Revision and Key Word Glossary

Here are some tips which may help you during your revision for your GCSE P.E Exam.
There is also a glossary of key words and terms you should be familiar with at the bottom of the page.

Revision - Approach

  • If you feel it will help you, set a revision timetable, revising certain subjects at certain times.
  • If you feel the need for silence while revising, try to make this possible.
  • If you like to work to music, get some headphones and listen to your favourite album whilst you work. Try to listen to something that is familiar and "one of your favourites" - this will help to put you in a positive frame of mind during your revision - it can also reduce the risk of distraction, under the right circumstances.
  • Make sure you have a break from revision - try to arrange things so that you have a "day off" revising. This will mean when you re-start your revision, you will be a little fresher.
  • Try to revise one section of notes, or one set of topics together.
  • If you have trouble with specific details of topics, at least try to understand the topic generally and try not to get too bogged down with details. If you just choose to "ignore" topics, you may be limiting your options too much when it comes to answering questions - try to gain a broad understanding, as this is often sufficient to answer most or part of a question. (Quite often, details are supplied anyway - you just have to tie them together.)

Revision - Techniques

  • Try to develop your own technique for revision. Different techniques work for different people and depending on the type of subject being revised, some techniques are more suitable than others. Here are some:-
  • Read and Memorise.
  • Summary notes - short version of main notes.
  • List of keywords for each topic covered, which can act as "triggers" for other ideas.
  • Some kind of diagrammatic representation of notes can be helpful.
  • Revise with a friend or colleague - if possible, exchange ideas during revision - this can be very helpful to both people in understanding topics and building confidence.
  • Questions and Answers - get a friend to ask you specific questions about topics and think up questions to ask your friend. This will test and help to build your own understanding.
  • Make up a set of revision cards - with one main topic per card, each topic listing ideas or information for this topic. You can carry these cards with you and, if you choose, get them out and revise whilst a passenger in a car or on the bus or train, or when queuing somewhere.
  • If possible, ask your teacher or tutor to revise topics you are unsure about and try to get the tutor to help you to fully understand the topic.

Exam Preparation

  • Try not to treat the exam as anything other than a normal school or college day, other than that you are doing an exam. Try to follow your normal routine as this will help you relax.
  • Try to think that at least after the exam, you can relax and won't have to do any further revision - this will help you relax before the event too.
  • Get a good night's sleep - do not stay up till "all hours" revising unless you feel this is vital. A final review of topics and a review of your "strong" and "weaker" areas would be best.
  • Take sufficient pens / pencil, rubber ruler etc. Try to use the same pens etc. as you would normally use in class as this too, can be a small psychological booster - just use new pens for "spares".
  • Take a wristwatch or small traveller's clock - make sure any alarms / hourly chimes are disabled.
  • Relax!

Before The Exam

  • Make your way slowly to your position and sit yourself comfortably.
  • Make sure you listen very carefully to instructions that are given or any announcements that are made. If anything is unclear, ask questions before you start as this may save you a great deal of time later.
  • Set out your pens / pencils etc. and set up your clock or wristwatch so that you can see it just by looking up and not having to move anything out of the way.
  • Make sure that you have everything necessary - question paper, answer papers, additional sheets etc. Ask the invigilator if something appears to be missing.

The Exam Itself

  • Read all the paper and all the instructions carefully - check that you know exactly how many questions you have to answer and carefully note any constraints such as "Answer 1 question from each section" or "Answer 2 questions from Section A and 1 question from Section B" etc.
  • "Speed Read" the paper to get an idea of what questions are in it but then...
  • Read each question carefully and thoroughly and make sure you understand what it is asking. Read all parts of the question before deciding whether or not to answer it.
  • Try work out how much time you will need to answer each question, but allow some time for reading / checking at the end of the time.
  • Try to write neatly.
  • If you are doing mathematical questions always show your working. Simply stating an answer will not get full marks. If you get a question partially correct, and have shown your working, you may be given some marks.
  • Relax as much as possible and try to think clearly and keep confident.
  • In a given question, concentrate of what you do know rather than what you don't know.
  • Use what you know to maximum effect, but remember to ANSWER THE QUESTION.
  • Do the questions you feel most confident about first (it rarely matters which order you answer questions in). This will help to build your confidence and you may find yourself remembering more things.
  • Sometimes, intense thought whilst answering a question can facilitate understanding. If you find this happening, try to use it to maximum effect.
  • Keep thinking positive and do the best you can. Just answer as much as you can.
  • If, after reading a question, you genuinely feel it is ambiguous or too broadly based, state this in the first part of your answer and explain briefly your reason for trying to answer a question in a particular way. The examiner will then have a better chance of empathising with your answer.
  • Answer the question.
  • Relax!


