidence with exploring the representation. They seemed programmed into a response about the tried and tested areas of gender, race and class. Sometimes this was linked successfully, but often it just hindered question focus.
The key for candidates to move into level three and beyond was to not just list the ways issues were represented (often through a series of adjectives,) but also to develop their ideas to show how this representation was constructed through carefully chosen media language. (The key here again is to make sure you answer the question clearly and that you analyse rather than describe.)
Question 3: Media Institutions
Unfortunately this was the least well-answered question in Section A with only just under a quarter of candidates achieving a level three or above.
Many seemed confused by the roles played by the institutions involved in the sequence. Many were too enthralled by the wider contexts and in turn avoided direct question focus.
Less successful candidates tended to extend their answers from question two.
Better responses did well to understand the significance of the institutional portrayal of the sequence but very few were able to fully deconstruct how this was achieved through media language. They were in turn able to show their understanding of how the event was used to make highlight the importance of Sport, solidarity, Unity and world peace.
What is clear here is to focus on how the institution is presented through the use of Media Language.
Question 4: Audience
Disappointingly, only just over a third of candidates achieved a level three or above in this question. Pleasingly though, there was far less evidence of candidates running out of steam by this stage in Section A or managing their time poorly.
The main issue was that unfortunately many ignored the YouTube aspect of the question,preferring to discuss the general appeal of the programme and sequence rather than why exactly it would be popular online.
Successful responses picked up on the specific nature and qualities of the sequence and linked this with why it would in turn be popular online (through sharing, discussion, repeated viewing etc.).
Some candidates wanted to discuss who the audience were rather than what features of the sequence would attract them. Audience theory also remains problematic for many.Whilst successful responses were able to apply theory effectively (notions of the active audience, oppositional readings, Uses & Gratifications being used well in many instances), often theory was unfortunately just bolted on and regurgitated.
What is important here is clearly to answer the question and make sure you address all aspects of the questions. In addition, you need to consider how it is done and why it is significant. You must make sure you evaluate your points clearly with audience theories in mind. Focus on analysis not description.