Beginners focused on leveling up may be tempted to spend lots of time in menus, looking at their roster and planning a grand scheme for capturing gyms somewhere down the line. Don't focus on stats, though. Other players who are using their time more effectively to catch higher CP characters will pass you by.
If you want to level up, play the game, not the menus. Pay attention to activities that grant you experience, even if the game doesn't make a big deal about them.
PokéStops, for instance, grant 50 XP per check-in. If you live in a more populated area that has a lot of PokéStops, make a point to actually visit and collect items at each PokéStop while you're moving around and capturing Pokémon.
The walking loop method
Creating a walking loop will help you maximize your PokéStop coverage. Based on our experience, Pokémon Go locations refresh roughly every five minutes, so find an area like a street that has a number of PokéStops, and then walk around for a period of time, ending where you began and thus creating a loop. After you start your next loop, the entire route will have refreshed its contents, and you'll be ready to start collecting again.
Focus on worthwhile activities
It's easy to overestimate your XP gains, so it's important to know the XP that your activities grant.
You get a flat rate of experience for doing most anything that isn't just walking around. For example, evolving Pokémon grants 500 XP. It doesn't matter if you're using 12 candies to evolve a Pigdey or 50 to evolve a Pidgeotto. You will earn 2,000 XP for evolving four Pidgeys, but you'll only get 500 XP for evolving one Pidgeotto.
If it has a high candy cost, it’s not a good idea to evolve anything below 500 CP. You'll eventually wind up replacing those weaker Pokémon anyway.
Here's a list of other major XP contributions:
- Catching a Pokémon: 100 XP
- Catching a new Pokémon: 500 XP
- Throwing a curveball: 10 XP
- Training at a gym: 50 XP
- Battling at a gym: 100 XP
- Winning a gym battle: 150 XP
- Hatching an egg: 200 XP