GCSE Physical Education – Glossary of terms


Something performed with beauty and sensitivity, pleasing the performer and the spectator

Aerobic energy

Energy expended over a long period of time which requires oxygen

Active Opposition

Opponents in a practice situation who are actively involved


The ability to move the body in space at speed under control.


Small air sacks in the lungs where gaseous exchange takes place


A sportsperson, usually part-time who competes without getting paid

Amino acids

Substances which link together to form protein molecules. Used by the body to build tissue


Deficiency or poor quality of red corpuscles in the blood (lack of haemoglobin)

Anaerobic energy

Energy expended in short bursts, which does not require oxygen

Androgenic anabolic steroids

Commonly used performance enhancing drugs


Eating disorder marked by a refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height. Associated with insufficient intake of food


Blood vessel which takes blood to the head and body from the heart


Blood vessels into which the arteries sub-divide

Articular capsule

A strong, fibrous tissue which surrounds a synovial joint

Athlete’s foot

A FUNGAL infection of the feet, usually between the toes


The two chambers at the TOP of the heart, which receive blood from the veins


Wastage of muscle marked by the muscles loss of shape and strength

Basal metabolic rate

The minimum rate of energy required to keep all the life processes of the body maintained when the body is at rest


Common name for the lower intestine


Small tubes in the lungs into which the bronchi sub-divide


Size or mass of a sportsperson


A unit which measures heat or energy production in the body

Carbohydrate loading

Increasing the amount of carbohydrates in the body before an endurance event. Usually preceded by a complete depletion of carbohydrates

Cardiovascular endurance

The ability of the heart and lungs to operate efficiently during an endurance event


A tough form of tissue which covers and protects the ends of bones, and acts as a buffer where two bones meet at a joint.


Part of the brain which controls body movement


Largest part of the brain, responsible for conscious control of the body


FATTY deposit which can build up on the inner walls of the arteries reducing blood flow causing blockages or high blood pressure

Closed - skills

Skills performed in an unchanging environment (e.g. golf swing or tennis serve)

Coma position / recovery position

The position in which a casualty should be placed when first aid is needed

Concentric contraction

When a muscle shortens and gets fatter as it contracts


A head injury which may cause a person to become unconscious, dizzy or disorientated

Conditioned game

Where the rules or the way a game is played is changed during a practice session to work on a particular aspect


Being able to perform a skill properly, the same way each time


The rules by which a club or organisation runs itself


Being able to perform something in a regular and consistent way


An agreed rule or form of etiquette in physical activity


The ability to properly control your body when performing an action. Usually associated with moving two or more body parts at the same time


A nutrient which can be taken in through food or as a supplement which is responsible for the first few seconds of exercise without oxygen. Extra can be taken by performers to aid training and muscle development


Rapid loss of water from the body

Delayed concussion

When the symptoms of concussion occur some time after the injury is received

Diastolic pressure

The pressure of the blood flow in the arteries when the left ventricle relaxes


A person who advises on the type of diet a sportsperson should have to meet the demands of their sport


A way of making a physical activity harder or easier in training or practice


Part of the small intestine


A device used to measure strength

Eccentric contraction

Where a muscle is in a state of contraction but increases in length. (E.g. lowering a biceps curl)


A somatotype, (or body type) where a person is linear, often slim with thin arms and shoulders


system in which certain groups are selected for special treatment based on their high level of ability


A body type characterised by a round shape, often short with a high proportion of body mass as fat


An ability of performers to keep going with a movement or activity for a prolonged period of time


A convention or unwritten rule in an activity which is not enforceable but usually followed


To breathe out


The action of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles which forces air out of the body

Extra-curricular activity

An activity which takes place at a school outside time-tabled lesson time


Temporary unconsciousness or dizziness

Fast twitch muscle fibre

Muscle fibres which contract very rapidly but are quickly exhausted


Information a performer receives about their performance


Where fibres link together such as a fibrous joint


A variety of factors which combine to give a sportsperson an efficient body, able to cope with the demands of the environment


The range of movement at a joint

Forced breathing

The increase of the breathing rate during physical activity.


