A Level Physical Education

What does the course aim to do?

Physical Education at A Level will allow you to incorporate a broad base of academic study with an appreciation of how theory can be applied to physical situations. As part of the assessment there will be the opportunity to demonstrate your prowess in your chosen activity.

What will I be studying and how will l be assessed?

Content Overview

Assessment Overview

Percentage of Total

Applied Anatomy & PhysiologyPhysiological Factors Affecting Performance (01)30% of the total A Level
Exercise Physiology90 marks
Biomechanics2 hour written paper
Skill AcquisitionPsychological Factors Affecting Performance (02)20% of the total A level
Sport Psychology60 marks
Sport and SocietySocio-cultural Issues in Physical Activity and Sport (03)20% of the total A level
Contemporary Issues in Physical Activity and Sport60 marks
Performance or CoachingPerformance in Physical Activity (04)30% of the total A Level
Evaluation and Analysis of Performance60 marks

Unit 01 – Physiological Factors Affecting Performance

Applied Anatomy and Physiology

  • A study of the skeletal and muscular systems and the analysis of movement during physical activity and sport
    Cardiovascular and respiratory systems – functions of and the relationship between the heart and the respiratory systems at rest and during different intensities of exercise.
  • The use of differing energy systems during physical activity together with the recovery process
    Environmental effects such as training/performance at altitude and in the heat
  • The importance of preparation and training methods in relation to improving and maintaining physical activity and performance
  • Injury prevention and the rehabilitation of injury


  • Biomechanical principles such as levers, force and Newton’s Laws
  • Analysis of movement through the use of technology
  • Linear motion, angular motion, fluid mechanics and projectile motion

Unit 02 – Psychological Factors Affecting Performance  Skill Acquisition

  • Classification of movement skills and the types of practice, transfer and guidance used in the
    phases of learning
  • Principles and theories of learning
    Memory models and feedback

Sport Psychology

  • Individual differences such as personality, attitudes, motivation and anxiety
  • Aggression and social facilitation in sport
  • Group and team dynamics in sport
  • Goal setting in sports performance
  • The effects of confidence, self-efficacy, attribution and leadership on performance
  • The management of stress to organise performance

Unit 03 – Socio-cultural Issues in Physical Activity and Sport

Socio-Cultural Studies Relating to Physical Activity

  • The emergence and evolution of modern sport from pre-industrial and post-industrial times to the 20th and 21st centuries
  • Global sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup
  • Contemporary issues affecting performance in sport; drugs and doping, violence and gambling
  • Commercialisation and its positive and negative effects on sport
  • Routes to sporting excellence
  • Modern technology in sport and its impact on elite level sport, participation in sport, fair outcomes and entertainment in sport

Unit 04 – Performance or Coaching and Evaluation and Analysis for the Improvement of Performance

Performance or Coaching

  • Assessment in the performance or coaching of one activity
  • Oral assessment relating to the observation and analysis of one sport, resulting in the production of an action plan to improve performance

Am I suited to this subject?

This may be a new subject in terms of the theoretical areas and so you should have a genuine interest in studying how the theoretical aspects of this subject can affect physical performance.
It is important that you have an interest in sport and preferably have recently represented the school and/or a club in one or more sports.

Where will it lead in the future?

Physical Education at Advanced Level may lead to degree course study in any sports related discipline whether it is in teaching, sports management, sport science or physiotherapy. However, you may simply opt for this course because you enjoy PE and Sport.

A Level Physical Education is an extremely diverse A Level and compliments many other A Level subjects. Previous A Level Physical Education students; as well as sport related degrees, have gone on to study Architecture, Medicine, Business Studies, Law and other non-sport subjects.

How will I study?

Throughout the course there will be a strong emphasis on linking all the theoretical areas to practical situations. There will also be practical lessons on a regular basis, covering a range of sports.

What will I need to do myself?

When you have enrolled on the A Level Physical Education course you must be willing to spend time outside lessons in extra reading as well as showing an enthusiasm for developing the skills within your chosen sport.

Why should I come to Canon Slade to study P.E.?

A level Physical Education is a highly successful subject at Canon Slade, with students frequently achieving results above their target grades. In recent years the school has been in the top 25% in the country and has gained awards from the Good Schools Guide for the best results at any English school.

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