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  • I’m taught in high schools around the world.
  • Something that’s described by me is often mispronounced as something bad.
  • Another has something to do with the sun.
  • Said aloud I can sound a little like an incantation, and for the mathematically inclined I can be very useful.
  • My ending matches with something that caused a lot of fuss in the late 19th century.
  • The opposites of my parts can be used to find a greek letter, used right.
  • I’m a sequence of letters, often capitalised, often memorised.

What am I?

Hint 1:

An abbreviation for the place I help can be found in the rhyme of something that you put on your head, or a way of drinking, or a very common animal.

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Okay, I think I got it. I think you're:

SohCahToa!

I’m taught in high schools around the world.

Yep.

Something that’s described by me is often mispronounced as something bad.

Sin() should be pronounced like "sign", but it can be pronounced like the seven deadlies.

Another has something to do with the sun.

Too much sun will result in a Tan()!

Said aloud I can sound a little like an incantation, and for the mathematically inclined I can be very useful.

Yep.

My ending matches with something that caused a lot of fuss in the late 19th century.

Not really sure, but probably referring to Krakatoa, the violently exploding volcano.

The opposites of my parts can be used to find a greek letter, used right.

Inverse trig functions are used to find angles, which are usually denoted by Greek letters!

I’m a sequence of letters, often capitalised, often memorised.

Yep!

And the hint!

You're used on the SAT! Rhymes with hat and cat... and something else. Frat? I dunno.

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    $\begingroup$ Now I see this all written out I think this is very likely what the OP is after. Once I got deep into my own answer I just couldn't see back out to this one! Well done, and welcome to Puzzling :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Jul 21 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ I think you have it all, except for the hint. I would suggest {Gevt, Jvt, Fjvt, Cvt} as what @Fivesideddice is alluding to $\endgroup$ – SeanC Jul 21 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ Given that this is strictly an English language mnemonic, the "high schools around the world" fit seems somewhat less than stellar. (Since everything else seems to match very nicely, this one's probably on OP, though.) $\endgroup$ – Bass Jul 21 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this is correct. Well done! I’ll wait a bit, and then give you the green checkmark. $\endgroup$ – Fivesideddice Jul 21 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ And yeah, @Bass you’re correct, that one is on me; I actually hadn’t thought about it. A little more research would not have gone astray. $\endgroup$ – Fivesideddice Jul 21 at 21:34
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You are a:

MNEMONIC DEVICE

I’m taught in high schools around the world.

A mnemonic is a pattern of letters which assists in remembering something, hence mnemonics are often taught in schools to help with learning.

Something that’s described by me is often mispronounced as something bad.

One famous mnemonic involves the names of the planets (e.g. My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Noodles - each word begins with the starting letter of a planet, going outwards from the sun). 'Uranus' is one of the planets in this mnemonic, and it is often pronounced in a way that raises a giggle...

Another has something to do with the sun.

Rainbows are made by sunlight interacting with the rain. The colours of the rainbow have their own mnemonic: ROYGBIV (Richard of York Gave Battle In Vain).

Said aloud I can sound a little like an incantation, and for the mathematically inclined I can be very useful.

The inflexions involved in reciting a mnemonic could be described as sounding much like a spell being cast (imagine the witches at the start of Shakespeare's Macbeth: "Double, Double, Toil and Trouble...").

There are many mnemonics for mathematics-related subjects, e.g. I See Octopus Swimming Carefully Eating Lovely Egg Salad (the spelling of ISOSCELES) or Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (Parentheses, Exponent, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction - the order of mathematical operations).

My ending matches with something that caused a lot of fuss in the late 19th century.

This is the only part I am not entirely certain of right now...

The opposites of my parts can be used to find a greek letter, used right.

Taking 'the opposites' to mean using numbers instead of letters, there are various mnemonics for remembering the digits of the mathematical constant, pi: e.g. How I Wish I Could Calculate Pi (count the number of letters in each word: 3.141592).

I’m a sequence of letters, often capitalised, often memorised.

This is exactly what a mnemonic is!

As for the title:

When mnemonic techniques were first developed by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, it was not in the form of a word or phrase that could be easily memorised. Instead, their mnemonics were "topical" in nature, involving imagining a location or object and assigning specific memories to particular parts of it. From Wikipedia:

The most usual method was to choose a large house, of which the apartments, walls, windows, statues, furniture, etc., were each associated with certain names, phrases, events or ideas, by means of symbolic pictures. To recall these, an individual had only to search over the apartments of the house until discovering the places where images had been placed by the imagination.

In modern-day television terms, this resembles the 'mind palace' technique employed by Sherlock in the Benedict Cumberbatch BBC TV series!

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not totally convinced ... how does this fit with the title? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jul 21 at 6:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor Well, I am very certain! :) The last line is literal and there are so many references to examples among the others I am sure this has to be it. I'm just missing one potentially history-related reference in the middle, but it seems too obscure for me to pinpoint just now... $\endgroup$ – Stiv Jul 21 at 7:28
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    $\begingroup$ It will be insane if this is wrong! $\endgroup$ – George Menoutis Jul 21 at 7:42
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    $\begingroup$ Really great job! However, this isn’t quite it. rot13(V’z ybbxvat sbe fbzrguvat zber fcrpvsvp. Nyy gur yvarf eryngr qverpgyl gb guvf fcrpvsvp frdhrapr. 2aq, 3eq naq 5gu yvarf jvyy uryc.) $\endgroup$ – Fivesideddice Jul 21 at 7:49

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