How to level up fast in Pokemon Go
In battle, it's a Pokemon's Combat Power-- or CP-- that matters. But trainer level has some pretty big effects on the game, too, and raising your trainer opens up a lot of new possibilities.
As you level up, you'll unlock new items to use in the Pokemon catching minigame. Gym combat unlocks at level 5. Great Balls unlock at level 12. The stuff that's gated behind Trainer level is pretty cool, and being stranded without access to it at low levels can be pretty frustrating. (Just ask all my sub-level-5 friends who've had to wait around Gyms with me while I have fun.)
But leveling up your Trainer level isn't just about items. We don't have any hard data on this, but anecdotally-- It's something I've definitely noticed in comparisons with my friends-- the higher level you are as a trainer, the stronger Pokemon you see in the wild. You won't consistently see extremely tough monsters, but it does seem like the "window" of possible strengths you can see widens!
So, playing with an eye to XP and trainer level can have a big impact on your game. With that in mind, we've put together a guide for quickly acquiring as much XP as you possible can to boost your trainer level.
Core goal: evolution XP
All Pokemon evolutions net your account a certain number of experience points. Each evolution you perform currently gets you 500XP-- either weak and common Pokemon, or strong and rare ones, it doesn't matter. 500XP, no matter what. This is one of the largest single amounts of XP you can get from any action in Pokemon Go-- it's tied with the 500XP you get from catching a Pokemon you haven't seen before.
Unfortunately, it's much harder to constantly track down new Pokemon than it is to evolve large nubmers of the Pokemon you have easy access to. If you want to gain lots of levels very fast, you're gonna want to do as many evolutions as possible. Here's the process for maximizing that XP:
Catch an extremely large number of 12- and 25-candy pokemon
Sick and tired of all those Pidgeys and Weedles you're seeing around? Don't ignore them-- catch absolutely every one you see. They are the most valuable thing you could get right now. Store up a vast quantity. When you get too many, transfer some to Professor Willow for extra candies, but keep a bunch lying around, too.
What you want to do is specifically target pokemon that evolve at 12 candies and 25 candies.
Caterpie, Pidgey, and Weedle evolve at 12 candies. Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Rattata, Nidorans (both genders), Oddish, Poliwag, Abra, Machop, Bellsprout, Geodude, Ghastly, Eevee, and Dratini evolve at 25. If you can focus on 12-candy Pokemon, you're in luck; but the 25-candy ones also pile up fast if you have access to incense or a lured Pokestop to collect a lot of them very quickly. I found it very easy to get large amounts of Rattata and Pidgey candies by luring Pokestops.
Save enough of each Pokemon so that you can evolve the largest possible number at once
If you know you're going to go on a long Pokemon journey-- say, an entire day running around at parks and beaches-- save your evolutions until the end of the day. Even if you want to evolve somebody, hold off and bank up as many candies as possible. I banked up about 24 hours of candies before testing this myself.
When you're ready, and in the right place, use a Lucky Egg
Lucky Eggs double the amount of XP you get from all actions for 30 minutes. You're going to want to do all your evolutions at once with a Lucky Egg active to powerlevel yourself most effectively.
If you want to absolutely maximize the amount of XP you get from one Lucky Egg, don't just save up the evolutions-- first, head off to a lured Pokestop, or use one of your incenses, so that you'll have the opportunity to catch a lot of Pokemon once you're done evolving. The XP you get for those catches will also double
Grist for the mill
Just evolve everybody, transfer the evolved versions, and keep going.
Do not evolve to third-stage Pokemon unless you're actively looking to get that Pokemon for the first time. You'll get more XP just evolving to Pidgeottos, Kakunas, and Metapods and throwing the resultant Pokemon away.
The base XP for one evolution is 500, but you'll be getting 1000XP for each of your Lucky Egg evolutions. (If it's a new Pokemon you haven't caught before, you'll get 500 new-pokemon XP on top of your 500X evolve XP-- so, 1000 extra XP with a Lucky Egg.) If you're relatively low-level and have saved up enough candies, you might be able to level up 3+ times in a single session.
Personally, I think doing this with Pidgeys is really the most effective strategy. Pidgeys pile up fast, because they're everywhere. In my experience, they're much more universally common across various terrains and locations than Weedles or Caterpies.
The bottom line is: if you have Pokeballs to spare, you should definitely be catching all the Pokemon you see, even the extremely weak ones-- because even the weak ones can help boost your trainer level.