Physical education

If GCSE PE sparked your interest in the anatomy, the physiology and the impact psychology has on sports performers, then A level PE is the course for you. A level PE takes the learning experience to the next level, providing opportunities to deepen understanding through a mixture of both classroom-based and physical activities.

A level PE will give students a fascinating insight into the world of sports performance, diet and nutrition and a vast range of knowledge into the 'how and the why' of physical activity and sport, making PE a well-rounded qualification to undertake. Students who have completed an A level in PE can progress onto many different university courses that could enable them to become teachers, coaches, physiotherapists, personal trainers or even diet and fitness instructors. 

Why study PE?

A level PE has been designed to allow students to study physical education in an academic setting, enabling them to critically analyse and evaluate their physical performance and apply their experience of practical activity in developing their knowledge and understanding of the subject. Throughout the two years students will learn about physiological, psychological and sociocultural factors that influence performance in sport and physical activity.


A level Physical Education

Awarding body


Entry requirements

Pass in English and maths, 5 or more grades at 5+ (this can include English and maths), if PE has been studied at KS4 a Distinction or grade 6 is required. You must also regularly play sport at a competitive level.

Year 12

A level PE is split into a number of topics which explore physiological, psychological and socio-cultural factors as they relate to different aspects of physical activity and sport.

In their first year of study students will develop theoretical knowledge of physiological factors and psychological factors which affect performance in sports. Throughout Year 12, students are expected to refine their ability to perform effectively in a chosen physical activity

Year 13

In their second year, in addition to physiological and psychological factors, students will also study key socio-cultural factors that influence people's involvement in physical activity and sport. Throughout Year 13, students are expected to continue to refine their ability to perform effectively in a chosen physical activity. Students will also develop their ability to analyse and evaluate sports performance in order to make necessary improvements.


A Level PE requires students to take 3 externally assessed, written examination papers on topics relating to the curriculum at the end of their study.

Paper 1 – Physiological Factors Affecting Performance is worth 90 marks and 30% of the total qualification.

Paper 2 – Psychological Factors Affecting Performance is worth 60 marks and 20% of the total qualification as is Paper 3 – Socio-Cultural Issues In Physical Activity and Sport. Students are also assessed practically via a non-exam assessment and are expected to refine their ability to perform effectively in a physical activity chosen from the specification and should independently develop relevant skills, techniques and tactics as well as being able to analyse and evaluate a performance in a chosen activity as part of their NEA– this is assessed internally.

PE has opened my eyes to the amount of sport that is involved in everyday life. It links with many other subjects in school, supporting and boosting knowledge. We explore many interesting topics like biomechanics, joints and muscles of the body and even the history of sport in Britain.
Year 13 student