The level of performance the performer maintains or the good shape, position, presentation or manner of performance.

Foul play

Play which is against the rules or regulations of a sport.


An infection which can set in after a fracture has occurred.


A type of sugar found in carbohydrates.


The form in which glucose is stored.

Group skills

Skills which are performed within a unit or group in a team.


The substance in the red blood cells which transports oxygen and carbon dioxide.


When a blood vessel breaks/followed by heavy bleeding.

Heart attack

When the heart muscle is starved of oxygen due to a blockage, causing severe chest pain and sometimes death.


One contraction and one relaxation of the heart.


Ways of maintaining cleanliness and health, good personal habits.


Lower part of the small intestine.


Vaccination of injection which prevents disease.


Being fair to both sides

Individual skills

Physical skills performed on your own.

Ingrown toe nails

Toe nails growing unevenly into the skin at the sides of the nails.


To breathe in.


Air taken in when the diaphragm flattens and moves downwards.

Intercostal muscles

Muscles surrounding the ribs which assist breathing.

Invasion games

Physical activities where teams have to get into their opponent’s area in order to score.

Isokinetic training

Training using specialised machinery where resistance against muscles is variable.

Isometric contraction

A muscle contraction where the length of the muscle does not change.

Isometric training

Where muscle is held at a particular point for approximately five seconds.

Lactic acid system

The breakdown of carbohydrates to provide energy, usually functioning during activities lasting between one and three minutes.


White blood cell


Strong fibrous bands which stabilize joints and control movement


A poor physical condition due to a lack of nutrition.


A somatotype or body type which is basically a ‘Y’shape. Well muscled with wide shoulders, long arms and narrow waist.

Movement replication

Being able to exactly copy and repeat a physical movement.

Muscle tone

The tension which remains in the muscles even at rest.

Muscular endurance

The amount of dynamic strength in a muscle, its ability to keep working for long periods.

Muscular fatigue

The state of a muscle when it can no longer contract.


The basic cells of the nervous system


Impartial, not taking sides


Main cell body of the nervous system.


Extremely fat or overweight.


canal from mouth to stomach, along which food passes.

Open skills

Skills which exist in a situation that is constantly changing.

Open sports

Sports events in which both amateurs and professionals can compete.

Oxygen debt

A state where the body has used more oxygen than it can supply.


Substance which oxygen turns into after gaseous exchange.

Passive smoking

Where someone who is a non-smoker inhales someone else’s cigarette smoke.

Passive stretching

Flexibility exercise where a performer stretches by pushing against something.


Physical condition in which an athlete is at the best of their ability.

Performance enhancing drug

A type of unlawful drug which can help to improve performance.


Study of the function and processes of the human body.


A specialist who treats someone by using exercise or massage.

Plate competition

A separate competition for losers in a main competition.


Situation in which a performer stays at the same level of skill, at least temporarily.


Small blood cells which help to clot the blood.


Membrane surrounding the lungs, which acts as a lubricant.

Positive acceleration

Where a performer finds mastering a skill difficult at first, then improves rapidly


The position in which a person holds their body.


The combination of the maximum amount of speed with the maximum amount of strength.


Frequent repetition of an act skill or physical activity.


A medical treatment which a doctor must authorise


A full time sports person who gets paid for competing.


Someone who helps people to mentally prepare or mentally cope.

Pulmonary artery

Blood vessel which carries de-oxygenated blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs.

Pulmonary vein

Blood vessel which carries oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart.

Pulse raisers

Exercises designed to increase the heart rate.

Pulse rate

The rate per minute at which the heart beats.


Going over a movement or skill many times to ensure it is correct


Being put down to a lower division or league in a sporting event.


A regular and repeated procedure often of rehearsed and set moves.


A digestive juice found in the mouth which helps to digest food.


A person, who watches, finds and recommends players for sports teams.