A Level Film Studies – intensive one year course

Is Film Studies really a soft option? An A Level that covers history, philosophy, psychology, cultural studies, business studies as well as giving you the opportunity to stretch yourself creatively is far from being an easy ride. Alongside that, you do also get to spend a couple of hours of your College week sitting in the dark watching classic films, of course. In fact, regular homework you will be set is to ‘watch more films’.

The key benefit of a one-year Film course at RIC is the amazing results that can be achieved in a year – 100% A*-C grades for our 2014-15 one-year students. In fact one student last year managed an A grade in just two terms and even he would agree that he wasn’t the most hardworking student. While A Level Film isn’t one of the ‘facilitating subjects’, it definitely helps facilitate students’ entry to top universities, with many students studying Film alongside more traditional A Levels – a typical combination might be English Literature, History and Film. A student who went on to study Physics at Cambridge also took Film A Level – he found it quite hard! In the last two years RIC students have also gone to study Film Studies at some of the top rated universities for the subject including King’s College, London and Warwick University.

Alice, 2nd year Archaeology student, University of Reading, noted:

 “With Film Studies being my highest grade at A Level with an A*, it definitely helped me to secure my university place”
Jack, a recent Film Studies graduate from University of Essex noted: “A Level Film Studies helped my other studies, especially English as the analytical skills could be applied to both areas. It also made a nice change from the facts of History and Sociology”


The weighting of coursework is also a key attraction of Film Studies – with 45% based on two coursework units and only two exams – worth 55% of the total grade. This is a definite advantage if exams aren’t your strong point. The coursework provides students with the freedom to tailor the course to their own interests and enthusiasms. Students can choose films and topics that they enjoy, sometimes providing interesting links with their other A Levels. In recent years, coursework research has included the representation of gender in Disney films (perhaps proving that it really is a Mickey Mouse subject!); the depiction of war on film; the gothic genre; and the film scores of Hans Zimmer. The essay-based written coursework and research at A2 provides students with essential study skills and a firm foundation for the independent study required at university. Help with coursework is provided every step of the way and we expect the highest grades from our students.

If you’ve ever watched a film and thought ‘I could do better than that’, then here’s your chance. The practical coursework – making a short film at AS and A2 Level – is a popular aspect of the course. There’s no need for any technical expertise as we show you how to use the digital cameras and editing on Adobe Premiere. We also have professional lights and a green screen for creating original effects. Recent student work has included stalking doppelgangers; voyeuristic horror; a martial arts showdown; and a love letter to London. If your creative talents lie more in writing, then there is also the option at A2 to write a screenplay extract where you can really let your imagination run wild.

A level Film studiesStudents enjoy the interpretative nature of the subject and the discursive nature of lessons helps students develop their confidence in offering their own opinions. Lessons are far from the ‘chalk and talk’ of more traditional schools, with the style of teaching echoing that of universities with student contributions as valuable to learning as the opinions of the teachers. The exams are essay-based so structure and style are taught to help students prepare for timed writing. A number of the teachers are past and present examiners for the specification so we have a detailed understanding of the exam requirements and can teach accordingly.

Rob Byrne, a second year Sociology student at the University of Kent and an RIC A Level Film graduate of 2012-13, said that while Film was far from being easy, it provided him with an alternative to his more exam-based subjects and helped him to develop his own analytical voice academically.

As director Martin Scorsese notes: “Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds.”

Studying Film at RIC can do all of these things and gain you the grade you need for your future.

Lisa Herron, Head of Film and Media


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