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  • How to Gain XP Efficiently in Pokemon Go
    By Delia Woolf2016-09-27 00:00:00

    As fun as Pokemon GO can be, it can become a grind as players begin to gain levels slower. Much like in most other MMOs, XP is awarded to Pokemon Go players for completing different tasks and achieving various goals in the game. In order for a Trainer to increase his or her level, a required amount of XP must first be gained.

    There are many different ways to gain XP in Pokemon Go. The main ways to earn XP and Level Up include Capturing Pokemon, winning Battles at Gyms, Visiting Pokestops, Hatching Eggs, and Evolving Pokemon.

    If you are completely new to the game sure to check out the Pokemon Go Beginner's Guide at first.

    What is XP?

    An Experience Point (often abbreviated as EXP or XP) is a unit which measures a Trainer's progression in Pokemon Go. Experience Points are gained by completing actions and achieving certain goals. When enough XP is gained by a player, he/she will Level Up, advancing to the next level of progression.

    Why should you gain XP?

    Gaining XP is necessary for increasing your Trainer Level. Players with a higher Trainer Level will be able to capture more powerful Pokemon. Most players seek to gain XP as quickly as possible, with the main goal of leveling up fast.

    Where can you Gain XP?

    There are a variety of ways to earn Experience Points in Pokemon Go. Some of the best ways to earn XP include Capturing Pokemon, Winning Battles at Gyms, Visiting Pokestops, Hatching Eggs and Evolving Pokemon.

    Note: You will also gain bonus XP for certain achievements such as Capturing a New Pokemon.

    XP Bonuses

    In addition to the main methods listed above, there are also a variety of ways to earn extra XP. Bonus XP is awarded for:

    New Captures - Awarded whenever a Pokemon is acquired by a trainer for the first time. This bonus is awarded one time per species. Being that you start out without any Pokemon, in the early stages of the game you will get this bonus very often.

    Timing of Throws (Eg. Nice Throw, Excellent Throw) - Capturing Pokemon when the ring around the Pokemon is at its smallest point.

    Special Throw (Eg. Curveball) - Awarded for spinning the Pokeball across the screen and capturing a Pokemon. This is different than the standard straight throw.

    The following chart lists the amount of XP awarded for each action/accomplishment:     

    Best Methods to Gain XP in Each Category

    Now that we have gone over the basics of gaining XP and Leveling Up, let's go into a further detailed breakdown of each of the XP gaining categories. There are many ways to earn XP in Pokemon Go. However, the secret to Leveling Up fast is to gain XP as efficiently as possible.

    Gaining experience points efficiently means choosing the most optimal methods of XP gains, with not earning XP).

    It is also important to understand minimal downtime (downtime refers to time spent that the process of each method can be tweaked slightly to maximize experience gains during a gaming session.

    For example, capturing a Pokemon is pretty much just throwing a Pokeball. Right? In a general sense that is true. However, when the main goal is to Level Up fast there are a variety of other factors to be cognizant of. Should you capture a nearby species Pokemon if it has already been caught? Should you try to capture a Pokemon with CP? Are difficult captures worth the time spent?

    When trying to Level Up quickly, some of these above questions are judgement calls based on the player, but for some there is a definitive answer. Once you combine your gameplay experience with the knowledge you have gained from this guide, Leveling Up will become a breeze.

    Which Pokemon to Capture?

    When first starting out you will want to try capture mostly all nearby Pokemon. It is important to target the New Capture bonus, which gives a significant increase in experience points. If you have a good memory, do your best to remember which species have already been caught. This will help you determine which Pokemon will be a new capture, prior to traveling and encountering it.

    It helps to pull up the 'Nearby Pokemon' window on your screen to better plan an efficient travel route. Once you get close enough to a nearby wild Pokemon, the difficult of capture will be denoted by the color ring/circle surrounding the Pokemon. You should attempt to capture the following:

    Pokemon with Green (Easy) Capture Ring: The easiest of captures and also be the quickest. Easy captures will always result in quick XP gains and Candy is often be gained.

    Pokemon with Orange (Medium) Capture Ring: In the later stages of the game, if the species has already been captured and it will not give you Candy you can choose to skip this after a few capture attempts.

    Pokemon with Red (Difficult) Capture Ring: Only avoid if Pokeballs are limited & species of Pokemon has already been caught.

