Carl's Sims 3 Guide - Skills, Traits, Careers, Rewards, and Lifetime Wishes for Ambitions and World Adventures

The Sims 3 Skills
Advanced TechAlchemyAthleticBot MakingCharismaCollectingConsignment
CookingFishingGardeningGuitarHandinessInstrumentsInventing
Laser RhythmLogicMartial ArtsMixologyNectar MakingPaintingPhotography
RidingScienceScuba DivingSculptingSocial NetworkingStreet ArtWriting

Guide to Skills in The Sims 3

How To's, Skill List by Expansion, and Links to In-Depth Guides

Skills in The Sims 3 and Expansion Packs
The Skills Panel will show your Sim's Levels. You can watch the bars rise as they gain Experience.

This Sims 3 Guide was originally written for the PC and Mac versions of the game, but some Skill information will help owners of the console versions - PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. Please remember some info or numbers may have changed between versions and that the console version of The Sims 3 includes less than half the number of Skills in the PC version with all Expansion Packs installed.

In this guide to all skills in The Sims 3, you'll learn about the skills your Sims can learn in the game and all eleven Expansion Packs, from World Adventures to the last EP, Into the Future. In each in-depth Strategy Guide, I'll provide answers to questions players frequently ask, such as how to learn each skill through classes, skill books, or usage and how to improve them efficiently while making progress on Skill Challenges on your way to level 10. I'll also provide links to get detailed information about each skill, so that you can learn more about the abilities that interest you. While there aren't cheats to raise skills directly in the Sims 3, there are commands that you can use to cheat that help raise skills.

Skills - Leveling and Other Information

How many skills can you learn in the Sims 3?
With all eleven Expansion Packs installed, there are a total of 28 Skills that have a Skill Journal, along with numerous Hidden Skills that do not play a major role in gameplay and often give you no way of making money or count toward Job Performance in Careers.

Collecting
Collecting is also listed here, because it's a bit like a skill as your Sim will progress. It has its own special Collecting Journal that can be accessed through the Sim's Inventory. This will keep track of what items you've Collected in the game and the challenges associated with it. To learn more and see the types of things you can collect, see the Collecting Guide.

Skills Tab & Learning New Skills
Go to the Skills tab to see a list of Skills your Sim has learned. In order to begin learning a skill and unlock its features, you must first gain a level in that skill. It will not appear in the Skill Journal or Skill panel until you have attained level 1. One common way is to either read a skill book (some skills) or take a class (most skills). Using objects that raise that skill will eventually get you the first level.

The Skill Journal in The Sims 3 shows statistics and progress toward completing Skill Challenges
The Skill Journal shows you stats on your Skills and the requirements to complete Skill Challenges

The Skill Journal
Press your 'J' key to open the Skill Journal. From there, you can see your Sim's progress in Skill levels, along with statistics such as how many fish your Sim has caught with Fishing, or the earnings you've made while Writing. Skills will not appear in the Skill Journal until you have gained level 1.

The Skill Journal will also show you Skill Challenges which are achievements Sims can make to supermax a Skill and become even better than a Sim who has simply reached level 10. There are at least 2 or 3 for every skill, so learning all Skills and completing the Skill Challenges to earn their bonuses would take a lot of time on a single sim, and be impossible without doing something to stop aging.

Learning Skills
Sims can learn skills by performing associated actions, using objects that are designed for use by that Skill. Some are very straightforward, such as preparing meals improving the cooking skill. All skills have multiple ways they can be raised. One method of learning common to most skills is to take a class at the appropriate building.

Some actions require the skill to be already learned (level 1) before they'll start adding progress toward skill levels. For example, watching cookin' cable won't teach your Sim anything unless they already know the cooking skill. There is a similar effect for picking wild fruits and vegetables and the gardening skill and talking to Sims for the Charisma skill.

Self-Employment Skills and Making Money
Most Money-Making Skills will allow you to Register as Self-Employed at City Hall to get some bonuses when earning money with that Skill, which provides some additional reward for your efforts and may even boost the profit you receive from the Skill. This is a smart move - from Painting to Writing, it is highly recommended you visit and register. Look to the Money Making Guide to learn more about ways you can make money with Skills and other methods in The Sims 3.

