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Acquiring and Developing Skills
The Sims 3

Acquiring and Developing Skills

The Sims 3 Walkthrough and Guide

by Mike Hazleton  

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The Sims 3 Guide - Life Guide

Acquiring and Developing Skills

Before you can increase your ability at something, you first have to learn how to do it. For an artist, a Sim who wants to learn the Painting skill, they can, for example, either buy an easel and interact with it, or take a class at the local school. Your Sims can then nurture and develop their talents to improve them. Below is a list of every skill, how to get started with it and how to develop it (note that you can use the Acquire guidelines to develop the skill as well), including information on the rewards each gives your Sims:

With the rewards, first the requirement necessary to unlock it is listed, and then the reward itself.


Acquire: Interact with exercise machines, take a class (at Llama Memorial Stadium), read a book, go for a swim, or use a television or stereo to work out to.
Develop: As you move through the levels your Sim will be presented with new exercise routines. These include things like 'Don't Break a Sweat' and 'Good Pacing', and working out to these demands will result in different quality contributions to the Athletic skill. Many have negative side effects, such as making your Sim more fatigued or unhygienic following exercise.


Level 1: Once your Sim learns the Athletic skill they can jog anywhere in town. 'Don't Break a Sweat' is also unlocked at Level 1, avoiding the Hygiene implications of working out.

Sims learn the Don't Break A Sweat exercise method at Level 1 – notice how when you switch between them, the Sim's hygiene meter stops going down.

Level 3: The 'Good Pacing' training regime comes at Level 3, which allows you to work out for longer. Once at Level 3 Sims can get a bonus after exercise in the form of the 'Pumped' moodlet.

Level 5: 'Push Self' is at Level 5, increasing the speed of workout but creating the Sore moodlet, if you select it. Sims now also move faster when directed around town.

Level 6: Sims can now help to train others in the ways of the fitness guru.

Level 7: 'Quick Burst' is at Level 7, where again quicker results come at the expense of feeling sore and fatigued.

Other Rewards:

Body Builder: 60 hours spent improving strength - unlocks a posy Flex move to impress others.

Fitness Nut: 75 hours of cardiovascular routines - to avoid the downsides of over-exercising.

Marathon Runner: Run 500 kilometres - to achieve a longer life.

TIP: You don't need to buy expensive equipment to be able to work out. Use the Television, Stereo or cheap sports equipment (such as the American football) to shed some calories. You can also work out for free at the 28 Hour Wellness Gym, and any swimming pool.


Acquire: For a Sim looking to start their Charisma skills, the usual class is available (at Sunset Valley Town Hall), they can perform in front of any household mirror, or they can read a book on the subject.

Taking a class is by far the easiest way to acquire a new skill – it's not exactly the cheapest, however.

Develop: After following the Acquire guide above to learn the Charisma skill, Sims can use social gatherings as another means to boost their ability. For each level of development, your Sim must have a certain number of friends and relationships. You can see a list of these below:

Level 1: None
Level 2: 2 Relationships
Level 3: 1 Friend, 3 Relationships
Level 4: 2 Friends, 4 Relationships
Level 5: 3 Friends, 6 Relationships
Level 6: 4 Friends, 8 Relationships
Level 7: 5 Friends, 10 Relationships
Level 8: 6 Friends, 15 Relationships
Level 9: 8 Friends, 20 Relationships
Level 10: 10 Friends, 25 Relationships


Level 1: Your Sim quickly learns the new Friendly Greeting. They will also acquire the Charming Introduction ability. This becomes more and more effective as a Sim's Charisma skill improves.

Level 2: The Amusing Greet is learnt.

Level 3: The Interesting Greet is learnt, which can impress other Sims. The Sim will also learn the Get To Know ability. In conversation, this is used for discovering the Traits of other Sims to make future conversation easier.

Level 4: The Flirty Greet is acquired, with Romantic relationship bonuses.

