What The Examiner Is Looking For
The question on the media in the exam will:
- Usually be introduced by the word 'How' or 'In what ways'
- Helps us focus on analysing the text in the way it is written and presented
- Ask you to write about how the purpose of the text is achieved
- Done through the use of language and visual presentation
- Will give you bullet points, which list the aspects you need to think about
A good answer:
- Focuses on key words of the question
- Shows awareness of AUDIENCE and PURPOSE
- Supports points with references to text
- Analyses BOTH LANGUAGE and VISUAL LAYOUT of the media text
- Comments in detail on all the points
- Consider language more than anything else
Understand the Key Features of Media Texts
Focus on three aspects:
- purpose and audience (different from each text)
- the ways in which language is used
- layout and design (what the text looks like)
Describe - describing an event or a situation e.g. news report
Persuade - persuading you to buy a product e.g. advert
Advise - advising for or against e.g. advising a healthy lifestyle
Inform - informing you of a new product e.g.
Analyse - analysing a product or situation - weighing out pros and cons
Review - Reviewing a film, TV programme or product
Entertain - entertaining their target audience via humour, pictures etc.
Argue - arguing for or against a topic
Recount/Narrate - narrating a story or event
Simple or complex?
Long, short or varied in length?
Different types included? E.g. statements, commands, questions
Complete or incomplete?
Simple or complex?
Formal or informal?
Descriptive or emotive? Clear? Powerful?
Personal or Impersonal?
Graphs, charts, maps, diagrams
Bold, italics, underline
Different point sizes
Different fonts and colours
Use of colour
Use of white space
Headings and subheadings
Numbered lists, columns and boxes
Structuring your essay
Always begin with a statement about the aims of the media text and the target audience - the examiner is looking for your understanding of the purpose of the text
Sum up the features of the article - think about key questions such as why, how, when and who? BUT keep it as an overview and do not copy out information. Point out interesting features and how they contribute towards the purpose of the article e.g. a park which offers something for all ages makes it appealing to a wide range of visitors, which is good for business. By going this, you are showing a range and depth of reading.
Make closely-argued and sophisticated points, explaining why certain language techniques are effective and what effect they have.
Structuring your essay (2)
Checklist of features
Emotive language (Be specific: verbs, adjectives, adverbs, nouns)
Metaphor (is it an extended metaphor?)
Structuring your essay (3)
Listing (in threes)
Paragraphs (length and variety)
Punctuation (exclamation/ellipsis/bullet points)
Logo (e.g. where it is positioned, how many times?)
Structuring your essay (4)
REMEMBER WHEN COMMENTING ON LANGUAGE, YOU MUST TALK ABOUT ITS EFFECT AND PURPOSE FOR BEING IN THE TEXT - Use 'PEC' (Point-Evidence-Comment)
E.g. There are several photos contained of riders (point) and in the background a sophisticated background image of a motorcyclist can be seen (evidence). This is hazy, and could suggest the idea of a crash, giving the readers the other dimension to riding (comment).
E.g. 2 The article utilises direct, straightforward ideas and words such as 'to keep out of trouble, you've got to be good.' This is done to express the advice clearly and succinctly. Using simple words means everyone can understand it.
Structuring your essay (5)
Discuss the impact of photographs, drawings, maps and captions. You can comment on their placement, size and design. Link them to the points you made earlier and make it clear what they add to the text. DO NOT DESCRIBE THEM IN DETAIL, focus on their FUNCTION.
5. Evaluative Conclusion
State whether you feel the text has achieved its opinion and comment on whether you think it is effective. Offer suggestions about how it could have been better. Show the examiner you are still looking at the text, even offer a quotation or a slogan.
Final thought: Make sure you have covered all areas of the text. At least refer to a section of unexplored test in your conclusion if you are pushed for time. Mention as many points as possible!