Sport & Physical Education A Level

The A Level Physical Education course is a very challenging subject covering many diverse areas including Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Sports Psychology, Sport and Society and Technology in Sport.

It aims to equip students with both a depth and breadth of knowledge, understanding and skills relating to scientific, sociocultural and practical aspects of physical education. As well as giving students, the opportunity to learn theoretically and in a practical context, the course allows students to optimise practical performance in a chosen sport, through performance, analysis and evaluation in competitive situations.


Link: AQA Course Specification (PDF)


The course is divided into two sections:

  1. Theory: 70%
  2. Non-Examined Assessment (Practical and Written Coursework): 30%

The course is assessed through 2 written examinations, taken at the end of the two year course. Each examination lasts for 2 hours and contributes 35% of the A Level grade.

Paper 1 – Factors affecting participation in physical activity and sport, which covers the following topics:

  • Section A: Applied anatomy and physiology – including cardiovascular, respiratory and neuromuscular systems and their response to exercise.
  • Section B: Skill acquisition – including transfer of skills; how we learn and the use of guidance and feedback to help performance.
  • Section C: Sport and society – including changes in sport from preindustrial through to modern day society and how sociological factors, such as gender can influence participation.


Paper 2 – Factors affecting optimal performance in physical activity and sport, which covers the following topics:

  • Section A: Exercise physiology and biomechanics – including diet and nutrition; preparation and training for performance; injury prevention and rehabilitation; levers and motion for people and sporting implements.
  • Section B: Sport psychology – including personality; arousal; anxiety; attitudes; aggression; goal setting; self-confidence; leadership and how these influence sporting participation and performance.
  • Section C: Sport and society and technology in sport including development of elite performers; ethics, violence and drugs in sport; sport and the law and the role technology plays in developing performance.
Non-Examined Assessment

Practical performance in physical activity and sport, which consists of an assessment of performance or coaching in the full-sided version of one sport and a written analysis of performance.


A Level Physical Education is useful for Sports Science, Physiotherapy, Education, Health Related Fitness Industry, Leisure and Tourism Industry, the Armed Forces and the Police Force. Three recent former students are currently pursing professional careers with Somerset County Cricket and Exeter Chiefs, whilst two are on Sports Scholarships at University in the United States.


Candidates should have at least five Grade 4s or above (A*-C) at GCSE level. In addition, a good pass in GCSE Physical Education. In individual cases students who have not done GCSE Physical Education may also be considered for the course. Students also need to have a good standard of practical performance. In the case of students new to the school they will be required to provide evidence of their practical achievements.