Level 5: The Affectionate Greet is learnt, again with Romantic bonuses. At Level 5 a Sim also discovers the Smooth Recovery ability, which allows them to rescue a conversation which is heading in a bad direction.

Level 6: The Funny Greet is learnt.

Level 7: The Impressive Greet is gained for your Sim.

Level 8: The Hilarious Greet is acquired, providing a Funny relationship bonus..

Level 9: The Loving Greet is gained, with Romantic bonuses.

Level 10: The Hot Greet is gained, with Romantic bonuses.

Being a celebrity has its advantages.

Other Rewards:

Celebrity: 25 Friends in Sunset Valley – this provides faster relationship building for the future.

Comedian: 100 Jokes told (that others found funny) – Jokes are more frequently successful.

Everybody's Best Friend – 10 Best Friends – making friends becomes quicker and easier.

Personable: 50 Traits of other Sims discovered – allows Traits to be learnt more easily.

Super Friendly: 20 Friends – friendships don't diminish over time once established.

TIP: Attend as many parties as possible, fraternise at the park and barge into people's houses uninvited to make as many friends and acquaintances as possible! See Making Friends in the Relationships section for more pointers.


Acquire: Budding chefs can take a class (at Hogan's Deep Fried Diner, or Little Corsican Bistro), read a book on cookery, or simply practice it by preparing a meal.

Develop: Practice, practice, practice to improve your Sim's cooking ability. The more a Sim cooks (they must 'Prepare' a meal, just getting some cornflakes out of the fridge doesn't count), the better they get at a particular meal, and up the levels they go.


Level 1: Sims now learn the Ratatouille recipe. Pancakes, Peanut Butter and Jelly and Hotdogs can all be learnt too when Level 1 is reached, if they buy the appropriate books from the Bookstore.

More recipes can be learnt with each level of the Cooking skill.

Level 2: Goopy Carbonara and Grilled Cheese recipes can now be learnt after purchase from the Bookstore.

Level 3: Fish and Chips and Cookies are learnt automatically by Sims at Level 3.

Level 4: Fruit Parfait is learnt automatically at this level, while Spaghetti and Sushi Roll recipes can now be acquired.

Level 5: The Cheesesteak can now be cooked by Sims. They can also buy the Stu Surprise recipe.

Level 6: Cobbler can now be cooked. The Hamburger recipe can also be learnt if purchased.

Level 7: Sims now automatically learn how to cook Eggs Machiavellian, but can also purchase the recipe for Key Lime Pie.

Level 8: Tri-Tip Steak can be cooked by Sims. They can also learn Grilled Salmon if the recipe is purchased.

Level 9: The festive Stuffed Turkey recipe is automatically acquired when this level is reached. Sims can buy French Toast and Dim Sum recipes too.

Level 10: Both Baked Angel Food Cake and Ambrosia recipes are automatically learnt at Level 10. The Lobster Thermador recipe can also be purchased.


Menu Maven: Learned all recipes – nicer food of a higher standard is regularly prepared.

Star Chef: 50 Meals prepared – nicer food of a higher standard.

World-Class Chef: 75 Meals Prepared – food prepared much faster.

TIP: Nice food will provide positive moodlets for Sims. At the same time, disgusting food will repulse them. Using poor ingredients or poor appliances will contribute to a bad meal (with moodlets such as Uneven Cooking), or vice versa. To cook Ambrosia, the legendary Deathfish is required, as well as the Angel Food Cake – it increases life expectancy.

TIP: Use the Skill Journal to keep track of your recipes.


Acquire: To start the Fishing skill, just sit by a pond and throw a line in there by interacting with it. You can also read a book or take a class in it (at the EverFresh Delights Supermaket).

Develop: Fish to your heart's content and you will move through the ranks of the Fishing skill. You can of course also read books to boost your abilities too. Use Bait (once you hit Level 3 and are able to do so) to increase your chances of catching fish. Each fish you catch boosts your skill rating, and while sitting by the water all day without a bite will improve your skill, it won't do it as much as a productive morning's catching. Fishing early in the morning is a great time for this.


