Welcome to the final Module for HSC Biology, Non-infectious Disease and Disorders!

We are excited to finish off the journey with a jam-packed module full of fun concepts on health and disease. 

This is also a great module for anyone planning on pursuing a career in STEM. This module is a snapshot of using current knowledge to give us real, tangible results in health and disorders. 

Stay tuned because we’ll be going through a general outline of Module 8 and tips and tricks you can use to get a Band 6 in Non-infectious Disease and Disorders!

If you’re looking for practice questions on Module 8, make sure you head over to our article over here with 20 practice questions to get you started!

Let’s get into it!

Introducing Non-Infectious Disease and Disorders
Topic 1: Homeostasis
Topic 2: Causes and Effects
Topic 3: Epidemiology
Topic 4: Prevention
Topic 5: Technologies and Disorders
Study Tips for HSC Biology Module 8

Introducing Non-Infectious Disease and Disorders

This new syllabus chucked out the optional module and brought in a whole section on non-infectious disease and disorders.

You may not have had the chance to learn about some common diseases and disorders such as diabetes, heart disease or hearing loss. These are terms that are used constantly but never really taught in depth — until now!

Other than improving your understanding on diseases, this module also promotes usage of terminology sensitive to other STEM areas by integrating analysis of statistics, quantitative and qualitative data.

What does the Content Focus from the syllabus say about Module 8?

The topics in this module are:
  • Homeostasis – How do I maintain the normal function of my body?
  • Causes and Effects – What is the cause, effect and prevalence of non-infectious diseases?
  • Epidemiology – What can we learn from patterns in the population?
  • Prevention – How effective are current prevention methods?
  • Technologies and Disorders – How has technology has helped people with disorders?

Topic 1: Homeostasis

Inquiry Question 1: How is an organism’s internal environment maintained in response to a changing external environment?
How can I maintain my:
  • pH
  • Salinity
  • Temperature
When I am:
  • Sweating on a 35˚C day
  • Not drinking water
  • Just living my best life

To address this question, you will be asked to describe what a positive/negative feedback loop is and how it works.

For example, something like temperature or glucose can wander past the tight range that it is kept at. Then, several behavioural, structural and physical adaptations can kick in.

Adaptations are also different depending on if you are an:
  • Endotherm
  • Plant
  • Ectotherm

Consider using Australian examples when describing homeostatic adaptations: e.g. you may have heard about Kangaroos licking their forearms when it gets too hot.

Australian Geographic does a great outline that covers adaptations of animals which you can check out here!

Topic 2: Causes and Effects

Inquiry Question 2: Do non-infectious diseases cause more deaths than infectious diseases?

The two topics Causes and Effects and Epidemiology focus on data collection, data analysis and using secondary-sourced data.

You will be investigating this inquiry question in two parts:

Part 1 – Causes and effects of non-infectious diseases

You will have learnt the causes of some non-infectious diseases already from previous modules, specifically diseases caused by genetic mutations.

As you already have some background knowledge, you should focus on specific genetic causes, and effects of the following diseases:

  • Genetic diseases – refer back to Module 5: Genetics
  • Diseases caused by environmental exposure – e.g. Smoking
  • Nutritional diseases – e.g. Vitamin D deficiency
  • Cancer

Great news! This list isn’t exhaustive, you can choose to study other diseases on top of the ones listed above.

Why are some diseases bolded? Well, you are going to go into greater depth on those diseases in Part 2.

You will be asked to collect data on the two bolded diseases, specifically collecting, analysing and representing data.

Part 2 – Statistics of non-infectious diseases

What diseases from the list in Part 1 am I specifically focusing on?

  • Nutritional diseases
  • Diseases caused by environmental exposure

What data should I collect on these two diseases?

  • Incidencehow many new cases of the disease per year?
  • Prevalence – is it common? Uncommon? What % of people have it?
  • Mortality ratesnumber of deaths from the disease

What should I do with this data?

  • Represent the data
  • Analyse patterns of non-infectious diseases in the population

And once again, you can study more diseases on top of those diseases listed above.

Topic 3: Epidemiology

Inquiry Question 3: Why are epidemiological studies used?

What is epidemiology? It is studying the incidence, risk factors and prevalence of disease in the population (think: who, what and where).

We are still going to use the two diseases from the list above. With these diseases, you’ll answer the two questions:

  • How are they treated/managed?
  • Future directions for future research (only pick one disease)

Using a specific epidemiological study:

  • What methods did they use to collect/analyse the data?
  • What are the benefits of engaging in a study?

Where can you find statistics? The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is a great credible source to go to! Check out the ‘health conditions, disability & deaths’ tab.

Topic 4: Prevention

Inquiry Question 4: How can non-infectious diseases be prevented?

Looking at some current disease-prevention methods, evaluate their benefits, drawbacks and cost, specifically:

  • Education programs and campaigns – other education programs have been successful in preventing e.g. HIV
  • Genetic engineering – consider revising Module 6: Genetic engineering

Afterwards, you’ll develop strategies that you’d use to prevent non-infectious diseases. Using an example disease e.g. diabetes or obesity is a great way to focus your response.

Topic 5: Technologies and Disorders

Inquiry Question 5: How can technologies be used to assist people who experience disorders?

We can best help a disorder when we know their causes. The cause will determine the best treatment and technology.

Hearing loss
  • Cochlear implants for people whose nerves are still functional
  • bone conduction implants
  • Hearing aids are used to assist in hearing loss

Visual disorders

Nursing Crib

Loss of kidney function

Not a lot of technology is available for people with loss of kidney function, regardless of how it is caused. Usually, dialysis is used.

To evaluate the effectiveness of each technology, consider looking at some factors such as:
  • Cost
  • Time effectiveness
  • Is it a long-term solution?
  • Is it accessible?

You may be familiar with evaluating technologies from previous modules which have asked you to evaluate the effectiveness of e.g. genetic technologies.

How to Get a Band 6 in HSC Biology Module 8

Tip #1: Use the Correct Terminology

When explaining non-infectious diseases, using correct terminology is going to make your response 10/10. If a disease is described as ‘chronic’ or ‘cellular’ consider using those words, because they are usually used for a reason.

If you don’t understand some terms, it is often better to explain it in a way you understand than to just use the word. Markers want to see that you understand, not that you can use big words!

Tip #2: Undertake Online Research

Sometimes, the textbook doesn’t cut it when learning about diseases. We learn something new about health every day, and oftentimes the best place to go is straight on the internet with a credible source.

Reading wider and learning about the same concept in a variety of ways can help solidify your learning.

HSC Together is a great online resource which has FREE videos on every single HSC Biology syllabus dot point so that you can effectively learn and revise the syllabus!

Tip #3: Build Up Your Word Bank

What would you put in a word bank?

  • Simple disease definitions
  • Simple technology definitions
  • Epidemiological terms

After you learn a concept, updating your word bank for 5 minutes is going to shave an hour off study in the future!


Some concepts can be harder to understand than others, so don’t be afraid to use as much resources and media as you can. Hearing something explained in 3 different ways is always the best way to go.

Also, don’t forget to use an example when talking about homeostasis, epidemiology and technology.

Finally, good luck with HSC Biology Module 8: Non-infectious Disease and Disorders!

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