MEST 3 Exam Prep


What could you be doing to prepare for your exam?

Remember, it’s in two parts.

Part A will ask you to make a critical comparison of two (2) unseen media texts – both of which are moving image this time. You will be provided with prompt questions, along the following lines (the text in brackets refers to something that would be made more specific – named – in your actual question):

(1) How do the two texts represent (something or other)? (8 marks)
(2) How do (the institutions involved in producing the two media texts) use different platforms to inform their audience? (12 marks)
(3) Why did (a person or group prominent in both texts) use (a media platform) to (achieve something)? (12 marks)

Here’s an example. This particular one refers to some PRINT texts, but the style of the questions is the same:

(1) Compare and contrast the two texts, with particular reference to the representation of teenagers. (8 marks)
(2) Consider the view that the current press treatment of teenagers is simply another “moral panic”. (12 marks)
(3) There are always concerns about new technology. In your view, what are the possible benefits and problems attached to social networking, particularly on the Internet?
(12 marks)

What you should have noticed by now.

Question (1) will ask you to compare (similarities) and contrast (differences) the two texts, but there are only 8 marks available for this.

One of the questions may ask you about representation and will probably ask you to discuss a typical media debating point – for up to 12 marks

One of the questions may refer to new technology and its impact – for up to 12 marks

So there are 32 marks available for Part A, which leaves 48 marks available for Part B. Time management will therefore be important, because the bulk of the marks are in the second half of the exam. In preparation for the first half, you should expose yourself to as wide a variety of media texts as possible (moving image), even if you only watch the first 5 minutes. In fact, after you’ve watched the first five minutes, stop and ask yourself what you noticed, or what you would say – with specific reference to representation and new media.

For Part B, you need a case study to support your answer. I introduced the whole case study thing in this slideshow. You need a case study on Representation and one on Impact of New Media. Both case studies, as you can see above, will help you answer the questions in Part A.

For Part B, you’ll be offered a choice of questions, which will cover the bases in terms of our key concepts (representation, audiences, institutions, media forms), but may be biased towards one in particular (e.g. audience focused question).

You only have to answer ONE question, but you will not have many to choose from, so two case studies under your belt will give you options. Here are some example questions:

4a) Critics have accused the mainstream media of tokenism and stereotyping by creating extreme and exaggerated representaions. To what extent is this true for the group or place you have studied? (48 marks)
4b) Media representations rarely challenge the dominant values of society nor do they give a voice to those with little power. To what extent is this true for the group or place you have studied? Why? (48 marks)
4c) The development of new/digital media means the audience is more powerful in terms of consumption and production. Discuss the arguments for and against this view. (48 marks)
4d) “The new generation of UK media power players are going straight to their audience via the web” Monday July 14 2008.
How have media institutions responded to the opportunities offered by new/digital media?
(48 marks)

You should take note that the format of the question paper has changed slightly, and you will find the questions separated by several answer pages. You will need to find and read them before deciding which ONE to answer.

Spend 10-15 minutes PLANNING and then 25-30 minutes WRITING your answer. I can’t emphasise enough that the examiners are looking for a PLANNED answer. Feel free to answer one of the above and hand in your answer to one of your teachers. I will look over them as soon as I have the coursework paperwork out of the way.

There is some useful advice to students from the exam board (AQA) in this document (PDF).