Subtest III: Physical Education Study Guide for the CSET Multiple Subjects Test

Page 1

General Information

Successfully answering the 13 multiple-choice questions and one constructed response question about physical education will require a thorough understanding of the concepts in this study guide. If you have continuing uncertainty about any of this content, you are encouraged to seek additional materials as you prepare for the test.

The physical education questions do cover physical education topics, but also include concepts about emotional health and the history of movement and exercise. You will also need to be able to address the needs of students on a number of skill levels and structure lessons that are appropriate for them.

Content Domains

The curriculum taught in physical education classes is not only about the physical aspects of development. It also includes social and emotional development. Following are discussions of the components of the three main aspects (movement, self-image and personal development, and social development) that make up the content knowledge for which you’ll be responsible on this test.


Candidates must display knowledge and understanding of movement and motion. Be sure to review the concepts below that will be covered on the exam.

Movement Skills

Basic movement skills include how body systems work and changes to body systems as a result of exercise, physical development, etc. Be sure you can explain the following concepts included in basic movement skills.


Awareness is a big part of movement. It refers to the person’s ability to understand their body in space and in relationship to things around them, especially as they move. For example, athletes have a good sense of awareness, as many sports require them to complete multiple moving tasks at the same time, like dribbling and dodging in basketball.

Body awareness— refers to the ability to recognize your body in space and helps us when we perform different activities, like reaching for something.

Space awareness— a more complex skill that requires an understanding of other objects and their relationship to each other, in addition to the person, in space.

Movement exploration— experimental study for children in physical education as they try new physical movements through exploration.

Specific Skills

The following are more specific skills associated with movement.

Locomotor skills— are active moving actions, like walking, running, jumping, and skipping.

Nonlocomotor skills— are actions performed while stationary, like stretching, lifting, extending, twisting, etc.

Object manipulation— requires using motor skills to move objects by doing things like catching, throwing, kicking, etc.


Biomechanics is the study of how mechanical laws relate to body movement. It is a field of study that examines how the forces of nature influence physical movement. Gravity, friction, and the laws of motion are three prominent aspects of biomechanics.

Gravity— influences movement through the downward pull on objects.

Friction— is a force of resistance that slows objects over time and space.

Laws of motion— Newton’s three laws of motion are the foundation for mechanics and apply to biomechanics. They state that objects will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, including things like friction and gravity.

Critical Elements

Critical elements in basic movement use the laws of mechanics. They require performing a movement to manipulate the body or an object in efficient ways. Some examples include stepping in opposition when throwing and following through when kicking a ball or swinging a bat.

Health and Physical Fitness

Physiology is the biological study of the body and how its parts move and function, both individually and as a whole. Concerning exercise, physiology studies the body’s movement and the body’s response to physical activity.

Benefits and Risks

Physical fitness and exercise have many physical, emotional, and social benefits. However, for some people there may be risks related to physical exertion. Pre-existing medical conditions and the potential for injury are two examples of the risks of physical fitness.

Support for a Physically Active Lifestyle

Many medical studies support a physically active lifestyle. Physical activity keeps the body’s systems functioning at peak. Physically fit people enjoy more energy, mental clarity, and overall improved bodily function. Studies also make connections between physical movement and brain function. In the case of young students, physical activity can help improve learning and academic performance.

Safety and Medical Factors

It is vital to be mindful of any medical conditions that may limit physical exercise. Precautions should be taken and advice from doctors should be followed for people with conditions like asthma or diabetes. In these instances, be sure to have inhalers or snacks/insulin nearby when engaging in strenuous physical exercise.

Exercise Principles

There are three main exercise principles that guide physical training. It is important to follow these principles in order to prevent injury and best enjoy the benefits of physical activity.

Frequency— refers to the number of times a person engages in physical exercise in a given week. Studies vary, but most recommend exercising three to five days a week.

Intensity— refers to the level of exertion of the physical activity. Intensity can be mild or moderate, during which a person may be able to hold a conversation, or high intensity, characterized by heavy breathing.

Time— to promote physical fitness, training sessions of moderate intensity should last at least 30 minutes.

Fitness Components

There are many different components of physical fitness. Various activities should be accomplished to achieve any particular goal. Some tasks build strength, others are designed to prevent injury, while still others focus on building skills. In developing fitness training programs, all of the following should be taken into account.

