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AQA AS Media Studies MEST1 Section A Frozen Planet Exemplar

Caroline Bagshaw | Wednesday March 19, 2014

Categories: A Level, AQA A Level, AQA AS, Film, Documentaries, Factual, Key Concepts, Audience, Institutions, Narrative, Representation & Stereotyping, Hot Entries, Admin, Staffroom, Exemplar Materials

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Summer 2013 MEST1 Section A

The Summer 2013 AQA Media Studies A/S Level MEST 1 paper was based on a moving image clip from the BBC.  As always with these papers, students should be taught to carefully interrogate the introductory details. One way to do this is to see how well they can answer the questions without even seeing the clip!

Here they were given the following information:

You are about to see a short sequence from Frozen Planet, first broadcast on BBC One and BBC One HD at 9.00 pm on Wednesday 16 November 2011, and also made available to watch online via BBC iPlayer.

As part of the most watched natural history series in the UK, this episode attracted over seven million viewers.

Institutional Context

Shot over four years in high definition at a cost of £16 million, the seven-part nature documentary series explored the Arctic and the Antarctic. The end of each episode contained an extra section called ‘Freeze Frame’, showing behind the scenes footage of the production team in action.

Made in association with the Open University, the series was presented by Sir David Attenborough. Frozen Planet has been highly praised, particularly for upholding the public service values of the BBC: ‘to enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.’

I believe there are three main ‘danger areas’ which students need to understand:

1. Not focusing on the question

Students know beforehand that there will be 4 questions, one each on Media Institutions, Media Forms, Media Audiences and Media Representations. The exam board have experimented with which order to put the questions in, so they may come in any order, but they will always have a

focus and students do need to ensure that they remain focused

in their answers.  With only 15 minutes per question, there isn’t time for them to drift away from the question.  For example, question 2 on this paper only asked...


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