All you need to know about choosing the Media Studies GCSE

3 mins
May 10, 2022
Did you know that 58% of the world's population uses social media for an average of two and a half hours per day? Or that Avatar is the highest-grossing film of all time? Or that Mr Brightside by The Killers has been in the charts for the longest time?

If you find these facts fascinating, you might enjoy the Media Studies GCSE! The time to pick your GCSE options is fast-approaching so we're here to help you decide. 

What is Media Studies GCSE?

From television to newspapers, radio, social media and podcasts – the Media plays a big part in our lives. It can alter our perceptions, grow our understanding and inform how we see the world. Unfortunately, with the rise of fake news, clickbait and misinformation, it can be challenging to know what's what; that's where media studies comes in! But what does the GCSE course involve? Read on to find out… 

What do you do in Media Studies GCSE?

During the Media Studies GCSE, you'll look at four key areas; media language (forms and choice of language, theories of narrative, and codes and conventions of language), media representation, media industries and media audiences. You'll also study all of the following media forms: 

- television
- film 
- radio 
- newspapers 
- magazines 
- advertising and marketing 
- online, social and participatory media 
- video games 
- music video 

How to revise for Media Studies GCSE?

When thinking about revision, you'll need to look at how the exam is formatted; this can change depending on which exam board your education provider uses, so it's best to check (in fact, we strongly advise it!). In this article, we're using the AQA Board as an example. To pass the Media Studies GCSE, you'll have to sit two written exams and one Non-Examination Assessment (NEA). Each exam lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes and is worth 35% of your final grade, and the NEA makes up the final 30%. 

Media one (the first written exam) is broken into two parts; Section A focuses on Media language and representations, you'll look at two different types of media (through a source or close study product) and answer questions. Section B focuses on Media industries and audiences; having looked at two different types of media, you'll answer an extended response question. 

Media two (the second written exam) is also broken into two parts and is all about frameworks; in Section A you'll apply a framework to a source (TV-related), and in Section B, you'll apply a framework to another type of media source (like a newspaper or video game). 

NEA, creating a media product here, you'll combine your ability to apply knowledge and understanding of theoretical frameworks with your ability to create media products. You'll have a choice of one of five briefs, and you'll produce a statement of intent and a media product for an intended audience. Your teachers will mark the NEA. 

What jobs can you get with Media Studies GCSE?

While no single GCSE can guarantee you a job, acing the Media Studies GCSE could be the start of a fantastic career within the media industry, whether you're turning your talents to film or social media. Below we've listed a whole range of jobs that you might want to research further, having completed (and enjoyed) the GCSE. 

  • Advertising media buyer
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Copywriter
  • Editorial assistant
  • Media researcher
  • Photographer
  • PR consultant
  • Presenter
  • Social media manager
  • Television/film producer
  • Web content manager
  • Writer

You might be thinking, well, this all sounds good (and your type on paper!), but how do I get a job in Media? Well, we've got you covered. Take a look at our article 9 creative ways to get work experience in Media for our best tips and tricks. 

Is Media Studies GCSE hard?

The Media Studies GCSE has a pretty high pass rate, and much of this is down to the fact that students enjoy the lessons so much, and revision doesn't feel like revision. Media Studies classes are generally pretty lively, with lots of discussions, projects and presentations - it's a fun class to be in. This, coupled with the coursework (NEA) element making up 30% of the grade, means that most students who take the course don't find it to be a difficult subject. 

Another great thing about the GCSE is that it ties in well with other subjects, like religious studies, history and geography. This is all to say that taking the course will help you with other subjects and vice versa!

How can we help? 

We hope this article helped and you're one step closer to working out whether a Media Studies GCSE is right for you. If you want to find out more about the media industry or even want to get a head start on what the Media Studies GCSE involves, why not have a look at one of our media programmes? We have work experience programmes in Broadcast & Media and TV & Film. From radio to television, you'll get to question industry executives and complete activities that could spark ideas for your NEA project! So, what are you waiting for?!

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