Skills - Where to Take a Class?
Taking a class in a skill will give it a boost and quickly get you to level 1. Learning a skill initially, that is, going from level 0 to level 1 takes much longer than all the other early levels. If you take a class, you can avoid this problem because the class will add the skill to your learned skills list within a few hours. Taking classes later offers less benefit, especially once past level five. It makes sense, at some point your Sim should be teaching a class.

Classes usually cost $400 but this can be discounted occasionally. Look for discount Skill classes in the newspaper daily if you're a penny pincher. Thankfully, most skills offer you a way to earn that money back or contribute to your performance in a Career so that you will be able to easier get that job promotion for your Sim.

Class Building List

To find classes, go to the map view and look to the buildings with red icons - these are rabbit holes that your Sim will enter, and inside cannot be seen. Not all of the buildings in town offer classes and skill classes are only available during the daytime, starting at 6am. I'll be very general about the type of building, as it is the same for Riverview, Sunset Valley, and other Sims 3 Worlds. If the building type you need is not present in your World, go to Edit Town and place it. This will also let you use features from Expansion Packs that EA did not add to previous game worlds.

  • Advanced Technology Class - Observatory in the Future (Space Training Class $500)
  • Alchemy Class - Vault of Antiquity
  • Athletics Class - Stadium
  • Bass, Drums, and Piano Classes - Theater
  • Bot Building Class - Bot Arena in the Future
  • Charisma Class - Government Building
  • Cooking Class - Restaurant
  • Fishing Class - Grocery Store
  • Gardening Class - Science Facility
  • Guitar Class - Theater
  • Handiness Class - Military Base
  • Inventing Class - Science Facility
  • Laser Rhythm-a-Con Class - Theater
  • Logic Class - Science Facility
  • Martial Arts Class - No Class. Hit Training Dummies. Buy one or visit Shang Simla.
  • Mixology Class - Bistro
  • Nectar Making Class - None - read Skill Books in Champs Le Sims or start making Nectar.
  • Painting Class - University
  • Photography Class - None. Read Skill books in Al Simhara - photos are valuable the first time and its best to have a high level before you start Photo Collections.
  • Riding/Horse Racing Class - Equestrian Center
  • Science Class - Science Facility
  • Scuba Diving Class - Science Facility
  • Sculpting Class - None. Just start Sculpting!
  • Social Networking Class - Business Building
  • Street Art Class - School of Art at University
  • Writing Class - Business Building

How can my Sim Learn Skills Faster?
There are several ways for Sims to learn skills faster. Each skill has one or more traits associated with it that will boost the rate it is learned. You can find that information on the individual Skill Guides. The Sims whose traits are built around a particular skill and specialize in it will be the most successful. So, long after learning the skill they'll still be seeing benefits. For example, virtuosos (guitar) will get better tips and green thumbs (gardening) will harvest higher quality produce.

Mood will also increase the rate your Sims learn skills. Being in a good mood lets your Sim focus on the task at hand with a postive attitude. They'll get better at skills a good deal faster, especially in combination with having the right traits.

Studying at the library will also help your Sim to learn a Skill faster, much better than reading a book at home. Cooking, Gardening, Handiness, Logic, and Charisma and many other Skills, depending on the Expansions you've installed, can be learned at the library. The quiet environment increases the rate your Sim will learn there. The athletic skill will increase fastest when using the equipment at the gym, because of the "fit atmosphere" moodlet your Sim receives while visiting the lot.

Big Boosts to Skill Experience Gains
A Sim who is a Vampire, either turned or born that way, will always skill faster than non-Vampire Sims. All Sims 3 owners have access to the Fast Learner Lifetime Reward, as well. At a cost of 15,000 Lifetime Happiness Points, Fast Learner boosts the learning rate for all skills. It's a great reward for multi-talented Sims and those in Careers with high skill level requirements for advancement.

Miscellaneous Skill Gain Boosters
China features two ways to get your Sims skilling faster. The Honorary Incense Holder of Jun Pao that can be bought from the General Store will improve skill gains at home by a whopping 25% while in the room with the burning incense. You can tell it's working by the Neurotic Synergy moodlet you'll receive. The second skill boost from China is found in The Scholar's Garden, which gives a moodlet similar to the incense. So, it's a good place to read a book or meditate to raise Martial Arts. Simmers with the Late Night Expansion will find a boost using the Alien Brain drink available from Mixology.

