students working together

(OCR) A-Level Media Studies


If you want to become more confident in discussing ideas and important issues, learn more about how producers communicate ideas to the audience, and show off your practical skills by devising and creating your own media production, then you really need to pick A Level Media Studies. OCR’s specification gives you lots of opportunities to apply critical and theoretical frameworks to media texts so you can develop your understanding of their impact on the world.

This overview of the specification includes information about what to expect int the exam and some thoughts about the coursework (NEA).

Summary of Assessment

There are two examination papers, both worth 35% of the overall grade, and a cross-media product which makes up the final 30%.

Media Messages

Media Messages is the first paper. There are 70 marks available, the exam lasts for 2 hours and it is divided into two sections.

Section A: News and Online Media

This section focuses on contemporary news in the UK. You need to explore how and why newspapers continue to evolve as media products and analyse the relationship between both online and offline news. You are expected to study:

Section B: Media Language and Representation

Once again, OCR sets which media texts for study, but they will be in the following forms: magazines, advertising, and marketing and music videos.

  • Old Spice advertisement
  • Lucozade advertisement
  • Shelter advertisement
  • The Big Issue

You need to choose one text from List A

  • Corinne Bailey Rae – Stop Where You Are
  • Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy
  • Emeli Sandé – Heaven

You also need to pick a music video from List B

  • Fatboy Slim – Ya Mama
  • Radiohead – Burn the Witch
  • David Guetta – Titanium

Evolving Media

The second paper is called Evolving Media. It is marked out of 70 and the exam lasts for 2 hours. Again, there are two sections.

Section A: Media Industries and Audiences

Section B: Long Form Television Drama

You must study two complete episodes of the television dramas listed below. Pick one US English Language programme form List A and one European non-English language show from List B:

  • Mr Robot
  • House of Cards
  • Homeland
  • Stranger Things

Making Media (NEA)

One of the reasons why students are attracted to the subject is the opportunity to create a cross-media product. Your responses are marked out of 60 and the results makes up 30% of the total A level.

You are expected to complete a Statement of Intent which outlines how your products demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the key concepts in media studies. If you would like know more about this part of the Making Media component, you should look at our statement of intent examples. Your response should be around 500 words.

The NEA briefs are set by OCR and they change each year. However, you will have to satisfy certain requirements for each media form if you want to achieve the top marks. For example, if you are expected to deliver a television extract, it needs to last three minutes. Anything less than that amount could cost you marks.

For more information about the length and scope of each product, you should read our guide to the indicative content. We have suggested amounts for websites, magazines, newspapers, film trailers, advertisements and other media forms.

OCR A2 Level

Media Studies

Past Papers and Mark Schemes

The following pdf files from OCR’s website will open in new tabs.


Question PaperMark Scheme
Media Messages SAM (includes mark scheme) 
Evolving Media SAM (includes mark scheme) 
2019 Media Messages2019 Media Messages Mark Scheme
2019 Evolving Media2019 Evolving Media Mark Scheme
2020 Media Messages2020 Media Messages Mark Scheme
2020 Evolving Media2020 Evolving Media Mark Scheme


Question PaperMark Scheme
Media Today SAM (includes mark scheme) 
2019 Media Today2019 Media Today

Further Reading

Thanks for reading!