The leveling system in Pokemon Go is one of its central mechanics. There are so many things that are dependent on your level. For instance, you can only get certain items from Pokestops after you reach a certain level such as Great Balls, Ultra Balls, various potions, and more. Leveling up also gives you rare items as rewards such as Lures and Incense. Perhaps most importantly, leveling up will affect the power of the Pokemon that you capture. Level 15 players will routinely find more powerful Pokemon than a level three character would. Of course, that means you’ll want to gain some levels as quickly as possible. Here is a quick guide on how to maximize your XP in Pokemon Go and level up faster!
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How to gain XP in Pokemon Go
You gain XP by doing virtually anything in Pokemon Go. Here is a quick list of ways to gain XP (in order of most XP to least XP):
- Catching a new Pokemon – 500XP and you’ll also get 500 stardust along with three Candy for the species that you caught. This only happens if it’s the first time that Pokemon has been in your inventory.
- Evolving a Pokemon – 500XP. This is what you get no matter which Pokemon you evolve or how many times you have evolved them in the past.
- Hatching an egg – 200XP. This is universal between 2km, 5km, and 10km eggs.
- Catching a Pokemon – 100XP and you’ll also get 100 stardust along with three Candy for the species that you caught.
- Grabbing a Pokestop – 50XP for each Pokestop and you’ll get a few free items as well!
- Special throws – By throwing a Pokeball inside of the circle, you’ll achieve a little bit of extra XP for doing a good or excellent throw. You can also earn a little extra XP by throwing curve balls. The extra XP can range from 10XP to 100XP.
- Gym Battles – When you engage in a Gym battle, you’ll get experience points. The amount you get depends on a variety of variables, including the Gym’s level, how strong your Pokemon are, how strong the Gym’s Pokemon are, and your current level. All of these things are true whether you’re battling to take a Gym or battling in order to level up your Gym. Generally, you can get between 50-200XP per battle this way.
Doing any of these can earn you XP and level you up. Niantic did an excellent job making it so that you would level up on your own quickly even if you didn’t know much about the game. However, those who like to min-max and grind can do more to gain XP quickly.
Method 1 – Farming Evolution
The most effective way to farm XP in Pokemon Go is the method where you evolve tons of Pokemon all at once. Evolving Pokemon gives you 500XP each time you do it and with a Lucky Egg, that increases to 1000XP! Here is the method on how to do it:
- Capture as many Pidgeys, Caterpies, and Weedles as possible. All of these only require 12 Candy to evolve into their second form and they’re incredibly common.
- Continue farming the ultra-common Pokemon until you have several dozen Candy for each species. You’ll also want enough of each Pokemon to use those Candy. Thus, if you have 60 Pidgey Candy, you’ll want five Pidgey to evolve. The same goes for Weedle and Caterpie.
- You can go for Pokemon that evolve at 25 Candy, like Rattata, as well. You likely won’t get as many chances to evolve, but you’re probably going to catch a ton of them anyway, so why not?
- Hold off on evolving your other Pokemon as well. Save all of your evolution for this. Your Eevee, Zubat, Squirtle, etc can wait!
- You must obtain at least one Lucky Egg.
How to do the farming evolution method:
- Consume your Lucky Egg. This will give you 30 minutes where you’ll get double XP.
- Start evolving your Pokemon and don’t stop for anything. Start with the ones you care about first and then move on to the throwaway Pidgeys, Weedles, etc. It should only take you a minute or so to evolve one Pokemon. Each evolution will net you 1000XP so the more you crank out, the better!
- Keep evolving your Pokemon until the Lucky Egg runs out. If you run out of Pokemon to evolve before the time limit, hanging out near a Lured Pokestop will give you something else to do to gain extra XP with your remaining time.
There are multiple reports of players gaining far more than 20,000XP in a single Lucky Egg with this method. It’s by far the most effective and you’ll also gain all that experience from catching the common Pokemon you’ll be using to evolve! If you need help figuring out the numbers, you can use this PidgeyCalc to help determine how much XP you stand to gain through the evolution farming method! You can find out more info on more advanced tactics regarding this method here.
Method 2 – Lure, Incense, and Lucky Eggs
The second method is far less efficient but far easier to set up and do. This is also an excellent way to catch tons of common Pokemon for the evolution farming method described above. A few rounds of this should give you dozens of Pokemon to play with! Let’s get started:
- You will want to obtain at least one Lure, one Incense, and one Lucky Egg.
How to do the Lure, Incense, and Lucky Egg method:
- Go to a Pokestop where you can sit and hang out for a while.
- Consume your Lucky Egg and Incense. If you need help using or finding Incense, you can find our guide for that here!
- Immediately click on the Pokestop and use a Lure. If you need help using Lures, you can find our guide here!
- For the next 30 minutes, enjoy catching tons of Pokemon and getting double the XP for it.
- Don’t forget to collect from the Pokestop, which should allow you to do so four to six times during the next 30 minutes. You can also evolve any Pokemon you need to during this time to get even more XP!
The results won’t be nearly as dramatic as farming evolutions, but you should still get a fairly decent amount of XP. Incense spawn Pokemon every five or so minutes while Lures will spawn them every three minutes or so on average. This should result in about 10-20 Pokemon that show up. At 100XP each, that should total around 2000-4000XP, plus whatever you collect from any other activities you perform during that 30 minute time frame (evolutions and Pokestops). This is also a great way to get resources and new Pokemon quickly in Pokemon Go.
It should be noted that this method gets less effective over time. If you’re a new player, you’ll end up catching tons of Pokemon that you’ve never had before. Catching a new Pokemon that you’ve never had gives you 500XP instead of 100XP. A level three player with hardly any Pokemon is going to gain a lot more XP than someone who is level 15 and has half of their Pokedex filled up.
Method 3 – Battling Gyms
Our final method involves doing what Pokemon trainers do best, battle. Going out looking for trouble can earn you a fair amount of XP, and a well-timed Lucky Egg can make it double. Here’s how to do this method:
- All you need for this are a healthy supply of potions and revives. You’ll also need to target a gym and make sure it’s in a place where you can camp out for a little while.
- Make sure you choose a Gym that you can fight and win against. You won’t gain much XP if you’re losing all of your battles!
How to do the Gym Battling XP grind:
- Get to the gym and make sure all of your Pokemon are healed up and ready to go.
- Consume your Lucky Egg.
- Click on the Gym and then click on the button on the bottom right to start fighting.
- Keep fighting until the Lucky Egg runs dry, stopping only long enough to heal and revive your Pokemon when necessary.
This method has mixed results depending on a variety of things. If you can pick up 75-150XP per fight, and you can complete a fight every few minutes, then you’re looking at a couple thousand XP in 30 minutes. On top of that, you’ll likely take down the gym at some point, place your own Pokemon there, and then continue battling the gym to level it up. Thus, you get some decent XP and a well fortified Gym. It’s recommended to take a group of friends with you (on the same team, of course) so they can lay Pokemon on the Gym as it levels up to help defend it better.
The good news is that even if you don’t engage with any of these methods, you’ll inevitably level up just by playing the game. Virtually everything gives you XP so it’s not like you’ll get stuck if you don’t grind. However, you do get better Pokemon and better items at higher levels so we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to get up there pretty quickly. If you have any additional tips, tricks, grind methods, or stories about XP, tell us about them in the comments!