Leaving Certificate Physical Education (LCPE)

Introductory Information Students should have a passion for physical activity (in general) and an interest in science/physiology and ethical issues would be an advantage. For the performance assessment, the criteria established by the SEC is quite comprehensive. A high level of physical literacy is recommended (i.e. a competence in fundamental skills; ability to learn and transfer both open and closed skills; a reasonable level of both skill and health related fitness). It is important that students are competent in two different sporting strands (i.e. two physical activities of ‘high’ to ‘very high’ standard in terms of playing/execution/participation; and a firm theoretical understanding of at least one of those).

Both practical components are accompanied by written reports; the language of which will be subject specified and somewhat technical. Good language skills are desirable, an ability to write in both ‘essay’ and ‘report’ style is important. The use of recording and performance analysis technology is something students need to be comfortable with. Students will be working independently for much of the practical components and ability to take personal responsibility for skills development and written work deadlines will be essential.

How will students be assessed?

The assessment is broken down into three strands:

  1. A physical activity project worth 20% (100 marks)
  2. A performance assessment worth 30% (150 marks)
  3. A written examination worth 50% (250 marks)

For the project, learners can choose either a performer or coach/choreographer role. Students then apply their learning to develop their personal performance in their chosen role, and complete a digital project report, covering four sections: Performance analysis, identification of four performance goals, evidence of ongoing training/practice reflection, and a concluding analysis.

For the performance assessment, learners choose one of the three selected physical activities* being studied by their class. They will be assessed in a variety of contexts, including personal performance, fully competitive and/or conditioned practices. The performance is captured digitally by the learner, in sessions designed to capture their best personal performance.

Performing in a selected activity, learners are expected to:

  • show evidence of their capacity to select, apply and perform the skills and techniques outlined in the physical activity section in a conditioned practice, fully competitive version of the activity, or personal performance
  • demonstrate understanding and knowledge of the physical activity, including the ability to apply an adapt different tactics, strategies and compositional knowledge in response to different scenarios in conditioned or competitive environments
  • demonstrate knowledge and application of relevant rules, regulations and codes of practice in the chosen activity

*The theory elements of the PE course will be complemented by the study of three activities from the categories of Athletics/Aerobic/Artistic and Creative Competencies Games, Adventure Activities and Aquatics. These will also form the basis of the performance assessment and project. For practical purposes, these activities will be chosen by the class teacher and based on the needs of all learners and available resources.

Half of the overall marks go for the written assessment.

The exam is 2.5 hours in length and worth 250 marks.

  • The exam comprises compulsory ‘short answer’ and ‘short paragraph’ style questions (Section 1)
  • Section 2 requires students to respond to an unseen case-study, blending theoretical knowledge in essay-style answers.
  • Section 3 involves essay-style answers in response to the prescribed topics as dictated by the SEC.

The exam content is divided into two Strands:

Strand One: ‘Towards optimum performance’

  1. Learning and improving skill and technique
  2. Physical and Psychological demands of performance
  3. Structures, strategies roles and conventions
  4. Planning for optimum performance

Strand Two:

  1. Promoting Physical Activity
  2. Ethics and fair play


  1. P.A and inclusion
  2. Gender and physical activity
  3. Technology media and sport
  4. Business and enterprise in PA and Sport

Please visit examinations.ie for sample papers and exemplars of performance videos to better understand the requirements.