Why choose this specification?

GCSE Media Studies gives students the chance to develop a critical understanding of the role of the media in daily life. It encourages an understanding of how to use key media concepts to analyse media products and the opportunity for hands-on practical work.

Teachers like

  • supports them in stretching the most able, while also ensuring the course works for the whole ability range
  • enables students who are not suited to externally assessed exams to excel via the practical element
  • combines aspects of Politics, Sociology, History and Economics to make the course interesting to teach
  • allows teachers and students to explore the media and associated industries in more depth through the double award
  • appeals to some students who wouldn't otherwise be as engaged with a straight English curriculum, but gives them many of the same skills of analysing texts.

Students like

  • combining practical and theoretical knowledge – particularly the value of pre-production work and production skills
  • gaining a valuable insight into the way the media works
  • the opportunity to be creative in areas that interest them like film, TV and music, for example by producing their own videos, web designs or recordings
  • to analyse and understand things that they might otherwise have taken for granted, such as the packaging on DVDs or how the opening minutes of a film, radio show or game are designed to grab audience attention
  • the focus on issues that relate to their everyday lives.

Knowledge/skills gained

  • students develop appreciation and critical understanding of the media and its role in their daily lives
  • critical thinking and decision-making skills
  • pre-production and planning skills like storyboarding, scripting, flat plans, news selection, mock-ups and sketching
  • production skills like photography, filming, recording, editing, and desktop publishing
  • an understanding of new technologies
  • evaluation skills.


  • a welcome pack for planning and teaching
  • past question papers and mark schemes
  • reports on the examination
  • exemplar scripts and coursework
  • enhanced results analysis so you can see how your students compare with those in other schools and colleges
  • controlled assessment advisers
  • regular continuing professional development (CPD)
  • help for teachers with coursework standardisation
  • online resources to help with planning and delivery.

Follow-on study

GCSE Media Studies provides a good foundation for further study of Media Studies. It is a great choice for people considering a career in the media, advertising and marketing.


A student wishing to improve their grade for a linear GCSE qualification will be required to re-sit the entire qualification.

A student who is satisfied with the mark previously awarded for controlled assessment has the option to re-use (carry forward) that mark.

Private candidates

Candidates must be attending an AQA centre which will supervise and assess the centre-assessed work. For more information see Private candidates.