A-Level Physical Education

A-Level PE (Physical Education)

By studying PE, you will have the opportunity to review your current participation in physical activity and identify opportunities for you to further participation. You will learn about sports from the basic to elite level. You will also learn about healthy lifestyles, fitness, training and preparation for sports activities.

A-Level PE

A specific arrangement of units is required for certification, made up of two AS-Level units and two A2 level units. You will study four units and the assessment for A-Level PE is by coursework and exams.

Over the course, you will undergo at least 360 guided learning hours over a two-year period. These guided learning hours are levels set by the government on how much time the tutor at your sixth form or college has to be present to give guidance (such as lectures, tutorials etc.) towards your award.

AS-Level PE

  • AQA AS-Level PE

In the Opportunities For and The Effects of Leading a Healthy and Active Lifestyle unit, you will learn about exercise physiology, nutrition and movement. You will also learn about how skills are acquired and how psychological factors can affect performance. In the Analysis and Evaluation of Physical Activity as a Performer and/or in an Adopted Role(s) you will analyse your own performance and the performance of others in activities. You will also explore the roles of performer, official and coach.

  • Edexcel AS-Level PE

In Participation in Sport and Recreation, you will develop knowledge about healthy and active lifestyles, how the body responds and adapts to exercise and fitness training. You will also learn about the development of competitive sport over time. In The Critical Sports Performer, you will be able to study the roles of player, leader and official and you will undertake two of these roles over a period.

  • WJEC AS-Level PE

In the Improving Performance in Physical Education, you can focus on improving your own performance or improving your health, fitness and wellbeing. Both of these will require you to produce a personal performance profile. In Active Lifestyles and Physical Education, you will explore lifestyle choices, opportunities for physical activity, the benefits of activity and the role of nutrition in performance and life.

  • OCR AS-Level PE

In An Introduction to Physical Education, you will study anatomy and physiology, movement skills and socio-cultural studies relating to participation in physical activities. In Acquiring, Developing and Evaluating Practical Skills in Physical Education, you will focus on performance, planning and evaluating to improve performance.

  • University of Cambridge International Examinations AS-Level PE

You will learn about applied anatomy and physiology and acquiring, developing and performing movement skills. You will also learn about the conceptual basis of PE and sport, such as leisure and recreation, concepts of play and concepts of sport. You will also develop an understanding of how to achieve excellence in sport, focusing on a country of your choice.

A2-Level PE

The A2 PE is the equivalent of the second year of study of A-Level PE. This is not a separate award. The A2 –Level PE with the AS-Level PE makes up the A-Level PE.  The A2-Level PE will further develop your knowledge from AS-Level PE.

  • AQA A2 PE

In the Optimising Performance and Evaluating Contemporary Issues within Sport unit, you will apply your knowledge of physiology to optimise performance. You will also study further psychological aspects to optimise performance and you will explore contemporary sports issues such as World Games and Sport England. In Optimising Practical Performance in a Competitive Situation, you will focus on improving your own performance in one of the three roles of performer, coach or official.

  • Edexcel A2 PE

In Preparation for Optimum Sports Performance, you will study the short and long-term physiological and psychological preparations made by elite athletes. In the Developing Sports Performance, you will specialise in a practical performance role, undertake research into roles internationally and you will produce a physical activity plan of future activities.

  • WJEC A2 PE

The first A2 unit, Refining Performance in Physical Education will allow you to select one activity in which you can improve as a performer, coach or official. In Performance, Provision and Participation in Physical Education you will learn about how to refine sporting performance and enhance health, commercialisation of sport, science and technology in sport. You will also learn about social, economic, cultural and ethical factors that may influence involvement in physical activities.

  • OCR AS-Level PE

In Principles and Concepts across Different Areas of Physical Education, you can choose to focus on historical or comparative studies for the socio-cultural option. For the scientific options you can choose, sports psychology, biomechanics or exercise and sport physiology. In The Improvement of Effective Performance and the Critical Evaluation of Practical Activities in Physical Education, you will be able to evaluate, appreciate and improve performance.

  • University of Cambridge International Examinations A2 PE

In Exercise and Sport Physiology, you will develop your knowledge of anatomy and physiology, with an emphasis on energy, training and fitness. You will also explore Psychology of Sport Performance, where you will learn about theories for individual aspects, as well as group dynamics, mental preparation and competition. You will also learn about the Olympic Games from a global perspective.

A-Level PE Exam Board Information

  • The AQA A-Level PE specification is available on the AQA website.
  • The specification for the WJEC AS and A-Level PE is available here.
  • The Edexcel A-Level PE specification is available from their website.
  • The OCR A-Level PE specification is available here.
  • The University of Cambridge International Examinations A-Level PE specification is available on the CIE website.

Career Opportunities

Most people study A-Level PE so that they can study a variety of PE-based subject at university, such as Health Related Exercise and Fitness, Physical Education and Youth Sport, Sports Science, Sports Coaching, Physical and Outdoor Education. A number of students may also progress to further training in the leisure or fitness industries after completing A-Levels. Some students also wish to teach PE.

Other Useful Information

  • Edexcel past papers and exemplar materials are available on their website.
  • AQA past papers and other resources for A-Level PE are available on the AQA website.
  • WJEC have a variety of past papers available on their website.
  • OCR has a selection of past papers available for A-Level PE.
  • University of Cambridge International Examinations A-Level PE past papers are available.
  • This site has a variety of PE and Sports Coaching resources, including technique videos.
  • Revisionworld offers a selection of AS and A-Level PE revision resources.