How to level up fast in Skyrim and maximise your progress

If you're new to Bethesda's fantasy epic, you'll probably find yourself wondering how to level up fast in Skyrim because it can prove to be a difficult endeavour. Although you can level up almost by accident early in the game, the further you progress into the wonderful world of the Elder Scrolls Skyrim, the bigger the chasmal gaps between levels grow. However, there are ways to manipulate Skyrim’s levelling system. Here's all of our tips on how to level up fast in Skyrim.

Focus on the right skills

How to level up fast in Skyrim

First of all, it’s important to recognize the entire breadth of skills in the game. While it’s easy to commit to one-handed swordsmanship or Destruction magic, it’s essential that you remember the likes of Sneak, Alchemy, and Lockpicking. A lot of these skills can be levelled passively, so you’ll likely net some nice experience by simply playing the game. However, sometimes you need to consciously level these utility skills if you’re trying to level up fast overall.

This is because each skill has its own level value, which contributes to your overall character level. Every skill can be levelled to 100, at which point you can choose to make it “Legendary,” which resets it to 15 and gives you all the skill points you invested in perks back. For every individual skill level you gain, you’ll get overall levelling experience. It’s easy to dismiss your character’s level as relatively unimportant, given that perks are only tied to individual skill levels, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Every character level you gain will net you a skill point and an increase to either Health, Stamina, or Magicka. Because of this, grinding utility skills can give you five skill points and 50 points of health in no time. Even if you don’t touch any combat skills, this automatically turns you into a far more formidable foe. It’s kind of like indirect combat levelling, because you’re getting stat buffs and extra perks, without gaining specific combat knowledge.

Some skills are far better than others when it comes to power-levelling like this. While a lot of levelling boils down to carrying out actions at the right time, you can exploit the experience system by repeatedly casting spells, or staying in a crouched position while you make your way through a dungeon. For example, Muffle is an Illusion spell you can get early in the game that quietens your footsteps. While this is useful in many situations, particularly if you’re wearing heavy armour and need to sneak around, you can also just continuously cast this while walking through a town. It’s not necessary and likely won’t have any effect at all, but you’ll gain tons of Illusion experience, which means netting a rake of skill points and stat boosts. 

Smithing & Enchanting can provide a lot of experience points

How to level up fast in Skyrim

Smithing/Enchanting is another combination well worth investing in. If you buy leather strips and iron ingots, you’ll be able to craft iron daggers at a blacksmith’s forge. Iron daggers aren’t worth much, so you’ll be operating at a loss initially, but if you’ve got a good amount of soul gems you can enchant them and drastically increase their worth. The best way to get these is to buy a plethora of empty soul gems at an alchemist’s and fill them using a weapon with a soul trap enchantment, which allows you to claim the souls of the foes you kill.

Once you’ve got lots of filled gems, you can bring any piece of weaponry or armour to an enchanting table and assign it magical properties. Return to the blacksmith’s, sell off your magical daggers, and fill up on strips and ingots all over again. You’ll have 100 Enchanting and 100 Smithing before you know it, and your Speech should get a nice boost too from all the trading. As a nice byproduct, you’ll also be able to don some powerful, enchanted armour and wield magical weapons, so you’ll have a much easier time grinding combat skills from here on out too.

Fight high level enemies

How to level up fast in Skyrim

Once you’ve got decent gear and a deep pool of health and stamina, you’ll want to start grappling with high-HP enemies to get the most bang for your buck. Dragons are obviously a good foe to farm, as they’ve got a massive amount a health. You can find them at all the overlooks dotted across Skyrim, usually guarding a Word of Power and a Master Chest. However, dragons also spawn randomly across the entire map, to the extent that you’ll likely encounter lots of them just wandering through the wilderness.

When it comes to combat, you’ll want to be targeting individual skills to level up. There’s no point in wailing on a giant with a two-handed warhammer and whipping out a barrage of fiery Destruction magic at the end. Dual-cast spells, use a greatsword, soak up damage with an enchanted shield - you can train whatever skill you want once you’re committed to that particular skill. The best way to level up fast is to level up smart, and juggling combat styles will net you versatility in the long run, but will fill your quest to become the fabled Dragonborn with unnecessary tedium in the moment. 

Although all of the above tactics work wonders for power-levelling, perhaps the most important thing to remember is the necessity of exploration. If you’re only following the main quest, you’ll become under-levelled pretty quickly. As a result, you’ll spend your time guzzling health potions just to make it through the first area of a dungeon. To level up fast, you need to do side quests, faction storylines, and just wander into random caves from time to time. Sure, there might be a group of vampires in there waiting to ambush you, but they’ll give you experience you wouldn’t get otherwise. It’s very easy to play a streamlined Skyrim, so you often need to remember just how wild and wonderful its world is. Also, if you spent a while casting Muffle and selling enchanted Iron daggers, you’ll be kitted out in armour fit for a king. No matter where you go, you’ll be able to take on all kinds of beasties and creepy crawlies with brandished steel. That’s the fastest way to level up combat skills in Skyrim: to be so well-equipped that even the most devastating foes can’t take you on.