Furthermore, how does Archery level? Does every successful hit on an enemy reward me with a set amount of experience, or does damage dealt also play a role? Also, do I receive any experience for a missed shot?


15 Answers 15


You do not receive experience for a missed shot. You do gain experience on every successful hit (does not have to be enemy!). The more damage you do, the more experience you gain. A kill also gives you a bit of experience bonus (judging by how much the bar moves).

The best part of leveling archery is that you don't have to hit an enemy to get experience, you can make target practice on your summoned minions, such as a familiar or zombie. Just summon one, shoot at it, then repeat.

There are also 3 archery trainers in Skyrim that can improve your skill for gold:

  • Faendal in Riverwood (Journeyman, level 0 - 50).
    • You can effectively train with Faendal for free, if you gain him as a follower through the quest "A Lovely Letter".
  • Aela The Huntress in Whiterun (Expert, level 0 - 75). (Aela will only train you after you join The Companions)
  • Niruin in Riften (Master, level 0 - 90)
  • 5
    But the target has to be alive? So shooting at the circle-targets in e.g. the thieves guild doesn't work?
    – Konerak
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 12:19
  • 2
    @Konerak, you are correct, it has to be able to take damage
    – l I
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 12:19
  • 3
    Is Niruin accessable without being part of the thieves' guild?
    – Arkive
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 16:04
  • 4
    If you complete the Companions quest line Aela The Huntress can become a follower which will allow you to get "free" archery training from her, by paying for the training then transferring the gold back by accessing her inventory.
    – jazzdawg
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 23:43
  • 3
    A little tip, don't grind any skill on a summon that can do a finisher move. I made the mistake of training on a summoned Dremora and after dozens of them hit me for no damage one decapitated me in one hit. The algorithm that decides whether a killmove happens doesn't take armor into account, apparently.
    – kotekzot
    Commented May 5, 2012 at 0:30

Another way to get 5 easy levels is to go to a place called "Angi's Camp". It's a little south-east of Falkreath. Angi will give you tips for using a bow, and if prompted will take you down to some targets and tell you which to shoot, etc. etc. Doing each practice session on the targets grants you 1 level, regardless of what level you are, and there are 5 in total. I waited and used them to get from 90 to 95, though in hindsight I maybe should have waited to do from 95 - 100. Also found inside the shack at her camp is a skill book on her bedside table which will grant you another skill point. Hope this help!

There are actually six free archery levels that can be gotten from training with Angi. There are four challenges, the first grants you three archery levels, and the other three grant 1 level each upon completion. Not to mention the archery skill book called "The Gold Ribbon of Merit" available in her house by her bed, which could potentially give a seventh free archery level.

  • 1
    nice tip. You can use the oghma infinium to get the last 5 points if you wanted to.
    – l I
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 22:02
  • 1
    I didn't deliberately use Angi to go from 91 to 96, that's just what my Archery happened to be when I discovered her. A very pleasant surprise! Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 8:44

There are several effective ways to level archery in Skyrim. The first way I found was as follows:

  1. Get a weak bow (hunting/imperial) and a ton of Iron or Steel arrows and find a giant location in the wilderness (icon looks like a mammoth head w/ tusks, or an octopus) with a few giants and a large, unclimbable rock.

  2. Make your way to an area of the rock with a good viewpoint, and hopefully some cover to crouch back out of view and re-hide yourself. The giants and mammoths will be unable to get to you, and since they are 100% reliant on melee, you are untouchable.

  3. Turn the game difficulty up to Adept or Master (whatever they're called if those are wrong).

  4. Proceed to dump dozens and dozens of arrows into giants, and the mammoths if you have any left.

Another good way to level archery:

  1. Put your companion/follower with the heaviest armor, preferably buffed with health, hit him/her with courage and rally, give them a shield and no weapon (usually it means they default to a really weak weapon. Maybe use the gloves of the pugilist found in the Rataway during the prereq quest for the thieve's guild. They may auto-equip those given that they're enchanted.)

  2. Have them tank a large group of lowbie bandits or whatever, while you dump arrows into their backs. The best thing would be like two bears, any more and they'll die too quickly.

Yet another good way would be to find any troll, equip your Ice Form shout that freezes enemies for whatever it is, twenty seconds or whatever, and use low-damage arrows so that the troll can regen about as fast as you can damage it. When it gets close to you, shout and get some distance.

There are obviously other good ways to level archery, but hope these suggestions help. They certainly helped me. :)

  • 7
    The amount of experience you gain from a shot depends on damage done, so using weaker bows doesn't really make a difference other than the fact that it makes it take longer.
    – l I
    Commented Nov 28, 2011 at 23:10
  • Trolls can't get to you in water, by the way.
    – user24923
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 21:04
  • Bound bow on Shadowmere is far more effective, and less risky, than this idea actually.
    – Selonianth
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 6:12

One of the best ways I've seen to level archery is to get the Dark Brotherhood horse, and shoot it repeatedly. It usually regenerates whatever damage you do to it between shots, and he holds still and doesn't despawn.

