You may have several reasons for choosing to study this subject but the most important requirement is a genuine love of sport. Owing to the multi-dimensional nature of the subject, it is suitable to students from a wide variety of subject backgrounds and offers the possibility to explore current issues in sport.

The syllabus studied is the AQA Advanced Subsidiary and Advanced Level GCE. The AS course is made up of 2 units, unit 1 is examined in a written paper and unit 2 is a practical performance as either a performer, coach or an official. In the first unit you will come to a clear understanding of how the quality and effectiveness of performance are influenced and affected by your physical and mental well-being and preparation.

Physiological and Psychological factors are linked and inter-related to explain how they affect participation, preparation, performance and improvement in performance. Also you will examine the socio-cultural and historical effects on participation in physical activity and their influence on performance. You will look at the concepts of physical education, leisure and recreation and how the nature, rationale and priority for them have changed over time. The second unit asks you to analyse and evaluate a physical activity as a performer or in an adopted role. Candidates perform, analyse and evaluate the execution of core skills/techniques in isolation and in structured practice as either a player/performer and in an adopted role or two adopted roles.

The A2 course draws and develops concepts from AS, as well as introducing new subject areas with a focus upon sport at elite level. It consists of two units of which Unit 3 (PHED 3) is a 2 hour written exam and Unit 4 (PHED 4) is a practical component. Unit 3 is divided into 3 sections. Section A looks at the physiological factors that optimise performance. Section B covers the psychological aspects that optimise performance and Section C evaluates contemporary influences on elite performance.

The final unit is a practical unit that is based on utilising the knowledge and understanding developed from the course to improve their personal performance, as a practical performer, coach/leader or official in one activity. This can be the same activity as used at AS. The students should use the experiences gained in Unit 2 as a foundation and strive to optimise their performance in one of the nominated roles. In order to optimise performance in competitive or performance conditions, candidates will need to evaluate the quality and level of their own/others performance. They achieve this through identifying their own weaknesses, suggesting and implementing a programme for improvement and then evaluating whether the changes have enabled the performer to optimise their performance.

Through this analysis and evaluation the coursework in Unit 4 is designed to give candidates the context for the application of their knowledge and understanding from all the units of the GCE course.