A2 Media Studies specimen questions

SECTION A: TEXT

YOU MUST ANSWER ONE QUESTION FROM THIS SECTION

A1. Explore the ways in which your chosen texts reinforce or challenge typical representations of gender.

Candidates’ response will be dependent on the industry selected. They may decide that the representations are typical or challenging or a mix of the two. This is acceptable. For higher grades candidates may be linking their responses to theoretical perspectives. Candidates may refer to some of the following points in their answer, depending on the media industry selected:

  • character roles
  • stereotypical, conventional or challenging representations
  • theoretical perspectives which may include:
    – gendered perspectives linked, for example, to Laura Mulvey
    – post-feminist perspectives
    – postmodern perspectives
    – ideological perspectives: dominant v oppositional.

A2. How do your chosen texts use genre conventions?

Candidates may open their answers by outlining what they understand by genre conventions.

Responses are likely to be based on how most media texts replicate, with some variation, standard conventions. Better answers will demonstrate some of the reasons for that approach (e.g., a balance between industry and audience interests) whilst the most sophisticated may consider the ideological implications of conforming to or challenging standard conventions. 

SECTION B: INDUSTRY AND AUDIENCE

 YOU MUST ANSWER TWO QUESTIONS FROM THIS SECTION

B1. Outline the ways in which your selected industry is regulated. What impact has regulation had on your chosen texts?

Candidates’ responses will be largely dependent on the industry they have selected, but their answers are likely demonstrate an understanding of the relevant regulatory body (e.g. OFCOM, PCC, ASA, BBFC) and codes of practice. The impact that regulation has (or has not) had on the selected industry is likely to differ but points may include:

  • subject matter
  • content
  • placement
  • language/image used
  • certification/guidance.

 B2. Explore the impact of digital technologies on your selected industry.

The impact of technology on the industry will differ depending on the industry selected. Higher grade candidates are likely to be engaging with ‘explore’ whilst weaker candidates may simply list connections between technologies and the selected industry. Points may include reference to:

  • the impact on the production of texts
  • the impact of convergence – the way the internet, satellite and mobile communications systems have affected production, distribution and audiences/users, particularly the potential for users to become ‘participative producers’.

 B3. How do your chosen texts attract their audiences?

It is likely that candidates will need to begin by explaining (defining) the target audience for the text/s. Candidates may refer to some of the following points in their answer, depending on the media industry selected:

  • content: form and structure
  • content: representations, characters
  • mode of address
  • placement/scheduling
  • some references may be made to theories such as the uses and gratifications theory and to ways in which audiences are attracted to texts depending on the cultural positioning.

B4. Explore the marketing strategies used by your selected industry. Use the examples you have studied to illustrate your response.

Higher grade candidates are likely to discuss a range of strategies and may engage with an exploration of their effectiveness. Weaker candidates may simply list the strategies used by their selected industry. Depending on the industry selected the following points may occur.

  • Use of television, film, print and radio advertising
  • Market research and audience questioning
  • References to theoretical frameworks such as those provided by Maslow, the 4 P’s, Young and Rubicam
  • Links to specialist agencies
  • Use of technologies such as the internet and mobile phones/handsets
  • Use of mail shots, freebies and special offers.
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