What is the fastest way to level up my alchemy skill?
Do the type of potions I make have any effect on how much experience I gain towards leveling my Alchemy skill? Are there any ways to level my Alchemy skill aside from making potions? How effective are the methods for leveling compared to leveling by making potions?
I'm fairly sure discovering new effects gives you the biggest boost to your alchemy skill, but throwing together your own potions is gonna be effective, of course.
My strategy has been to go out and collect too many ingredients and then head to an alchemy table and just start throwing stuff together. Generally, I try to put ingredients that I know a lot of effects with ingredients that I know zero or one effects. This way, I have a better chance of matching something.
Eating ingredients will uncover the first effect.
Oh, and you could always train from a specialist and then kill them and recollect your gold. But that's limited to fives times per level.
This wiki is a great source: http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Alchemy
I prefer to try ingredients for which I know as few effects as possible, makes it more likely to discover completely new effects.
@jwaddell: Sounds good to me too. I also match ingredients by "common sense." Two frosty plants probably have similar effects, etc. There are loads of strategies! Alchemy is one of my favorite parts of the game.
The most efficient way is take two ingredients you know work together, and then add a third one that you want to discover effects on. That way, you still create a potion and get the larger amount of EXP and have a good chance of discovering an effect (since there are up to 7 effects on the two that do match).