Jamal Sohail

A Guide to the A Level Media Studies Syllabus

Interested in A level Media Studies? Here's a comprehensive overview on it!


The media is a constant presence in our lives. From the moment we wake up, checking our phones for the latest news, to unwinding with a streaming service in the evening, media shapes our understanding of the world and how we interact with it

A Level Media Studies is a course that teaches students how to critically analyze, understand, and create media.

This comprehensive guide unpacks the A Level Media Studies syllabus offered by Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) with the code 9607. 

It will navigate you through the core concepts, assessments, and strategies to excel in this subject. 

Check out my A level Media Studies Guide on YouTube, If you want a more in-depth guide that explores each module individually as well!

This guide will help you succeed, whether you love media or want a qualification that will help you in the future.

4 Key Components of Media Studies


The CAIE syllabus rests upon four fundamental pillars that form the foundation for Media Studies:

Media Language: This explores how media constructs meaning through a combination of elements. You’ll study about the power of visuals, sounds, narratives, and editing techniques in shaping messages and influencing audience perception.

Representation: Media doesn’t simply reflect reality; it actively constructs it. This concept examines how media portrays individuals, groups, and events, uncovering potential biases and underlying ideologies.

Media Industry: This section will explain how the media creates, distributes, and consumes content. You’ll learn about the money, technology, and power structures that affect the media industry

Audience: Media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. This component dives into how audiences interact with media and how media industries target specific demographics. You’ll analyze audience reception, active versus passive viewing, and the evolving relationship between media and consumers.

Breakdown of A level Media Studies Papers


The A Level Media Studies program unfolds over two years, with AS Level (Year 1) laying the groundwork and A2 Level (Year 2) taking you deeper into analysis and production. 

Each level culminates in specific assessments that contribute to your final A Level grade.

AS Level

Paper 1/Component 1: Foundation Portfolio (50 marks): This will be a project that the students will be required to do. You will be tasked with creating an original media product, such as a 2 minute film opening or a magazine task which will serve as a testament to your creativity and technical abilities.

Paper 2/Component 2: Media Text and Context (50 marks): This written exam will test your ability to apply your knowledge of media concepts to specific media texts. You’ll show your logical thinking skills by carefully examining these texts and using helpful ideas to support your opinions

A2 Level

Paper 3/Component 3: Advanced Portfolio (50 marks): Building on the skills developed in Paper 1, this project will ask you to go deeper into media production. Here, you’ll create a more complex media product, demonstrating your creative abilities and technical proficiency. You will have to select an option from available 4 (short film, film trailers, documentary, music video) and will have to make a design product and manage a social media page as minor tasks. 

Paper 4/Component 4: Critical Perspectives (60 marks): Like Paper 2, this will be another written exam taken in an examination setting. You’ll engage with a wider range of media texts and theoretical ideas, demonstrating your ability to think independently and formulate well-supported arguments in response to exam questions.

Each paper in the A Level Media Studies program carries equal weight, contributing 25% to your final grade. 

This means that Paper 1, Paper 2, Paper 3, and Paper 4 are all equally important. To excel in A Levels, you’ll need to demonstrate strong performance across all four components, mastering both practical project work and written analysis.

Strategies for Excelling in A Level Media Studies


Equipping yourself with the right strategies can significantly enhance your A Level Media Studies experience. Here are some key tips to help you excel:

Become a Critical Consumer: Don’t just watch or read passively. Engage actively with the media, questioning its messages, representations, and underlying assumptions. Develop a critical eye to deconstruct media content.

Embrace Hands-on Learning: The classroom isn’t just for theory. Actively participate in coursework, experiment with various media production techniques, and refine your creative skills through practical projects.

Sharpen Your Research Skills: Navigating academic databases, gathering reliable information, and citing sources properly are essential skills for success. Hone your research abilities to support your written work and analysis.

Practice Makes Perfect: Developing clear and concise writing is crucial for effective communication in exams. Regularly practice writing analytical essays, using evidence to support your arguments.

Stay Current: The media landscape is constantly evolving. Keep yourself informed on the latest trends, emerging technologies, and media platforms to stay ahead of the curve.

Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some of the most common questions most of my students have about A Level Media Studies:

Q: Why Choose Media Studies?

A Level Media Studies offers a compelling package of benefits:

  • Full Credit Subject: Unlike some half-credit subjects, Media Studies carries significant weight in university applications, demonstrating your academic commitment and ability to handle a rigorous program.
  • Skill-Based Learning: You’ll develop a range of transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers across various industries. These skills include critical thinking, communication, creativity, problem-solving, research, digital literacy, and media analysis.
  • Future-Proof Subject: Media literacy is an essential skill in today’s world, where information consumption and creation are at an all-time high. Understanding how media works, how it shapes our perceptions, and how to navigate the complex media landscape is a valuable asset in any future career path.
  • Creative Outlet: A Level Media Studies provides a platform to explore your creativity and express yourself through media production projects. You’ll gain hands-on experience in areas like filmmaking, photography, graphic design, or social media content creation, potentially igniting a passion for a creative career.

Q: What’s the Best Combination of Subjects to Take with Media Studies?

Media Studies is versatile and pairs well with many subjects. Popular choices include Business Studies, Computer Science, Psychology, English Literature, and Film Studies. However, it can complement a wide range of subjects depending on your interests and career aspirations.

Q: What Career Paths Can I Pursue After A Level Media Studies?

The possibilities are vast! Media studies graduates can find success in creative industries, communications, education, research and analysis, and many other fields. Your specific career path will depend on your further education choices, interests, and skills developed throughout the program.  Check out my guide on career paths of the future if you need help deciding a secure career!



By embarking on this journey of media exploration, you’ll gain valuable knowledge, hone critical skills, and unlock exciting career possibilities in the ever-evolving world of media.

Additional Resources:

The Cambridge International website provides access to the detailed syllabus, past papers, and examiner reports, enabling you to deepen your understanding and prepare effectively for your exams

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