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AQA AS Media Studies | How To Get The Top Grades

Caroline Bagshaw | Thursday August 11, 2011

Categories: A Level, AQA A Level, AQA AS, Hot Entries

How do I get my students to reach the top grades? This is a question which we all ask.

Examiners and moderators often see work by students who aren’t perhaps in the top ability bands yet manage to reach the higher mark bands because they REALLY understand what is required of them.

Below are some ideas and strategies which have been proven to help raise achievement in both exams and coursework modules.  These are focused on the AQA Media Studies AS level course, although much of the advice could be adapted for other awards. 

MEST 1 | Unseen Text

(There is more information available on this site, including exemplar responses to a past question with brief commentaries. See ‘Related Resources’ at the bottom of this article.)

Read the supplied information

Do teach the students to read the information on the question paper, highlighting relevant areas.  They’ll be given a few minutes to do this at the beginning of the exam, as well as the time as they wait for the DVD to start if they’re given a moving image text.  This will give all sorts of helpful information, including institution, audience, etc. 

For example: In one previous paper, students were told that an advert for Xbox was placed in the Guardian Weekend Magazine in November.  The information given included that this was aimed at middle class families and produced in the run-up to Christmas.  By reading this carefully, students could add their understanding of the newspaper market so start their exam responses knowing that this was aimed at an ABC1 audience, older age group, and that the institution was aiming at the Christmas market.  Using a Sunday supplement meant that audiences have more time to read the advertisement, so it could afford to be fairly text-heavy.  All of this information could be deduced before the advert itself was even looked at! 

Once they looked at the text they could then see how the models used reflected this target audience, (middle-class...

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