Flexibility— is important because it keeps muscles from becoming tight and can prevent them from tearing during intense physical exertion. It improves the elasticity, or range of motion, of muscles. Flexibility can be improved through stretching sessions, typically performed after intense exercise sessions.

Muscular strength— is the ability of muscles to accomplish a task. Strength can be built through weight training. Strength is what allows a football player to tackle an opponent.

Muscular endurance— allows an athlete to continue performing a task or exercise repeatedly. For example, muscular endurance allows a football player to continue to tackle opponents through the end of the game.

Cardiorespiratory endurance— refers to the fitness level of a person’s cardiovascular system, which is responsible for distributing oxygen throughout the body. A marathon runner has great cardiorespiratory endurance.

Body composition— primarily refers to what percentage of a person’s body is made of muscle and what percentage is fat. Also, it can simply refer to body type. Some people are tall, which is good for basketball, while others are short, which is good for horse jockeys.

Forms of Movement

Movement contains a variety of forms. It can range from team organized sports to lifestyle fitness. The following are more specific content areas addressed in the greater standard of movement.

Variety of Activities

There are a wide variety of physical activities that promote physical movement and a healthy lifestyle. These include sports like baseball, soccer, football, etc., as well as a variety of games, dance, theater, and more. Additionally, lifestyle exercise like jogging, walking, swimming, or biking can be included in movement activities.

Rules and Etiquette

In sports and other activities, it is expected for all participants to follow the rules and be respectful of all other participants. This is called sportsmanship. Furthermore, it is considered good etiquette to respect the game or activity and observe all rules and guidelines. This helps all participants have an enjoyable experience.

Activities for Inclusion

It is important to include all students in activities, regardless of gender, race, religion, disability, etc. The purpose of physical education is to engage students in fun movement activities and foster friendly competition, all in a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment. It is important to allow students to assume different roles in various activities so that everyone is included.

Content Area Integration

As with many subject areas, integrating concepts from other content into physical education is important. Math and science can be incorporated into physical education by having students calculate odds, keep score, hypothesize, and gather data for various physical activities.

Self-Image and Personal Development

Self-image refers to how a person views themselves in terms of their appearance and abilities. Personal development is a lifelong process of assessing personal skills and abilities, setting goals, and realizing one’s own potential. Both self-image and personal development encompass physical and mental development.

Growth and Development

Physical growth and development occurs throughout childhood and adolescence, and a variety of skills are developed at different ages. These skills can be fostered at the right times through physical activity.

Skill Development

Physical movement skills are developed in a sequence. Each new skill development builds on the last until all motor skills have been mastered.

Gross motor skills— refer to large muscle movements, like moving arms, legs, or the entire body. Babies develop these skills at a young age as they learn how to move their limbs and roll over.

Fine motor skills— are small movements which require much more precision. They are the control and movement of the fingers and toes, which allow people to do things like write and type.

Physical Influences

Physical changes influence the development of gross and fine motor skills. These physical changes occur over time as the body grows and develops into maturity.

Growth spurts— are short periods of time, potentially several months, in which the body grows rapidly. Children can grow through multiple shoe sizes in the span of several months during a growth spurt. It can take children time to learn to control their motor movements as their bodies change so rapidly.

Body weight— increases as children grow. This can provide children with more stability and better control of physical movements.

Other Impacts

There are other factors that influence healthy growth and development. The following are a few things that can influence general health and well-being.

Exercise— is important throughout physical development in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Good ways to encourage exercise in children include free play, organized sports, and games that involve movement.

Relaxation— is important to allow the body to recover and rest, especially after periods of intense physical exercise.

Nutrition— is important because children need to eat a proper diet to gain the vitamins and nutrients necessary for healthy physical development.

Stress— can have a negative impact on childhood development. It is important to teach kids healthy ways of dealing with stress, like exercise or providing time for relaxation.

Substance abuse— includes drugs and alcohol and is proven to have detrimental effects on development. Legal consumption of such substances is set at certain ages due to the impact such substances have on developing brains.


Physical activity can play a major role in the development of a positive self-image. Individual skills that children learn through physical activity, like setting goals, working with others, etc., are also useful skills for getting along in society. Team skills that children learn through sports and activities also help them develop purpose that promotes a positive self-image.


All Study Guides for the CSET Multiple Subjects Test are now available as downloadable PDFs