GCSE (B322) Exam Section A

Section A of the GCSE Media Studies exam is called Textual Analysis. You will be shown an extract from a film in the action/adventure genre. You will answer three mandatory questions, making detailed reference to examples from the extract to support the points made in your answer.

Please read my overview of the whole exam.

Section A of the exam paper will start with some information about the screening and when you should take notes.

You will also be given some information about the film the extract is taken from, such as its name, year of release and director. There might also be a small amount of contextual information, such as a description of the sequence you have watched and important character names. Feel free to use this information in your answers.

When making notes, you should mainly focus on Question 2. This question needs to be answered accurately and in detail, so notes from the screenings are essential. Hopefully the clip will be fresh enough in your mind for you to be able to answer Question 1 and Question 3 without extensive notes.

Remember, there are a total of 50 marks available, so spend no longer than 50 minutes on your answers in this section.


Question 1 asks about genre features.

There are 10 marks available, so spend no longer than 10 minutes on your answer.

The question will be identical or very similar to this:

Explain two ways in which the narrative (characters and events) in the extract fits the action adventure genre.

Use examples from the extract.

Technique:

  • Don’t worry about the distinction between characters and events.
  • Cover two features of the action/adventure genre.
  • Use terminology accurately.
  • Make specific reference to aspects of the extract.
  • Leave a couple of blank lines between your two explanations so there can be no doubt you have fulfilled the requirements of the question.

Question 2 asks about soundtrack, editing, mise-en-scene, and camerawork.

There are 20 marks available, so spend no longer than 20 minutes on your answer.

The question will be identical or very similar to this:

Explain how each of the following is used to create effects:
– soundtrack
– editing
– mise-en-scene
– camerawork.

Use examples from the extract.

Technique:

  • Don’t worry about linking your observations to the action/adventure genre.
  • Make sure you address all four media language prompts.
  • Cover at least two aspects of each media language prompt.
  • Use terminology accurately.
  • Make specific reference to aspects of the extract.

Question 3 asks about representations and stereotypes.

There are 20 marks available, so spend no longer than 20 minutes on your answer.

The question will be identical or very similar to this:

Discuss the representations in the extract.

Refer to stereotypes in your answer.

Use examples from the extract.

You might consider the representation of:
– age
– gender
– race and nationality
– a social group.

Technique:

  • Don’t worry about linking your observations to the action/adventure genre.
  • Make explicit reference to stereotypical or unstereotypical representations.
  • Cover at least two of the prompts.
  • Use terminology accurately.
  • Make specific reference to aspects of the extract.
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