Level 1: Goldfish and Alley Catfish can now be caught.

Level 2: Jellyfish and Rainbow Trout can now be caught.

Level 3: Red Herring and Tuna can now be caught.

Level 4: Piranha and Tragic Clownfish can now be caught.

Level 5: Siamese Catfish and Blowfish can now be caught.

Level 6: Salmon and Black Goldfish can now be caught.

Level 7: Shark and Swordfish can now be caught.

Level 8: Angelfish and Vampire Fish can now be caught.

Level 9: Robot Fish and Lobster can now be caught.

Level 10: Deathfish can now be caught.

Fish at the Graveyard for the chance to catch the Deathfish, when at Level 10, or Vampire Fish at Level 8.


Amateur Ichthyologist: Catch one of each type of fish – helps your Sim catch bigger fish.

Commercial Fisherman: Catch 350 fish – allows for faster fishing.

Fish, Bait and Locations:

Here is a list of all the fish in the game, where to find them, and what bait they prefer. The Maximum Price is the price given if the fish is caught at its heaviest possible weight – the actual price will frequently be considerably lower, particularly with the rarer fish.


Rarity: Common
Location: Anywhere
Bait: Apple
Maximum Price: 11
Level Required: 0


Rarity: Common
Location: Saltwater
Bait: Tomato
Maximum Price: 11
Level Required: 0


Rarity: Common
Location: Freshwater
Bait: Lettuce
Maximum Price: 16
Level Required: 1

Alley Catfish:

Rarity: Rare
Location: Anywhere
Bait: Cheese
Maximum Price: 20
Level Required: 1


Rarity: Common
Location: Saltwater
Bait: Grapes
Maximum Price: 19
Level Required: 2

Rainbow Trout:

Rarity: Common
Location: Freshwater
Bait: Eggs
Maximum Price: 18
Level Required: 2

Red Herring:

Rarity: Common
Location: Anywhere
Bait: Hot Dogs
Maximum Price: 5 (it is a Red Herring after all)
Level Required: 3


Rarity: Common
Location: Saltwater
Bait: Onion
Maximum Price: 25
Level Required: 3

Use bait to increase your chances of catching rarer fish.


Rarity: Rare
Location: Freshwater
Bait: Watermelon
Maximum Price: 30
Level Required: 4

Tragic Clownfish:

Rarity: Rare
Location: Anywhere
Bait: Bell Pepper
Maximum Price: 32
Level Required: 4

Siamese Catfish:

Rarity: Common
Location: Anywhere
Bait: Minnow
Maximum Price: 41
Level Required: 5


Rarity: Rare
Location: Saltwater
Bait: Potato
Maximum Price: 47
Level Required: 5


Rarity: Common
Location: Saltwater
Bait: Lime
Maximum Price: 45
Level Required: 6

Black Goldfish:

Rarity: Common
Location: Freshwater
Bait: Goldfish
Maximum Price: 49
Level Required: 6


Rarity: Rare
Location: Anywhere
Bait: Red Herring
Maximum Price: 70
Level Required: 7


Rarity: Common
Location: Saltwater
Bait: Anchovy
Maximum Price: 60
Level Required: 7


Rarity: Rare
Location: Anywhere
Bait: Alley Catfish
Maximum Price: 85
Level Required: 8

Vampire Fish:

Rarity: Rare
Location: Graveyard
Bait: Garlic
Maximum Price: 225
Level Required: 9

Robot Fish:

Rarity: Rare
Location: Landgraab Science Facility
Bait: Piranha
Maximum Price: 275
Level Required: 9


Rarity: Common
Location: Anywhere
Bait: Tuna
Maximum Price: 120
Level Required: 9


Rarity: Rare
Location: Graveyard (between 12AM and 5AM)
Bait: Angelfish
Maximum Price: 1,000
Level Required: 10

TIP: You can also use fish as decorative items, or, more unusually, as fertiliser for the garden.