Simmers who own The Sims 3 Into the Future will find that they can use the Dream Pod to help them become better at learning a number of skills. Click the link to learn about all the Dreams you can give to a Sim and how they'll impact you if they have a good dream. Assembling the Voltron Gnome will boost skill gains by 75% when around the Gnome, but it must be assembled from 5 parts.

List of Skills in The Sims 3

The following is a list of all Skills you will have access to if you have installed all eleven Expansion Packs for The Sims 3. If it does not have an Expansion Icon next to it, it's found in The Sims 3 Base Game. Expansion Icons indicate what EP you need to have installed in order to use that Skill. Follow the links for in-depth information on learning that skill and how you can best use it to earn money for your Sim's family.

Advanced Technology Skill in The Sims 3Requires The Sims 3 Into the Future Expansion PackAdvanced Technology
The Advanced Technology Skill governs your Sim's usage of the new technology and gadgets that come with The Sims 3 Into the Future Expansion Pack. This will affect your Sim's ability to fly around via Jet Pack, use the Dream Pod to get more Dreams, gain Holo Disc Sprites, and even learn to reset the Time Continuum to return Future Oasis Landing back to its original state.


Alchemy in The Sims 3Requires The Sims 3 Supernatural Expansion PackAlchemy
Alchemy comes with The Sims 3 Supernatural. This ancient science allows your Sim to create Elixirs to aid themselves and others. Naturally, it has its darker side allowing Sims to bestow loads of nasty effects on others.


Athletics in the Sims 3Athletics
Athletics allows Sims to achieve greater fitness levels. Includes information on the types of wishes and opportunities your Sims will get from this skill, along with tips to raising it. Provides tips to completing each athletics challenge, as well.


Bass, Drums, and Piano in The Sims 3 Late NightBass, Drums, and Piano require The Sims 3 Late Night ExpansionBass, Drums, and Piano
These three new musical instruments come with the Late Night expansion. Combined with the original Guitar skill, Sims can now form a band, play gigs, practice together, and earn money playing at night clubs.


Bot Making in The Sims 3 Into the FutureRequires The Sims 3 Into the Future Expansion PackBot Making
Bot Making allows your Sim to build Plumbots, a new type of Life State in The Sims 3 Into the Future Expansion. Your Sim will also be able to create Nanites, a new type of Collectible, which are used to create Trait Chips to customize a Plumbot's behavior and functionality. Higher levels allow you to give a Plumbot Sentience, making it more like a normal Sim.


Charisma in the Sims 3Charisma
Charisma will help your Sim to make friends. With the right challenges completed, it can even help them to keep friends forever. Teach your Sims the charisma skill if you want them to be better at jobs that require on the boss and co-worker relationships. It's also vital to politicians. This guide contains tips to completing all charisma challenges, as well as information to help players get past the friend requirements of each charisma level.


Collecting in the Sims 3Collecting
Collecting in the Sims 3 gives your Sims an easy way to make money without ever taking a job or buying a single item. Sims can collect butterflies, beetles, metal ore, gems and space rocks. This is a perfectly viable way to make money in the Sims 3, and shouldn't be overlooked by players who want to diverge from the norm.


Cooking in the Sims 3Cooking
A guide to Perfect Cooking in the Sims 3. Includes tips for getting started and info on how to get recipes like Ambrosia without paying for them at the book store. This guide provides tips and lists the upgrades, types of items for the home, and traits you can select for your Sims to help them excel at cooking.


 in the Sims 3Fishing
This guide focuses on fishing in the game and includes information on where, and how, to catch some of the most rare fish in the Sims 3. This is a new feature to the game, and I'm really glad they added it. It's an excellent way to make money, and a good excuse to frequently look at the Sims 3's excellent water graphics! Fishing is a highly valuable skill to gardeners, scientists and Sims who want to make a profession of the trade.


Gardening in the Sims 3Gardening
I wrote this guide to teach people how to get started gardening. I had seen this question asked so many times in forums and on yahoo answers that I had to sink my teeth in and give my own take on the skill. Gardening is a crucial skill for many character types. High quality fruits and vegetables can be used to catch better fish, which in turn help gardening itself (fertilizer), and cooking.


Guitar in the Sims 3Guitar
I love this character! The guitar playing Sim can lead a very nice life playing for tips and making friends. It's almost too easy! Unfortunately, although an entertaining Sim to play, the guitarist makes fairly chaotic money compared to other Sims.


