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CIE A Level Media Studies

Rob Miller | Wednesday August 19, 2015

Categories: A Level, CIE A Level, CIE A2, CIE AS, Overviews

Cambridge International Examinations AS & A Level Overview

This qualification is based on the OCR AS/A Level Media Studies specification – on the first page of the specification CIE state: “This syllabus is an adaption of OCR’s GCE Media Studies specification”.

Click the link above to access our Edusites OCR A Level Media Studies Overview page. Use the information below to understand the key differences between the OCR specification and the CIE.

Key Differences

CIE Component 1: Foundation Portfolio (OCR - G321 Foundation Portfolio)

  • CIE candidates must have their own individual blog (most OCR candidates have this but it is very clearly written in the CIE specification).
  • Only two briefs are offered – Film Opening Task (OCR Video) and Magazine Task (OCR Print).
  • The CIE Magazine Brief allows for any genre while OCR prescribes a Music Magazine.
  • The following Briefs on the OCR specification are not available with CIE – Audio, Website.
  • OCR state as part of the Brief there is a Preliminary Exercise. This is not prescribed by CIE but they state: “This task should be preceded by a preliminary exercise to build up learnt skills with equipment and the understanding of conventions”.

CIE Component 2: Key Media Concepts (OCR – G322 Key Media Concepts - TV Drama)

Section A: Textual Analysis and Representation (same title for OCR)

  • TV Drama is not mentioned in the CIE specification – in Section A CIE state: “Candidates analyse a moving image extract in terms of technical codes and representation”. OCR prescribes TV Drama. There are no past papers available but a sample CIE paper uses an unseen extract from The Wire, a TV Drama.
  • There is no Radio Drama alternative offered, as OCR offer in their G323 (Radio Drama) paper.
  • The CIE Section A question format differs slightly: “Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs meaning” while OCR state: “Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of class and status (or gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, physical ability/disability, regional identity – representation area changing each year)”.
  • However, CIE call Section A: Textual Analysis and Representation which makes it implicit that CIE candidates will, like OCR candidates be explaining how technical codes reveal a representation – the key difference (based on the CIE sample paper) is that it seems that CIE candidates will be discussing a broad range of representations while OCR candidates will have one prescribed area of representation to study e.g. class and status, gender etc.

Section B: Institutions and Audiences (same title for OCR)

  • Only difference – CIE offer Print (allowing for the study of magazines or newspapers) while OCR have separate options in Newspapers and Magazines.

CIE Component 3: Advanced Portfolio (OCR – G324 Advanced Portfolio in Media)

  • CIE candidates must have their own individual blog (most OCR candidates have this but it is very clearly written in the CIE spec).
  • Two minor tasks accompany the CIE main production task, OCR call them ancillary tasks.
  • Limited Briefs – CIE offer Music Promotion, Film Promotion, Documentary Package (slight difference to OCR in that the minor tasks are a Website and Poster) and Short Film Package.
  • The following OCR Briefs are unavailable in the CIE specification – Advertising Package, Video Game Promotional Package, Soap Opera, Children’s TV Drama, Local Newspapers, Website for a new TV Channel, First Level of a new Video Game, Local TV News, Radio Play or Regional Magazine.

CIE Component 4: Critical Perspectives (OCR – G325 Critical Perspectives in Media)

  • In Section A there is a slight difference in the title with CIE offering: Section A - Evaluation of Production Skills Development and OCR offering: Section A - Theoretical Evaluation of Production (the exam question format for both are similar).
  • For CIE there is no Post Production question option in Section A, Part (a) while OCR in their specification have the option to target this question topic in the exam.
  • Section B – the only difference here is that CIE do not offer We Media and Democracy as a study topic whereas OCR does.

Click to access our Edusites OCR A Level Media Studies Overview page.