The character you've created in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim doesn't advance to higher experience levels the same way as in many other RPG's, so you can't do that simply by receiving experience points. The entire process is based on increasing character's skills. There's a total of 18 groups of skill in the game and each skill group can be increased by performing tasks connected with it. For example, if you want to increase Archery you must use the bow often, if you want to increase Destruction you must cast spells from this school of magic and if you want to increase Speech you must convince other characters to change their minds about the things you're interested in. Each time you've performed a sufficient number of actions within each skill group you'll increase it by one point (most of the skills start with 15 points and you can raise them up to 100 points). The game will obviously inform you about your progress by displaying a special bar on the screen (screen above). In order to advance to the next level you must always fill that bar and it's important to know that you can do this by improving only one skill or many different skills (much better idea).
Once you've filled the progress bar you'll be informed about the possibility of advancing to the next level and the easiest way to do that is to press the TAB key and to choose the upper button. There are two things you should know about gaining new levels. The first one is that each time you've advanced you'll be allowed to choose which of the main attributes you want to increase by 10 points (screen above). It's rather obvious that you should be choosing attributes that suit your style of play, so for a example as a mage you should be developing mostly mana. The second thing is that once you've advanced you'll be given one skill point. You can spend these points on perks and each constellation (skill group) has a bunch of them you can choose from. You can find out more about each perk from the next section of this chapter. This is a good moment to inform you that you don't have to spend the skill points you receive right away, because if you don't see anything that seems interesting to you it's better to wait until better perks become unlocked (it usually happens when you increase your skills, however some perks are linked).
Performing tasks mentioned earlier in the text isn't the only way to increase your skills. There are other ways to do that:
- Finding skill books - Reading a skill book automatically increases the skill it's tied to by one point. The biggest advantage of this method is that using books fills your progress bar, so they not only improve your skills but also provide assistance in gaining new experience levels. The biggest disadvantage of reading books is that each book can be used only once and then it becomes useless (can still be sold). A complete list of skill books can be found in the Listings chapter.
- Asking skill trainers for help - Buying a lesson from a trainer (screen above) automatically increases the skill he or she specializes in by one point. The biggest advantage of this method is that completing lessons fills your progress bar, so they not only improve your skills but also provide assistance in gaining new experience levels. The biggest disadvantages on the other hand are that lessons cost a lot and that you can have only five of them per level. The second problem is thankfully easy to control, because once you've gained a level you can return to the trainer and purchase another five lessons. A complete list of skill trainers can be found in the Listings chapter.
- Wearing an item which increases certain skills - The biggest advantage of this method is that the increase is often significant (more than 10 points in some cases). The biggest disadvantage is that the bonus stays active only as long as you're wearing a magical object. This means you can't use these items to guarantee yourself an early access to better perks.