Handiness in the Sims 3Handiness
The Handiness skill is so very useful to every Sim. I really enjoyed making this guide, which lists all the upgrades in the Sims 3, along with info on how to raise the skill quickly. Almost everything my ultra-rich Sim does is somehow augmented by the handiness skill.


Inventing in the Sims 3 AmbitionsRequires the Sims 3 AmbitionsInventing
Inventing is one of two skills that come with the Ambitions expansion. This skill is quite fun and allows you to make gadgets, toys, and widgets for use at home. Inventors can dig for treasure with the miner and time travel with their very own time machine, as well. The harvester can be used for collecting and gardening. Snag your Sim some futuristic clothes or make their own Simbot. Top it all off with some good money making potential and Inventing is one of the coolest additions from Ambitions.


Laser Rhythm-a-con in The Sims 3 Into the FutureThe Sims 3 Into the Future Expansion Pack required for this skillLaser Rhythm-a-Con
The Laser Rhythm-a-Con is a new, futuristic Musical Instrument for Sims to play for fun and earn tips. It is quite a pretty object to see in action, as Sims will use the multi-colored laser beams to produce melodies that gradually improve as the Sim makes skill progress.


Logic in the Sims 3Logic
Logic can be used to teach other Sims known skills, help you make money by discovering celestial bodies, and even earn cash with your mind by solving the unsolvable. Your Sims can make enough money to live and have nice things using only a telescope with this skill! It's a very useful skill for Parents and Friends, who want to help those around them become better.


Martial Arts in the Sims 3Martial Arts
Martial Arts is my favorite new skill introduced by World Adventures. Sims can really learn to kick serious butt. Be it beating down other Sims, burglars or mummies while tomb raiding, this skill will make your Sim a fighting machine. Look to this guide for tips on raising the skill, winning tournaments and mastering zeneport and tranquil transference you gain from meditation. You'll be able to zip here and there in the blink of an eye once you've completed the martial arts skill's challenges.


Mixology, the Art of Making Mixed Drinks in The Sims 3 Late NightMixology Requires The Sims 3 Late Night ExpansionMixology
Mixology is a skill new to the Late Night expansion. This is the art of making mixed drinks -- with flair. Spin cups through the air and blow fire off a drink to impress your Sim's celebrity clientele. Many drinks give boosts, such as faster skills, or better romantic interactions!


Nectar Making in the Sims 3Nectar Making
Nectar Making is another new skill added to the game by the World Adventures expansion pack. This is one of the most involved skills in the Sims 3, and requires experience in gardening to really flourish. This is a great addition to any household as nectar provides a powerful boost to mood that lasts a very long time. Take up this skill and learn some amazing and good recipe combos on this page.


Painting in the Sims 3Painting
Help your Sim become a legendary artist. The Painting skill will help your Sim to later become a master artist. There's a lot of money to be made this way by painting volumes of masterpieces, for those who choose to follow this path. Provides tips you can use to help your Sims paint more masterpieces and complete the challenges associated with painting.


Photography in the Sims 3Photography
The Photography Skill is one that every Sim can pursue. It requires the World Adventures expansion to learn to take photos. As you get better, this skill becomes an excellent way to make money while you pursue other things. Wait for great photographic moments and snap a great shot to earn some spare cash in the blink of an eye. Learn the dynamics of this skill and how you can best utilize it to keep from losing money.


Racing, Riding, and Jumping SkillRacing, Riding, and Jumping requires The Sims 3 Pets Expansion PackRacing, Riding, and Jumping
This guide covers the new Racing, Riding, and Jumping skills in The Sims 3 Pets. Learn about these skills and how they combine to give you a new means of making money by breeding and racing horses.


Science in The Sims 3 University LifeRequires The Sims 3 University Life Expansion PackScience
Don't confuse The Sims 3's Science Skill, included with University Life, with the Science Career Track. This new Skill lets Sims take Samples of many Collectibles and clone them at the Research Station. You may also easily turn your Sim into a PlantSim with this skill and use the Group Science Project to create a meteor shower of loot around the device to make some Simoleons.


Scuba Diving in The Sims 3Requires The Sims 3 Island Paradise Expansion PackScuba
Learn the Scuba Diving Skill to explore the waters around Isla Paradiso in The Sims 3 Island Paradise Expansion Pack. You can find many fish, treasure chests, and map fragments from messages in bottles. This is a beautiful skill to level, because of the great undersea views you'll get when diving beneath the surface of the ocean.


