The formula for Character Leveling is as follows:
Character XP gained = Skill level acquired
Example: Training Alchemy from 20 to 21 gives 21 Character XP

XP required to level up your character = (Current level + 3) * 25
Example: 100 XP is required to advance from level 1 to level 2,
and 1300 XP is required to advance from level 49 to 50.
This is consistent across all levels!

Leveling a skill from 15 to 100 = 4930 XP

Character XP required to get from level 1 to 81 = 87000 XP (or ~18 maxed skills)

Character XP required to get from level 1 to 252 = 809475 XP (or ~164 maxed skills)

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It's interesting to note how long it takes me to level. Across multiple playthroughs with different character styles, I go from level 1 -20 at about a level an hour - I don't often grind.

Between levels 20 - 40 that ratio halves so that I hit level 40 at around 60 hours playtime. It's funny when I look at some of the best builds on this site and calculate that I could pull off that special move in about a month!

It generally takes me about a week to play from level 1 -> 40. Sometimes it takes longer/short depending on how much RP'ing and fast travelling I do. 

You've hit the nail on the head there. I hate fast travelling and spend quite a bit of time roleplaying, so my figures will be skewed.

The first 10 levels or so fly by quite quickly, especially if you use crafting skills. Enchanting just soars up as you disenchant equipment, and you can easily get it to 50 before hitting the soft cap of knowing pretty much every enchantment in the game.

Once I hit level 30, that's when my characters plateau in level. I think this is because by then I'm only using about 5 skills actively. In my current build, that's one-handed, light armor, block, alchemy, and smithing. The other skills I sometimes use (enchanting, archery, lockpicking, and sneak) don't level frequently enough or are too low level to give a substantial quantity of XP.

This might also have something to do with not using the spellcasting skills at all, which tend to level extremely quickly when used in combat (Conjuration, Alteration, and Illusion) or require multiple castings out of necessity (Restoration, Destruction).

You're right. I stopped using enchanting and that is one of the reasons why. It's funny that after all this tme playing Skyrim, I still view 30 as a high level like I used to in Oblivion. I guess 50 or so hours feels like long enough for a RP character to do his/her thing.

I like to think that two levels in Skyrim is like one level in Oblivion. Level 26 was the soft cap in Oblivion since your major skills were likely quite high at that point, and since equipment stopped leveling past that point. That's about level 51 in Skyrim if you look at it that way. So level 30 in Skyrim is about level 15 or so in Oblivion, which was a very comfortable level in my opinion. That's just how I look at it.

My current character has over 90 hours of game time invested and is just about to hit level 31. She has three skills around 70, two skills around 50, and about five around 30. She'd probably be higher level in blocking leveled your armor skill at the same time if you used a shield, but apparently it does not.

Is that Gwyneth?

My current character is at around level 46 with 60 odd hours I think and, strangely for me, still going strong. Normally I have achieved my RP objectives by now and am ready to start a new character.

The new Dragon Riding aspect of gameplay has helped; makes me nostalgic as I remember High Lord Virminaard and the Dragonlance novels. 

this has been well known for about 15 months.

I didn't know it.

Right there on uesp main page for skyrim under "leveling". The description is "understanding the character leveling system" and has been there pretty much since the game released.

In fact I think this original post might be copy/pasted directly from there, probably should have just posted the link.

Found the basic formula here

Multiplied the hard math figures in excel to come up with these:

Leveling a skill from 15 to 100 = 4930 XP

Character XP required to get from level 1 to 81 = 87000 XP (or ~18 maxed skills)

Character XP required to get from level 1 to 252 = 809475 XP (or ~164 maxed skills)

Was mostly interested in seeing how long it would take to get all 251 perks. Figured others would care to know.. its gonna take awhile :/

Really? I did not think you did considering you level based on skills, not an overall XP system

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