You win!

While some might assume that capturing Pokémon is the ultimate objective in Pokémon GO, what you really need to focus on in the beginning is levelling up your trainer as fast as possible. Not only do you need to be a level 5 trainer to gain access to gyms, the level of your avatar determines the rarity and power of the monsters you encounter. It also helps that when you level up, you're given a host of items - some of which usually cost Poké Coins to buy, such as the Lure Module.

The Basics of Pokémon GO

You gain XP for capturing Pokémon, visiting Pokéstops and fulfilling other activities, but it's slow going unless you're playing the game constantly and live in a location packed with Pokéstops. Here's a guide of all the things which earn you XP:

Catching Pokémon:

  • Catch Pokémon with a Curveball - 10 XP
  • Catch Pokémon with a Nice throw - 10 XP
  • Catch Pokémon with a Great throw - 50 XP
  • Catch Pokémon with an Excellent Throw - 100 XP
  • Capture any Pokémon - 100 XP
  • Catch new Pokémon - 500 XP (+100 XP for the above)

PokeStops and Gyms:

  • Interacting with a PokéStop - 50 XP
  • Winning a Gym training session in your gym - Varies based on CP difference
  • Winning a Gym battle vs one Pokémon - 150 XP
  • Winning a Gym battle vs two Pokemon - 250 XP
  • Winning a Gym battle vs three Pokémon - 350 XP
  • Winning a Gym battle vs four Pokémon - 450 XP
  • Winning a Gym battle vs five Pokémon - 550 XP (etc)

Evolving and hatching:

  • Hatching Pokémon - 200 XP
  • Evolving Pokémon - 500 XP
  • Evolving new Pokémon - 500 XP (on top of 500XP for evolving)
  • Hatching new Pokémon - 500 XP (on top of 200XP for hatching)

Thankfully, with the right items and tactics, it's possible to speed things up.

First up, you'll need some Lucky Eggs. These are premium items which allow you to double the amount of XP you get for 30 minutes. Not only are Lucky Eggs available as an IAP, you receive them when you level up at certain points and (in very rare cases) get them from Pokéstops.

If you're in an area with plenty of nearby Pokéstops - like a big city - then simply using a Lucky Egg will give you 100XP instead of the usual 50XP when you visit a Pokéstop. Factor in the fact that you're bound to run into monsters as you walk around and it becomes clear that it's very easy to earn a considerable amount of XP in a short space of time. The good thing about this method is that repeatedly visiting Pokéstops also bags you items, and sometimes you'll get a Lucky Egg, replacing the one you had to use. Remember that Pokéstops reset and can be used again after a few minutes, so if you're doing a constant circuit of a particular location you can earn some serious XP.

How to evolve and prosper your Pokémon in Pokémon GO

If that method seems too sluggish for your liking, then another one exists which allows you to potentially earn a whopping 60,000 XP in the space of 30 minutes. Again, a Lucky Egg is needed, but here you'll also be evolving those those seemingly useless Pokémon you have clogging up your collection.

Pidgey, Weedle and Caterpie are three of the most common Pokémon in the game, yet they do have a use. Everytime you evolve a Pokémon you receive 500 XP. With Lucky Egg enabled, that jumps to 1000 XP. This is why this particular trio are so important; unlike many of the other monsters in the game, the amount of candy required to evolve them is quite low - you only need 12 candies compared to the 25 or 50 that other monsters ask for. Because these three Pokémon are quite common finds, you should have more than enough candy available to evolve several of them in the 30 minute period that the Lucky Egg is effective for.

Provided you plan ahead, have the right number of unevolved Pidgey, Weedle and Caterpies in your collection and don't run into any server troubles, it's possible to evolve up to 60 Pokémon in 30 minutes - which nets you 60,000 XP.