TIP: Using bait increases your chances of catching fish. Using the favourite bait of each fish only helps things further!


Acquire: To become a gardener you have to take a class (at the Langraab Industries Science Facility), read a book, or plant a seed.

Develop: Weed your plants as a Level 2 gardener and Fertilize them at Level 3 to ensure healthy and flourishing flowers. Pottering around in the garden and reading plenty of plant books will boost your skill.


Level 2: Your Sim can now use the Weed action to help keep plants clear.

Level 3: The Fertilize action is unlocked, which allows a Sim to boost a plant's growth.

You can find seeds dotted around Sunset Valley.

Level 5: Sims can now plant 'Uncommon Seeds', or rarer varieties of plant-life.

Level 6: The Revive Plant action is unlocked, which makes it possible to attempt to rescue a plant from the grave.

Level 7: Sims can now plant 'Rare Seeds', even rarer varieties of plant-life.

Level 8: A special opportunity presents itself at the Bistro.

Level 9: A special opportunity presents itself at the Bistro.

Level 10: A special opportunity presents itself at the Bistro. The reward for completing all three of these opportunities is the Omni Plant seeds.


Botanical Boss: Harvest 75 perfect fruit and veg – plants are less likely to die if you don't look after them.

Master Farmer: Harvest 650 fruit and veg – plants retain water and fertilizer for longer.

Master Planter: Plant every plant on offer – weeds are reduced on all new plants.

Plant the seeds in your home lot and water regularly, to see them grow.

TIP: Use the most effective fertilizer to maximise plant growth. In descending order they are Vampire Fish, Angelfish, Lobster, Shark, Blowfish, Piranha, Siamese Catfish, Tragicv Clownfish, Red Herring, Life Fruit, Swordfish, Black Goldfish, Salmon, Tuna, Jellyfish, Minnow, Flame Fruit, Garlic, Bell Pepper, Steak, Watermelon, Rainbow Trout, Grapes, Lime, Apple, Potato, Onion, Tomato, Lettuce, Egg, Burger Patty, Cheese, Alley Catfish, Goldfish, and Anchovy.

TIP: Sims who 'Love the Outdoors' will simply enjoy the giddy thrill of examining a growing specimen.


Acquire:  Just buying a guitar and twanging around on it will develop the Guitar skill. You can, of course, also take a class (at the Wilsonoff Community Theatre).

Develop: Once learnt, serenading your housemates and locals is the best way to improve the skill. Play at public locations, and as you level up more songs can be learnt. The Perform skill unlocks at Level 5, making the music enjoyable to listen to.

Purchase a Guitar in Buy Mode and begin learning the skill.


Level 1: At least two new practice songs are learnt.

Level 2: At least two new practice songs are learnt.

Level 3: At least two new practice songs are learnt.

Level 4: At least two new practice songs are learnt.

Level 5: Three new songs are learnt. Sims can also now use the Perform action, and the Serenade romantic action. The Sheet Music Yes Ma'am, I Do, can also be purchased at this level.

Level 6: At least one new perfect song (the Sim will never fail while playing it) is learnt. Flamenco Fever can also be purchased as Sheet Music at this level.

Level 7: At least one new perfect song is learnt. A Perfect Moment can also be purchased as Sheet Music at this level.

Level 8: At least one new perfect song is learnt. Improvise Here and Now can also be purchased as Sheet Music at this level.

Level 9: At least one new perfect song is learnt. Dream Escape can also be purchased as Sheet Music at this level.

Level 10: At least one new perfect song is learnt.


Guitar Star: Play at 10 public events – more tips can be earned performing.

Master Guitarist: Learn every song available – a new song is unlocked.

Money Maker: Earn 5,000 Simoleons in tips and fees – a new song is unlocked.

Put the Guitar in your Sim's inventory and play in public!

TIP: The tips from playing are nice, but once your Sim reaches a certain level of quality and renown as a guitar player among the residents of Sunset Valley they may be asked to perform at parties and functions for big bucks.

