Introduction to Creative iMedia


In this page I’d like to guide you through what the Creative iMedia course is, and make sure that you have all the information that you need to ensure you can make the right choice if you are considering the course as one of your learning options.

Please note – this introduction covers the J807/817 specification which will end in June 2023. The last teaching year will therefore be 2022 to 2023 for Year 11 students.

What is Creative iMedia?

Creative iMedia is a KS4 Cambridge National qualification offered by the exam board OCR. A Cambridge National qualification are comparable to GCSE’s.

The Creative iMedia course is split up into 4 parts for the J817 Certificate (a full GCSE):

  • R081 – a mandatory exam worth 25% of your final grade
  • R082 – a mandatory coursework module worth 25% of your final grade
  • A second coursework module (R083 – R092) normally chosen by the teacher worth 25% of your final grade
  • A third coursework module (R083 – R092) normally chosen by the teacher worth 25% of your final grade

The 2 optional modules must be different and these are normally chosen by the teacher teaching the course dependent on school equipment and expertise in the department.

The J817 Certificate takes place over 120 guided learning hours.

If you are taking the J807 Award (similar to a short course GCSE) you will only take the 2 mandatory modules, R081 and R082 with 60 guided learning hours

When do I do the coursework?

The coursework will be scheduled to take place during your normal lessons but you will only be given a set amount of time to complete the modules (as there is a lot to get through!) so you will need to ensure that you are working at pace in lessons and getting through the work set. Coursework is required to be done while under supervision so it must be completed with the teacher present in lessons. If you don’t manage to get your coursework done during the lessons, most schools offer extra sessions after school or at break times for students to catch up on missed lessons or where they haven’t managed to complete the work set.

When will I hand in the coursework?

Your teacher will tell you when you need to hand in your coursework and should give you a set timetable for this. With 3 coursework modules to do, you will be given equal time for each one and you will be submitting them to your teacher for marking when you have completed the module. If you didn’t do well in your first submission of a coursework module, you are allowed to resubmit with corrections only once per coursework module. The best way to get top marks, and avoid having to re-submit, is to look at the mark scheme that your teacher provides and ensure that you fulfil all of the marking criteria from the mark scheme. You should also ensure that you follow the guidance offered by your teacher in order to gain the best marks possible.

When do I do the R081 exam?

The exam can be done at any time during the 2 year course – your teacher will decide when you will be entered into the exam. There are 2 points in the year when exams take place, normally in January and May/June (summer) depending on the exam timetable. Your teacher may decide to enter you into the R081 exam early, or they may decide to enter you into the exam when you take the rest of your exams in the summer of Year 11. As you can retake the exam (but only once) most teachers chose to enter students in a January sitting then if they don’t perform as well as expected or if they are unable to sit the exam due to exceptional circumstances, they can then resit in the Summer exam series.

Sitting the exam early is a benefit and definitely recommended where possible. It allows you to work out how many marks you might need to get in your final coursework submission so you can work out what overall grade you could get. While this isn’t an exact science, and does depend on how many marks you need in your final piece of coursework, it does give you an idea of where you need to aim for.

Why should I take Creative iMedia?

Creative iMedia is great for students wanting to get a career in the creative digital industries (a growing industry in the UK worth millions) and who want to further their studies in this field in College. You’ll be able to get hands on with software and hardware (depending on the module) to create digital media such as digital graphics, videos, sounds, websites etc.

The course allows you to experience the full process of creating digital media from initial concept and pre-production, through to creating the final product. For the coursework modules, you get to try out different roles in the creative process, from researcher, designer through to product developer so it gives you a really broad look at the whole process and what each job entails.

With 75% of your grade coming from coursework, this is a great course for those who are able to crack on and get on with their work and self motivate themselves. The coursework has to be done by you, and there is a lot to do within the 2 year course so being able to break down a large project into smaller tasks helps as well as being able to stay motivated when there is a lot going on.

Why might Creative iMedia not be a good idea for me?

If you don’t like working on computers, or creating digital media like graphics, websites or videos this probably isn’t the course for you.

If you aren’t self motivated and don’t like working to a deadline, this also might not be the right course for you as 75% of your grade comes from your coursework which you have to put in the effort to do. Your teacher can’t do it for you.

You will also need to think about the college or sixth form that you are planning on attending in the future as well. Some colleges and sixth forms do not accept grades from Cambridge Nationals towards their entrance requirements (though they are GCSE equivalents). This might not be an issue if you are taking 7+ GCSE’s as your other grades will probably fit their entrance requirements but if you are taking a lot of BTEC and Cambridge National courses this could cause a problem further on down the line. This is definitely worth checking out before you make a decision about taking the course but for most people, it shouldn’t make a difference.

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