Preparing for Component 3 – Listening and Analysing

In by phoenixgreen

Component 3 - Revision Sessions
Completing Component 3 - Listening and Analysing:

Component 3 Overview:

In these revision sessions, we will focus on the component 3 listening and analysing exam. This exam brings together all of the knowledge and understanding from the full course including all 3 areas of study. The full A Level and AS are slightly different and the depth of the content will be more extensive in the full A Level.

In these sessions, each of the areas of study that apply to this component will be broken down into bight size chucks. Each topic will include various multi-media resources to better consolidate your understanding.

This component will test your Knowledge and understanding of recording and production techniques and principles, in the context of a series of unfamiliar commercial recordings supplied by Pearson.

A Level Component 3: 

The A Level Component 3 is separated into 2 sections A and B. Section A is made up of 4 general listening questions whilst section B is focused on 2 extended written responses. Section A is worth 40 marks (10 marks each) whilst section B is worth 35 marks, 15 marks for the comparison question and 20 marks for the technical based question.

This component is worth 75 marks and takes 1 hour 30 minutes to complete. Component 3 is worth 25% of the full qualification

AS Component 3:

The AS Component 3 is separated into 2 sections A and B. Section A is made up of 4 general listening questions whilst section B is focused on 1 extended written response question. Section A is worth 44 marks, whilst section B is worth 16 marks  for the comparison question.

This component is worth 60 marks and takes 1 hour 15 minutes to complete. Component 3 is worth 25% of the full qualification

Key Topics and Areas of Study:

Area of study 1 - Recording and production techniques for both corrective and creative purpose:

  • Capture of sound
  • Synthesis
  • Sampling
  • Sequencing
  • Audio Editing
  • Pitch and Rhythm Correction and Manipulation
  • Automation
  • Dynamic Processing
  • Stereo
  • EQ
  • Effects
  • Balance and Blend
  • Mastering

Area of study 2 - Principles of sound and audio technology:

  • Acoustics
  • Leads and signal
  • Numeracy (A Level only)
  • Levels

Area of study 3 - The development of recording and production technology:

  • Software and Hardware: Digital
  • Hardware: Analogue

History and development questions can come from the following areas:

Students are required to develop knowledge and understanding of the history and development of recording and production technology, from current digital technologies back to the mono, analogue recording technologies in the 1930s, through the following eras:

  • Digital audio workstations (DAW) and emerging technologies(c.1996–present day)
  • Digital recording and sequencing (c.1980–present day) Large-scale analogue multitrack (c.1969–1995)
  • Early multitrack recording(c.1964–1969)
  • Direct to tape mono recording (c.1930–1963).

Listening examples can come from the following musical styles:

Students should have knowledge and understanding of the instruments, the sounds associated with them and the combination of instruments and voices used in the following styles:

  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Rock ’n’ roll
  • Rock
  • Metal
  • Punk
  • Soul
  • Disco and funk
  • Reggae
  • Acoustic and folk
  • Commercial pop
  • Urban
  • Electronic and dance.
  • Music for the media – computer game and film.

Your Exam Preparations

Each revision session will contain a range of resources and information to help you with your exam preparations. These resources have been carefully planned and organised to give you the most effective experience.

Our Method to develop understanding consists of 3 areas ‘Discover, Explore and Apply’. Through this method of study you will gain the knowledge you need to be successful in your exams and course.

To apply this method the revision sessions have been organised with the following activities:


  • Discover – Introduction Presentation

  • Explore – Research Questions

  • Apply – Practical Tasks

Further resources to help with this topic / Area of study:


  • Topic List and Discussion

  • Example Exam Questions

  • Topic Mind Map

  • Topic Revision Cards

  • Practice Paper (Not Topic Specific)

  • External Revision Resource Links

Mind Map

Explore this topic further and gain some key information, that will aid your exam preparations

Revision Cards

Consolidate this information and test your understanding with topic revision cards

Component 3 - Practice Papers

On the lead up to your exam you should aim to do at least 1 practice paper a week (NOT TOPIC SPECIFIC)

Get Involved

Q&A sessions can be a fantastic way of getting involved in helping provide resources or getting your questions answered by the community.