There are lots of elements to Pokemon Go. There's finding and collecting all the Pokemon, there's battling in Gyms, there's hatching eggs and visiting PokeStops.

Then there's the whole world of powering up your Pokemon and raising your Trainer's XP. These two elements have a huge impact on how all the parts of Pokemon Go fits together, and they are quite closely linked together, so let's take a look.

What is Pokemon Go XP and what are levels?

Pokemon Go XP is basically a reflection of your character's experience in the game. As you progress through Pokemon Go, you'll gain XP for completing various tasks and move up through levels. XP is good though, because it unlocks a lot of elements of the game as you progress.

For example, reaching level 5 gives you the chance to join a team. Subsequent levels, gained through acquiring more XP, unlocks things like Great Balls, gifts you Lure Modules and gives you additional incubators for your eggs.

Each time you step up a level, you'll be given a bonus pack of items to help you on your way.

Why do I need Pokemon XP?

Aside from the obvious point of demonstrating that you're a more experienced player and the rewards you might get for progressing through levels, earning a lot of XP and being a higher level player has a huge advantage when it comes to capturing, evolving and powering up your Pokemon.

What advantage is that? That's simple: the higher level you are, the better you are as a trainer, the more likely you are to hatch powerful Pokemon and the larger the gains when evolving Pokemon. Basically, when you're level 15, you get much more from your efforts than you do when you're level 5.

How do you raise Pokemon XP?

XP is delivered for a lot of normal Pokemon Go activities. In the normal course of playing the game, you get XP for capturing Pokemon, with bonuses awarded for catching new Pokemon or good throws of the Poke Ball, for example.

But there's a lot more XP awarded for finding new Pokemon, evolving new Pokemon, hatching eggs and visiting Poke Stops. One of the best ways to get all these things working for you is go to a new place, like a town or city centre, where there are lots of Poke Stops, lots of people and lots of Pokemon.

Then simply go from Poke Stop to Poke Stop, collecting it all, catching it all and gobbling up the XP.

Double up with Lucky Eggs

One of the best ways to raise to your XP quickly is using your Lucky Eggs. These are awarded sometimes as you level up, but are also a great way of leaping through levels. The best time to drop a lucky egg - which will double your XP earned for 30 mins - is when you know you're going to have a big Pokemon Go session.

If you're heading somewhere new, or going out to do battle, or basically you know you have 30 minutes of undisturbed Pokemon Go action, then that's when you should use a Lucky Egg. It will mean that everything you do is extra rewarding. Want more Pokemon too? Drop some incense too.

Train up, or knock down Gyms

There are XP rewards available in Gyms, but you need victories. If you don't win, you don't get anything. Find a Gym, line up your Pokemon squad and hit it hard. As you knock the prestige down you'll be rewarded with XP for your efforts, especially if you can take out multiple rivals.

The same applies on the other side. Train hard in friendly Gyms, and get XP for your efforts. Again, remember to enter a fight that you're going to win, because there are no rewards for losing the first fight.

How much XP do I need to level up in Pokemon Go?

That varies from level to level, increasing incrementally as you progress through the levels. To begin with you'll only need a few thousand to step up a level, but as you get to higher levels, you'll find you need more and more XP to move up to the next level.

Does that matter? Well, in the early stages you'll hit level 5 pretty quickly, but it can then take longer to get to level 10. But at the same time, with each level you step up, the potential rewards are greater as you can hatch better eggs and so on.

Why do I need to power up Pokemon?

When you start Pokemon Go, most of the Pokemon you catch have a low value - something like CP10. This relates to their combat power and is loosely linked to health and together those values make up how a Pokemon will perform in a battle.

Powering up a Pokemon is how you raise its CP and health and raise its effectiveness when in battle.

How do I power up Pokemon?

To power up a Pokemon you need two things: Stardust and Candy.

If you have the required quantity of both, when you look at the information screen for an individual Pokemon, you'll see the option to "power up", above the option to evolve.

Evolving only needs Candy, but lots of it.

What is Stardust and where can I find it?

Stardust is generically collected as you capture Pokemon and the amount of Stardust you'll need to power up a Pokemon increases as it gets more powerful. You might initially need 200, but as Pokemon develop, you'll start needing in excess of 1000.

Stardust, and the need for Stardust, is one of the reasons you need to keep catching all those common Pokemon you find, or you need to sit in a bunch of Gyms for a long time for the Stardust reward you'll earn every 21 hours - which seems to be the more difficult option.

What is Candy and where can I find it?

As for Candy, each Pokemon family has its own type of Candy. When you catch a Pokemon, you also get some of its type of Candy too. You'll need Candy to power up, as well as the Stardust. In the case of Candy to power up, you typically only need a few, so if you have the Stardust, it's a fairly simple process.

If you need more Candy, you can transfer Pokemon back to the professor. This will award you 1 Candy of that family type. So, if you need Candy, you can safely transfer those CP10 Rattata to the professor, take the Candy and power up your more powerful Raticate.

There's also Candy available through the Buddy system. Assign a buddy and as you walk, they will fund extra Candy for their type of Pokemon. If you have 47 Candy and need 50 to evolve, assigning a buddy is the best way to do it.

When should I power up and when should I evolve a Pokemon?

Pokemon have evolution paths. Although these aren't fully revealed in Pokemon Go until you have the relevant Pokemon in your collection, they are well documented elsewhere in the Pokemon world.

Deciding whether to power up or evolve depends on your long-term strategy and each individual Pokemon you have. If you're at the top of the evolutionary path, with a Pigeon, for example, then power up is the obvious option.

As tempting as it is to power up as soon as you have the Stardust and Candy, it's almost not worth it. When you have a low level trainer, with low XP, the gains are minimal. However, at the same time, you need to develop Pokemon that can be effective, so there's a balance to be struck here.

With that said, it also doesn't make sense to evolve Pokemon in the early stages of the game, because the evolution is much more rewarding when you have a more powerful trainer. It's a little boring only gaining XP and levelling up your Trainer, so if you take one thing from this guide, it's not spend the early stages levelling up weak Pokemon. Ultimately it's a waste of Candy and Stardust.

How many Pokemon do I need to power up or evolve?

Ultimately, one of the biggest reasons to evolve a Pokemon is because you get a new Pokemon and you want your Pokedex to be fully stuffed with every character.

But the reality of Pokemon Go is you need a fighting portfolio. Each battle you enter lets you take in six Pokemon and ultimately, you want to be able to pick those fighters who will be effective against the enemy you're faced with.

In reality you'll end up with champions - those powerful Pokemon you keep powering up because they help you win battles - and the short supply of Stardust (especially) will mean you have to choose which Pokemon you spend it on. Don't neglect those chaps though, as when your champion falls after a string of victories, it's going to be your second or third ranked Pokemon that see you through to final victory.

What happens when I use Transfer in Pokemon Go?

This is a common question, because the warning associated with it is a little stark: you're warned that transferring to the professor means you can't get the Pokemon back.

This only means that individual Pokemon: it doesn’t bar you from developing more, catching more and keeping more. Transfer is a way to clear those early weak CP10 Pokemon out of your collection, in exchange for Candy that can be used to power up those later Pokemon you caught or evolved.