TIP: Performing social interactions following a guitar song is a great way to start a conversation on the right foot.


Acquire:  As well as foolhardily attempting to repair a faulty household appliance, you can take a Handiness class (at Fort Gnome Military Base), or read a book.

Develop: Tinkering, Repairing or Upgrading items will always improve your Sim's Handiness skill. Beware of electrocution however! Once 10 electronic items have been successfully repaired, your Sim becomes an Electrician and avoids the risks in the future.


Level 3: The Upgrade action is unlocked. This allows objects to be improved (see below). The first type of upgrade is Self Cleaning. At Level 3 the Dishwasher can be made quieter, the Doorbell sound changed, the Shower's heat improved, the Stereo made louder and Window insulation improved (reducing bills).

Level 4: At Level 4, the Coffeemaker can be fitted with a timer (coffee is made automatically when your Sim wakes up) and the Stove can be made fireproof.

Level 6: The Shower can be made to cause exhilaration, and the Trash Compactor's capacity can be improved. The Television can have additional channels added. Sims can now use the Prevent Breakage upgrade to keep items from breaking down.

Level 7: The Gas Fireplace can be made to start when a Sim enters, and the Stove can be made to produce better quality food. The Television can have even more channels added.

Level 8: The Computer can get a graphics boost to make games more fun, while the Stereo can be improved in two departments, to increase the mood boost Sims get from it, and to ensure the music of one Stereo can be heard all over the house. The Television can have even more channels added.

Level 9: The Grandfather clock can be made more valuable. The Television can have more additional channels added.

Level 10: The Television can have the maximum number of additional channels added. Sims become members of a guild and so receive a huge 25% discount in Build Mode.

Get to Level 3, and you can make that toilet self-cleaning!


Electrician: 10 Electrical Repairs – no risk of electrocution during handiwork.

Plumber: 10 Plumbing Repairs – no repaired plumbing objects will ever break again.

Tinkerer: 10 Unique Upgrades (one of each type e.g. Self-Cleaning, Unbreakable) – upgrades will never fail again. 

TIP: All the upgrades have a risk of failure, which can end in electrocution, or damage to the object, until the Tinkerer reward that is!

TIP: The more items are repaired the more likely they are to break in the future. Upgrading an item to Unbreakable status is the only way to avoid this peril.

TIP: You can only have one upgrade per object running at once, so be sure to pick intelligently.


Acquire: If you buy a chess set you can learn the Logic skill by just playing with it. Other ways to do it are taking a class (at Langraab Industries Science Facility), reading a book, or using a telescope.

Develop: You can read Logic guidebooks, play Chess (there is a skill and a whole facet of the game centred on Chess) or a Computer to further your Sim's Logic skill.


Level 3: Sims can now use the Search Galaxy action with a Telescope. This can earn them some Simoleons discovering new uncharted phenomena. 

Level 5: Logicians can now use the Tutor action on Children and Teenagers. Sims can now also brag about their Telescope.

Level 10: Sims can Tutor any aged Sims, but only up to their current level in the specific skill.

The Telescope is a great way to improve Logic.


Celestial Explorer: 20 Space Discoveries – can discuss space with acquaintances.

Grand Master: Level 5 of the Chess ladder – anyone playing chess against your Sim will improve their Logic skill twice as fast.

Skill Professor: 30 Hours Tutoring Time – others learn skills from your Sim twice as fast.

Teacher Extraordinaire: 20 Hours Tutoring Time - others learn skills from your Sim twice as fast.

TIP: Logic Sims can use the Solve the Unsolvable action with a Computer to earn some Simoleons on the side.

TIP: As your Sim improves their ability at Logic, it reduces the time necessary to rank up other skills.


Acquire:  As you might expect, to learn the Painting skill, just buy an Easel and let it rip. You can also take a class (at the Community School for the Gifted).

Develop: A Sim moves from Dabble, to Practice, and then to Paint as they progress through the Painting skill. Just using the easel is enough to move through the ranks.


