Practice exam questions and real ones!

The first section are all on Media and Collective Identity.

A – To what extent is your chosen social group represented by stereotypes in TWO media? [50]

In your answer you should refer to:

  • Semiotics and
  • Ideology / hegemony

B – How far has the representation of your chosen social group changed over time? Answer with reference to at least TWO media. [50]

NB – By now this essay should contain all your research examples in it which is why you have slightly more time!!

In your answer you should refer to:

  • Social change
  • Law and governance
  • Post-modernism
  • As well as the usual suspects!!

C – To what extent do your chosen texts reinforce hegemonic values? [50]

Again this essay should have everything necessary in it:

  • Identity
  • Audience theory
  • Semiology
  • Feminism / Marxism / post-modernism /
  • Stereotypes / character theory
  • Narrative theory
  • Institution

June 2010

6 – With reference to any one social group you have studied discuss how their identity has been ‘mediated’.

7 – ‘Media representations are complex not simple and straightforward.’ How far do you agree with this statement in relation to the collective group you have studied? [50]

June 2011

6 – Discuss how one or more groups of people are represented through the media. [50]

7 – Explain the role played by the media in the construction of collective identity. [50]

We Media and Democracy

June 2011

12 – Explain how some features of contemporary media are more democratic than others. [50]

13 – As a citizen, to what extent do you feel that the media provide you with a democratic service? [50]

June 2010

12 – Assess the claim that the media is becoming more democratic. [50]

13 – What is ‘we media’ and what difference does it make to citizens? [50]

These are the four prompt questions on Media and Collective identity

  1. How do contemporary media represent nations, regions and ethnic/social/collective groups of people in different ways?
  2. How does contemporary representation compare to previous time periods?
  3. What are the social implications of different media representations of groups of people?
  4. To what extent is human identity increasingly ‘mediated’?

There are four prompt questions on We Media’ and Democracy

  1. What are ‘We Media’?
  2. Where / how has ‘We Media’ emerged?
  3. In what way are the contemporary media more democratic than before?
  4. In what ways are the contemporary media less democratic than before?

Candidates might explore combinations of any two media in relation to the above prompts. Starting from Gillmoor’s definition, all media that are ‘homegrown’, local, organic and potentially counter-cultural can be studied for this topic, as long as two media (eg web-logging and digital film uploading and sharing) are studied.

Question 1 is about your coursework

We will set these as timed essays to be done in class – dates to be advised.

Questions on the specimen paper:

1a) ‘Digital technology turns media consumers into media producers.’ In your own experience how has your creativity developed through using digital technology to complete your coursework productions? [25]

1b) ‘Media texts rely on cultural experiences in order for audiences to easily make sense of narratives.’ Explain how you used conventional and / or experimental narrative approaches in one of your production pieces? [25]

Questions from June 2010

In question 1 (a) you need to write about your work for the Foundation Portfolio and Advanced Portfolio units and you may refer to other media production work you have undertaken.

1 a) Describe the ways in which your production work was informed by research into real media texts and how your ability to use such research for production developed over time. [25]

In question 1 (b) you need to choose one of your media productions to write about.

b) Analyse one of your coursework productions in relation to genre. [25]

Year 12 Media situation comedy exam preparation

Week 1

For your chosen series’ and the two chosen episodes make sure you know:

  • What their titles were
  • When they were first broadcast
  • What channel they were broadcast on
  • What time
  • Who the stars are and their previous credits
  • Any background knowledge which could be useful


  • Generally what kinds of gender representations are there in the programmes e.g. are all women motherly, caring, nurturing or flirtatious, feather-brained, or always right? Are all men incompetent, know-it-alls who end up being wrong; arrogant, boastful, lager-loving, football hooligans or grown up little-boys?


Week 2
As above
Now make sure you have evidence for the gender representations from the dialogue of the programmes; this means making a list of comments, one liners, typical kinds of things said by the main characters that you can use to illustrate comments you might make about the way gender is represented in your sit-coms e.g. Gary: ‘Debs you’re a girl…‘ ‘No I’m a woman…‘ ‘How does that work then?We see here epitomised the essential lack of understanding of men about women, because they don’t grow up and change (mature) they just get bigger and older and as a result they can’t understand the process that causes women to become wiser and less fun!!


Week 3
As above
Now make sure you make detailed notes on the mise en scene of the locations mainly used in your sit-coms. This might include: the décor (colours on walls, art work, style of, choice or and variety of furnishings, even the layout of the rooms); who sits where, who does what in each room; whose influence is seen; who is excluded; what function foes each location have, how is it used within the narrative or to say particular things about certain characters. (Think about how feminine or masculine the place is. Think Martin Crane and the Coffee Shop – Café Nervosa!!! Ben Harper and his garage! Monica and her kitchen or Ross and Joey’s recliner chairs and big screen TV in its cabinet or Will’s step-up kitchen in the centre of the room, with big stainless steel fridge and he’s usually cooking! Etc)


Week 4
As above
Now in your episodes what kinds of themes run through?

  • Battles of the sexes?
  • Conflicts of other sorts?
  • Sexual tension? Conflict? Success or failure or insecurity?
  • Generation differences?
  • Loss of status? Insecurity? Lack of respect?
  • Growing up? Relationships? Work? Status? Unemployment?
  • The nature of friendship?
  • Parent child relationships?
  • Social acceptability? ……………. etc.

How do these themes show up the gender differences or make subtle comments about gender or identity?

What kinds of narratives are the characters given? This means what kinds of storylines are they given e.g. are they always given weak female roles? Stories in which the men are set up to fail and to be laughed at? Or stories in which the stereotypical expectations are allowed to be challenged? (Will and Jack are both gay!!) Most narratives privilege or marginalise specific characters, i.e. some characters always have more time devoted to them and others less; some always seem to play the same role, others are allowed to be more flexible; Karen in Will and Grace had a more marginal role in the first episodes of ‘Will and Grace’, and I’ve always felt that Phoebe was more the outsider in ‘Friends’.

  • You need to know exactly what story lines and themes are in your episodes. E.g. in this episode the theme is parenthood and as we learn Rachel is pregnant we get to see Ross’ reaction to it…it reveals the essential differences between males and females that men seem unable to take the idea seriously; they shy away from it as being too personal, while women are shown as being instinctively maternal… we see Gary and Dorothy making jokes about crocheted vaginas and his inability to be supportive of her, as he makes fun of the breathing exercises, all to prevent the compromising of his masculinity.