    Pokemon with Evolutions: Evolving Pokemon will award a great amount of XP. Be sure to familiarize yourself with each Evolution to learn which Pokemon will drop Candy and which one will not.

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    Which Pokemon to Avoid?

    Before going any further, I'd like to reiterate the fact that this guide is only aimed towards players that would like to Level Up quickly. If playing solely for fun, feel free to capture any difficulty or species Pokemon that you prefer. However, if your main goal is to gain XP efficiently there are some

    Pokemon you will want to steer clear of.

    Pokemon with Red Capture Ring: Similar to the above, Pokemon with a red ring are very difficult to capture and may take multiple attempts. This will result in wasted time and wasted Pokeballs, especially if there are too many attempts and the Pokemon flees.

    Pokemon Already Captured/Pokemon without Candy: During the early stages of Pokemon Go you really don't have to pay much attention to this as you will see significant XP gains from most captured Pokemon. However, in the later part of the game you will only get the standard XP from Pokemon you have already captured. If the Pokemon provides no additional benefit, such as Candy, it is best to ignore it or flee the encounter.

    Evolve Your Pokemon

    Evolving Pokemon is just as important as capturing new ones. To power up and evolve your Pokemon, you will need Candy and Stardust. If you catch any duplicate species, you can transfer the lower Combat Points (CP) duplicates back to the Professor in exchange for Candy, which can be used to evolve that Pokemon type. The ones with low CP are weaker fighters, so you’ll want to transfer those and evolve the one with a higher CP. You can then power up your remaining strong Pokemon even further to prepare them for gym battles.

    Use Incense, Lures, and Lucky Eggs

    Incense and Lure modules can be used to attract more Pokemon to your location, allowing you to catch more Pokemon and increasing your chances of finding new ones. Incense lasts 30 minutes and is best if you are planning to walk around. Pokemon will be attracted to your location as you move.

    Lure modules on the other hand are intended for Pokestops, increasing the Pokemon frequency at that particular location. This means you will have to remain at the Pokestop to benefit from the Lure. The upside to using the Lure module is that it works for multiple trainers at the Pokestop, so consider using a Lure when at a stop with other players.

    Lucky Eggs, not to be confused with regular Pokemon Eggs, are consumable items that increase your XP gain for a period of time, and can be purchased with PokeCoins within the Shop panel. After using a Lucky Egg, you’ll earn double the XP for a duration of 30 minutes. Be sure to use one before performing high XP tasks, such as evolving or catching Pokemon.

    Incubate and Hatch Eggs

    Hatching Pokemon Eggs grants a decent amount of XP, but requires specific steps to accomplish. In order to hatch a Pokemon Egg, you will need to incubate the egg while travelling a certain distance. Pokemon Eggs can be obtained at a Pokestop along with other items.

    Once you have acquired an Egg, place it into an incubator by tapping Start Incubation within the Eggs tab. Only one Egg can go in an incubator at a time, but you can purchase additional temporary incubators with real-world money if you wish to hatch multiple eggs.

    While the Egg is in the incubator, you must travel for a certain distance with the app open in order for the Egg to hatch. Keep in mind that rarer Pokemon will require more steps than common ones. You must keep the app open during this process so that the app can track your steps. Your steps won’t count if you go over certain speeds, so don’t bother doing this while driving. Your Pokemon Egg will hatch after walking the allotted distance for that egg, earning you additional XP and a new Pokemon for your collection.


    You will gain a small amount of XP for each Pokestop that is visited. While this is a nice added bonus, the main purpose of visiting Pokestops is to collect as many Items as possible (especially in the early stages of the game). You may not need certain items at the present time, but stocking up on Items will help to improve your ability to Level Up quickly in the following ways.

    Pokeballs: With a well stocked inventory of Pokeballs, you will be able to capture many Pokemon in given period of time without having to stop and search for Pokestops. You may think you have enough, but some Wild Pokemon encounters can use up

    Eggs: As mentioned earlier in this guide, Eggs can be acquired from Pokestops and will reward you with a lot of XP once hatched. The drop rate of Eggs at Pokestops is relatively low, but the more Pokestops you visit the better chance you have at acquiring Eggs.

    Potions/Max Revives: Thinking of gaining XP through Gym battles? If so you will need a lot of Potions and a decent amount of Max Revives to keep the XP grind continuous. No matter how favorable a Gym matchup you find, your Pokemon will eventually take damage. Get well stocked on Potions/Revives to keep the battle streak going!


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