Best AP English Literature Quizlet Decks by Unit

6 min readdecember 15, 2021

Brandon Wu

Brandon Wu

AP English Literature 📚

145 resources
See Units

If there was a holy trinity for AP study sites, Quizlet would most certainly be in it. Its easy to use interface combined with its multi-purpose functionality helps students of all different learning styles in endless subject areas. However, it can often be difficult to find resources for a writing and reading-heavy subject like English Literature.
Fiveable’s AP English Literature teachers & students have compiled the best Quizlet study decks for each unit. The AP Lit exam covers a wide range of topics, so make sure to understand the base concepts for each unit. It’s important to note that the Quizlet decks don’t always cover EVERYTHING in that unit, so make sure you have additional study materials! Bookmark this page to use throughout the year!
Note: this guide will be organized by the three encompassing topics of the nine units (Short Fiction, Poetry, and Longer Fiction and Drama), as there is overlapping content between certain units (ex: Short Fiction I and II). Catch a live review or watch a replay for AP Lit on 🎥 Fiveable’s AP Lit hub! See the calendar for upcoming streams.

Short Fiction (Units 1, 4, 7) - 42-49%

Short fiction centers on prose analysis, in which you’ll learn first in Unit 1 about basic literary elements like plot, narrator, and setting. Moreover, you’ll learn about paragraph structuring and defending claims. Then in Short Fiction II (Unit 4), you’ll learn how to explain the function of elements (why) and describing relationships. Moreover, this unit covers analyzing how relationships and elements are created by authors, including learning about diction and syntax and the perspective of a speaker or narrator. You’ll build on commentary, line of reasoning, and how you can earn a 4 in evidence and commentary on FRQ 1 (prose analysis). 
Finally in Unit 7, you’ll learn about interpreting narrative prose and how interpretations can be revised. You’ll figure out how to develop your interpretation of complex texts and understanding patterns (like changes in a narrative, change in setting, a character’s epiphany). Use these two quizlet decks to help you develop your knowledge of short fiction concepts and literary devices in short fiction texts.


Most important topics to know for the unit, straight from the AP Lit guide:
  • Perspective - how narrators, characters or speakers understand their circumstances, informed by background, relationships, and biases
  • Dramatic Situation - setting and action of a plot, and how that narrative develops to placing characters in conflict
  • Claim - statement that requires defense with accompanying text evidence
  • Archetypes - extremely common patterns in dramatic situations that create certain expectations for how dramatic situations will progress and be resolved
  • Contrasts - represent conflicts in values related to character, narrator, or speaker perspectives on ideas represented by a text
  • Thesis statement - interpretation of a literary text requiring a defense, using text evidence and a line of reasoning, explained through commentary
  • Line of reasoning - logical sequence of claims that work together to help defend a thesis statement, communicated through commentary that specifically explains a relationship between the thesis statement and the claims of a body of an essay
  • Epiphany - an action that affects the plot in which the character acts on a sudden realization
  • Pacing - how time is manipulated through a text, affected by details, frequency of events, syntax, shifts in tense, or the tempo/speed at which events occur
  • Motif - unified pattern of recurring objects or images that emphasize a significant idea in a text

Poetry (Units 2, 5, 8) - 36-45%

These three units center around another major topic in AP Lit, poetry analysis. Unit 2 (Poetry I) centers on metaphor and simile, the analysis of form/structure, and contrasts in a text which creates complexity (the focus of your essays). Moreover, this unit centers the analysis of function of those devices, or why the authors make the choices they do. You’ll further learn how to develop paragraphs that establishes a claim and provides evidence. 
Unit 5 (Poetry II), transitions into identifying and explaining the function of various devices and elements. You’ll need to know about relevant and sufficient evidence to support your thesis’s line of reasoning. Thus, you’ll learn about organization of your essays and how to develop your essay’s structure. 
Finally in Unit 8, you’ll learn about the ambiguities of language and the unrealized expectations and iornies that are created. You’ll look at how juxtaposition, irony, and paradox in poetry contribute to complexity and how interpretation of parts of a poem contributes to the interpretation of the entire poem.


Most important topics to know for the unit, straight from the AP Lit guide:
  • Structure of poetry - presents the relationships among the text’s ideas via their relative positions and placement within the overall text, affecting readers’ reactions and expectations
  • Contrasts - the result of shifts and/or juxtapositions, introduced via tone, POV, character, narrator, or speaker perspective
  • Simile - comparison using like/as, in which the thing that is being compared is the subject of the comparison
  • Metaphor - implying similarities between two (usually unrelated) concepts or objects to draw on experiences and associations readers have with objects/concepts
  • Sensory imagery - contributed by descriptive words, like adjectives and adverbs, linked to the five senses
  • Metaphorical comparisons - focus on the particular traits, qualities, or characterists comparedn
  • Extended metaphor - created when the comparison of a main subject and comparison subject is persistent throughout a text
  • Function of symbols - imply that a narrator, character, or speaker has a specific attitude or perspective

Longer Fiction or Drama (Units 3, 6, 9) - 15-18%

This is the unit of novels! Here is when we start analyzing novels or plays in order to prepare for the “literary argument” essay (FRQ 3) on the AP Lit exam. First in Unit 3, we’ll analyze character, plot, and setting in the context of longer fiction and drama. Moreover, we’ll start looking at how to support and establish a thesis and the line of reasoning you create from that thesis.
As we transition into Unit 6, we’ll dive into other elements of longer fiction, including symbolism, characterization, relationships and contrasts between characters, and the function of plot events. The bottom line is that you need to know the meaning of the work as a whole (theme). Unit 6 assists with analyzing the “big idea” (or thematic elements) in the context of the characters, plot, and setting.
Finally, in Unit 9, we’ll analyze how changes in characters and the reasons behind those changes contributes to the interpretation of the longer fiction or drama. You’ll understand how the events, conflicts, and perspectives of a narrative embody different values and tensions; you’ll finally finish off with understanding how nuanced literary analysis leads to a complex understanding of a text.


Most important topics to know for the unit, straight from the AP Lit guide:
  • Dynamic character - a character who develops over a course of a narrative, who often makes choices that either directly or indirectly affect the climax and/or resolution of the narrative
  • Narrative - also known as story, delivered through a series of events
  • Conflict - tension between competing values either within a character (internal conflict) or with outside forces that obstruct the character (external conflict)
  • Foils - contrasting characters that serve to illuminate (through contrast) the traits, attributes, or values of another character
  • Interruptions of chronology - narrative structures that interrupt the plot including flashback, foreshadowing, in medias res, stream of consciousness
  • Symbol - when a material object comes to represent or stand for an idea or concept, but can represent different things depending on the experiences of a reader or the context of its use in a text
  • Function of complexities in character - inconsistencies and unexpected developments in a character can affect readers’ interpretation of that character, other characters, events in the plot, conflicts, etc.
  • Catharsis - also known as emotional release, the resolution of the anticipation, suspense or central conflicts of a plot
Units courtesy of the College Board. If you need further assistance with AP Lit free-response questions, here are the past free-response prompts.

Browse Study Guides By Unit
🧐Exam Review – Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
📝Exam Review - Poetry Analysis Essay
📕Exam Review – Short Fiction FRQ
🎭Unit 3 – Intro to Longer Fiction & Drama
⚔️Unit 4 – Character, Conflict, & Storytelling in Short Fiction
🛠️Unit 6 – Literary Techniques in Longer Works
🏛️Unit 7 – Societal & Historical Context in Short Fiction

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