Plus, he looks awesome :)


If you're not bothered by using a minor exploit, there's a quick way to get 50 Archery (and several levels!) early in the game:

  1. Team up with Faendal by taking his side in the Love Triangle quest.
  2. Pay him for Archery training, as many times as you can.
  3. Take your gold back by speaking to him and choosing the trade option.
  4. Repeat as often as possible.
  5. Win at Archery.

You can only train 5 times per level, but at very low levels his training may cause you to level anyway. You can very easily get up to level 50 (Faendal's limit) this way. You can presumably do the same with Aela the Huntress up to 75, but you have to do the Companions quest chain before she will join you.


Note: Make sure you have a good hiding spot before doing this! Get a follower, then make them wait somewhere. Crouch in shadows about 20 feet (whatever seems a good estimate) and equip both your bow and your arrows (make sure they are not too strong to kill your follower). Begin shooting your follower every six seconds (unless you have a powerful bow that deals more than 3/4 of their health; in this case shoot them every time their health fully regenerates). If you are completely hidden, you should gain Sneak experience, too. Doing this properly should level up your Archery from about 30 to 50 in about fourty minutes, from 50 to 70 in about an hour, and from 70 to 100 in about an hour and a half. And it also levels up your Sneak a little bit slower than Archery; it should max out your Sneak if you continue this process.

Hope this helps! :)


If you really need help with archery turn your difficulty up to medium and just do the stormcloak questline and the Companions questline and just use arrows and sneak the whole time and you can raise levels quick!

Note: You can level up sneak by going to high hrothgar with an iron dagger and sneaking behind any of them and attackthem over and over again. Also Make sure you have the guardian stone for sneak on i raised archery in 3 hours to 100, i know thats long but at least i had fun doing it! Ya Know?


Find bandit camps and just sneak around till you find a nice place to hide. Go into sneak mode and you'll one shot them and gain sneak xp too. I've done this to about 5 or so bandit camps. I also did this with a troll.

By the way, I'm only lvl 13 but that's how I got my archery to about 35 and also got some money. I've tried the giant one but they kept moving so I got closer, fell off a cliff then got mauled. You can also hunt deer, elks, wolves, and I've even kill a mammoth that was stuck. It'll gain you xp quick if you're in the right area and are low lvl like me.


Go to an open field with giants and mammoths, shoot them and then get in a small house so they can't get you.


In your main quest where you will have to go to High Hrothgar and train your Unrelenting Force, Sneak somewhere where you still see the four Greybeards (after they form in circle) then hit them with a bow. They won't attack you when they form their circle, but do not attempt this at any other time. The Greybeards have plenty of health so they can endure up to 4x to 5x of 40+ damage from your bow. While one of them regenerates, shoot the other Greybeards. Just complete the process and you're good to go. Increasing the difficulty will also increase there health.

  • If you kill one he gets back up, but has no health bar. Does shooting at him still gain experience? Commented Aug 9, 2021 at 2:23

After becoming thane in Whiterun, head into Dragonsreach, and go up onto the balcony overlooking the main hall. Then shoot the jarl and only the jarl. I leveled up from 50 to 100 in about an hour of this.


Just run around with a Daedric bow and kill everything. I leveled up from 20 to 60 in 45 minutes.


Set the difficulty to 'Master'. Find a cage and summon Frost Atronach inside (it is too big to get out), keep shooting it till it dies. Summon & repeat...


I normally hunt mammoths, giants, and trolls. I'm Getting upwards 70's now so buying is to expensive. Also I'm constantly on the look out for dadrea or whatever hearts for the daedric bow. And I hunt dragons because I'm Slowly making dragon armor. Gonna get rid of my amazing looking nightingale armor

  • This isn't an answer. if you have some like this to tell the asker, put it in comments, but since you just have 1 reputation and commenting requires 50, I suggest you edit your answer, but you may also include what you put here as long as that's the only thing in the answer.
    – Jim Jones
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:08

To train easily, use a crap bow, something like a hunting/imperial bow, and get a bunch of iron/steel arrows.

Now join the Legion, and when you are in a fort, raiding, attack a guard (but save previously just in case they end up endless). Make sure you hit them and they die.

This should help you level up quick. I gained like 20 lvls from lvl 50 just by doing that.

  • 4
    There's no reason to use a low-quality bow for this. As the accepted answer states, you earn experience based on damage done, so using a crap bow will actually slow down the process.
    – Ben Blank
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 18:46
  • This doesn't answer the question. Archery increasing depends on how much damage you use on enemies, not using a crap bow. Besides there are other ways too. This slows down the process as Ben Blank says.
    – Jim Jones
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:09

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