GCSE Media

GCSE Media Studies

Course Content

The GCSE Media course requires pupils to respond critically and analytically to existing media texts and to apply their understanding appropriately in their own pieces of creative media work; this happens across three pieces of coursework and one exam. Students are also expected to learn about a range of media theories, terms and institutions.

In GCSE Media students cover four ‘key media concepts’: Media Language; Institutions; Audience; Representation. These are explored and assessed across a range of media forms including Print/Electronic Publishing, Moving Image, Radio and Web-based/New Media.

Subject Skills

Pupils are expected to analyse and evaluate – skills which demand a certain level of critical reading ability, both in terms of reading literature and interpreting other visual codes such as colour, images and camera angles; texts to study include magazine articles, film posters and even TV adverts. There is also a demand for creativity in research, planning and proposing their own media products and, in some cases, seeing these projects through to full realisation.

Pupils with a familiarity with new media technologies will have the opportunity to exercise their capabilities but it is not an essential skill and will not be explicitly taught.

The quality of a student’s written communication is assessed in the coursework and examination – there is a minimum expectation that a pupil’s expression, including hand-writing and drawing, is legible and coherent with at least some degree of accuracy.


There are no tiers offered in GCSE Media Studies; this means that specifications and question papers will have to cover the full range of abilities with grades from A* to G.


The coursework component – Unit 2 – comprises three separate assignments totalling 60% of the final grade. These tasks become incrementally more valuable – the first being worth 15 marks, the second 30 and the third 45 – and we study them in that order, beginning in year 10 and finishing in year 11. These tasks are an introductory assignment, a cross-media study and a practical production and evaluation and tend to follow the same pattern of analysis of existing media products followed by planning for an imagined product.


The examined unit – Unit 1 – adds the remaining 40% to a pupil’s grade. This is a ‘media investigation’ written exam paper with 60 marks available across four equally-weighted questions in a 90 minute exam.