Level 1: The Practice action is now available, allowing Sims to pick the canvas size.

Level 5: The Paint action replaces Practice, allowing Sims to earn money from their pictures. Sims can now also use the Paint Still Life action, allowing them to paint what they see in front of them. A Sim's paintings now also increase in value over time.

Level 6: 'Brilliant' Paintings can now be crafted, earning even more money or providing greater environmental boons.

Level 7: Sims can now use the Paint Portrait action, where any Sim picked can be chosen for a portrait.

Level 8: Your Sim can now use the Paint Memorised Scene action to reproduce a mobile phone image taken in the game on canvas.

Level 9: Sims can now paint 'Masterpiece' Paintings, earning even more money or providing greater environmental boons.

Buy an easel and start painting those masterpieces!


Brushmaster: 35 Paintings – painting speed is significantly increased.

Master Painter: 5 Masterpiece Paintings – dramatically increases the value of your Sim's paintings.

Proficient Painter: 6 Brilliant Paintings – increases the number of Brilliant and Masterpiece paintings produced.

TIP: Paintings can be used to beautify your home, not just for cash.

TIP: When a Sim dies, their artwork is more appreciated and thus more valuable.


Acquire: For writing, anyone can develop the skill on their computer. There is also a class, and a book teaching you the basics.

Develop: Refining their Writing skill at the Computer is a great way to develop a Sim's literary prowess. They can also read books on Writing to improve themselves.

Writing a novel is a long-term project – thankfully the game allows you to continue it after a break!


Level 1: Science Fiction books can now be written.

Level 2: Novels can now be written using the appropriate action through the Computer. Comedy books can be written by Sims with the Good Sense of Humour Trait. Trashy Novels can also now be crafted.

Level 3: Drama novels and Children's books can now be written (Sims need Level 6 of the Painting Skill to write Children's books).

Level 5: Sims with the Hopeless Romantic Trait can now write Romance novels. Comedy books can now be written by any Sim.

Level 6: Historical Novels can now be written.

Level 8: Mystery Novels can now be written.

Level 10: Romance Novels can now be written by any Sim. Masterpiece novels can now also be produced.


Prolific Writer: 20 books written - more successful and popular books produced.

Specialist Writer: 5 Novels in one Genre – more successful and popular books produced in this genre.

Speed Writer: 15,000 Simoleons in Royalties – writing speed is dramatically increased.

TIP: Potentially great novels can generate a steady flow of income from royalties. A novel can be written by using the Write Novel interaction at the Computer. They can then come back to it and continue writing whenever they have free time.

TIP: More royalties are accrued by Sims with a higher Writing level, and depending on the popularity of the genre i.e. the saturation of the market in that area. Your Sim's book may even appear in the local bookstore!

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Comments for Acquiring and Developing Skills

6 comments, latest first.
ID #596053 | Aug 9th 2015 Guest
Ha I'm 11 and I mastered all of the skills I didn't even use spoot the magic llama. Ha my brother ain't even close to mastering one skill and he's 12😂
ID #369926 | Mar 30th 2014 Guest
It'll be nice to know how many victories it takes to rank up in chess. You know, win 3 times you rank up to number 2 (Tenderfoot), win 5 and you rank up to level 3 and so on. It's such a pain to keep track on just how many victories I have left before I rank up. I don't want to keep challenging people needlessly. I know I saw a page somewhere around Google but I was a dummy and didn't bookmark it. Now I can't find it.
ID #96315 | Dec 19th 2011 Guest
[b][color=blue]can you put a hydrangea in ur garden with the buydebug cheat
ID #68198 | Aug 18th 2011 Guest
Nice guides.
ID #40255 | Apr 28th 2011 Guest
ID #2141 | Jun 27th 2010 Guest
You dont have to be level 8 fishing to catch a vampire fish i caught 1 at level 4. Stocked a Pond I put in my lot with fresh water fish and fished with garlic.I used the BuydeBug cheat. I caught 8 really fast.