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Media - Perfect fit

It is not often a teacher has no complaints about an exam paper, not even a minor one. Mary Birch was delighted to report that this year's Higher presented no concerns.

Ms Birch, who teaches English as well as media studies at Aberdeen's Harlaw Academy, explained how the two subjects' papers tended to differ. In English, a pupil can study certain texts and themes, but "sometimes the question just won't fit". In media studies "you can't go far wrong", as the questions can usually be adapted to whatever has been studied.

In the first section, on media analysis, Harlaw pupils could show off their understanding of Steven Spielberg's film of JG Ballard's Empire of the Sun (pictured), and a controversial Irn Bru advertising campaign featuring an aggressive Glaswegian in a cuckoo costume. Questions in the second section, on media production, covered cyber-bullying and cyber- dating, which were easier topics for teenagers to relate to than in some past papers.

Intermediate 2, was equally fair. The reflective question, as last year, homed in on a specific stage of production. In previous years, Ms Birch explained, this question had been less focused and, as a result, trickier.

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