Specifications that use this resource:

Summary of changes

This guide outlines the main changes to our GCSE Media Studies (8572) qualification.

What's new

Subject content

The GCSE subject content for media studies (set out by the Department for Education) specifies that all four elements of the theoretical framework below must be studied.

  • Media language
  • Media representations
  • Media audiences
  • Media industries

Close study product (CSP)

CSP – the range of media products that need to be studied in relation to all four elements of the GCSE Media Studies Framework. The new specification requires the study of relevant historical, social and cultural contexts, in relation to the CSP.

The CSP’s are chosen by the exam board and cover all the media forms.

  • Television
  • Film
  • Radio
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Online, social and participatory media
  • Video games
  • Music video

Some CSPs require ‘in depth study’: Television (audio/visual); Newspapers (Print); Online, social and participatory media; Video Games. These CSPs are studied in relation to all four elements of the Theoretical Framework.

Other CSPs need to be studied as thoroughly – but only in relation to one or two of the elements of the Theoretical Framework.

Statement of intent

Students must complete a 'Statement of intent' that outlines what the aims of the media product are. This should be a maximum of 300 words and is a compulsory element.

What's gone

Set topics for external assessment

There will be no set topics for GCSE Media Studies.

Research and planning for controlled assessment

For Assignment 3 of 48101, research and planning is assessed and students should submit up to 12 pages of evidence.

However, for the NEA, research and planning is not formally assessed and students should not submit planning and research material.

Production tasks on the exam

Unit 1 will not include any elements of production tasks.

NEA productions must be individual productions.

What's the same

Key concepts

The four key concepts (language, representation, audience and institutions) have been renamed as the ‘Theoretical framework’.

Whilst not identical, there are clear similarities.

NEA marking and moderation

Non-exam assessment (NEA) is internally marked by centres and externally moderated by the exam board.

Exam format

The format of the questions on both exams is similar to Unit 3 of the legacy specification – a mixture of short and longer answer questions.

Although schools/colleges and students will not know which CSPs will be covered in particular sections, the sections will always be the same.

  • Paper One Section A: Media language and Media representations
  • Paper One Section B: Media audiences and Media industries
  • Paper Two Section A: Television
  • Pape Two Section B: Online, social and participatory media and Video games.

What's changed


As with all reformed GCSEs, the grading system has changed from A* to G to 9 to 1 (9 being the highest grade).


To avoid overlap with a GCSE in film studies, film should only be studied in the context of media industries.


There are now two exams. They are both 1 hour 30 minutes long and both worth 35% of the overall marks available.

Paper Two Section A will always be television. The exam will involve the screening of an extract from one of the television CSPs.

Controlled assessment

This has been replaced by non-exam assessment (NEA). The conditions for which the NEA should be produced under are largely similar to those for controlled assessment.

Three pieces of controlled assessment (worth 60% of total marks) have been replaced by one NEA assignment – creating a media product (30% of total marks).

NEA briefs will change annually and work must be an individual media production for an intended audience. It should apply knowledge and understanding of media language and representation.