Sculpting in the Sims 3 AmbitionsRequires the Sims 3 AmbitionsSculpting
With Sculpting, Ambitions players can craft their very own statues from clay, metal, ice, stone, and even bushes to make topiaries. You're not limited to the realm of art. Sims can also make bathroom stuff, furniture, and all sorts of neat stuff. A good money maker itself, it also goes well with the Architecture career that was also brought with the expansion.


Social Networking in The Sims 3Requires The Sims 3 University Life Expansion PackSocial Networking
The Social Networking Skill lets your Sim use the updated Phone that comes with University Life to become a blogger. You can earn money simply posting things to your Sim's blog, and may choose from several kinds of blog to run. If a blog becomes really successful, you can sell it to make some major Simoleons.


Street Art in The Sims 3 University LifeRequires The Sims 3 University Life Expansion PackStreet Art
Street Art will let your Sim make money from vandalism - well, once they have learned to make Street Art that is beautiful enough to be worth something to the local government. It's not a big money-maker, but it will let you go about the town and place permanent paintings. If commissioned by the local government at City Hall, your Sim can earn $1,000 Simoleons for their next Street Art project.


Writing in the Sims 3Writing
You can make a ton of money as a writer in the Sims 3. It's certainly one of the more interesting self-employment careers your Sims can pursue. In this guide, I list the best traits for a writer, what to do to write more effectively and how to best achieve the specialist challenge. Gives hints to pushing your royalty checks through the roof.


The Sims 3 Skills
Advanced TechAlchemyAthleticBot MakingCharismaCollectingConsignment
CookingFishingGardeningGuitarHandinessInstrumentsInventing
Laser RhythmLogicMartial ArtsMixologyNectar MakingPaintingPhotography
RidingScienceScuba DivingSculptingSocial NetworkingStreet ArtWriting






Comments (20)

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Bri says...
You may have already been asked this, if so, I apologize, but is there any plans to add the Consignment skill (from Ambitions) or Gambling skill (Lucky Sims set at the Sims 3 store)?
Admin:
Gambling is one I likely won't cover much, although it may deserve a brief article. We already have consignment convered here on the Ambitions guide. I guess you're right, given Collecting is listed here Consignment should be as well. Fixing that immediately. 


Carl
9th September 2012 2:43am
Bri says...
I apologize if I bothered you about listing those two skills here. I only mentioned listing them for completeness sake.

Mind you, I can see why not to include Gambling...there is even less to it, article wise, than Consignment would be.

Anyways, I promise not to add anything else. And you can delete my comment if you wish.
Admin:
Not a trouble at all, Thank you for the suggestion - we always want those.
9th September 2012 1:06pm
Clur says...
Is there any way you can completely erase a sims skillset if you realize you no longer want it?
5th June 2014 12:21am
Laurie Saalman says...
Hi! I just wanted to add a few helpful hints--
If you're into buying things that will boost your skills faster, I recently bought the Cauldron (it's on sale in the store right now actually), and you can concoct a potion that, upon drinking, will make your sim read every book in their inventory. Very cool for skill books.
Also, if you're sim is a witch, get the Crystal Ball (which is actually in a bigger set with the Cauldron), and keep telling your fortune, you will skill up so fast in Magic. Hope this wasn't useless! Very helpful site :)
20th April 2014 3:34pm
Melissa says...
So I have this vampire Sim that I raised from toddler to young adult, she has a twin sister who's a fairy and a mother who is a normal sim. But what's weird, I say weird because I've never had this happen, is that my vampire sim, Jo, learns skills scarily fast, no matter what time of the day it is. At first it was her doing her homework super fast, and now she has mastered all the music skills, and such, and I don't know how this has happened. The only skills she doesn't learn super fast are handiness and cooking. Has tho happened to anyone or is this just a glitch? I'm not complaining, I'm just intrigued.
22nd March 2014 2:02pm
Angelina says...
I was wondering if you knew that there is a tablet (available in the sim store)that you can listen to 'tabcasts' on and earn skills that way?
You can learn 10 different skills using this tablet while doing other things..
It won't let me add a link but the name of the item is MultiTab 6000

It has helped me gain my skills a lot faster.
18th January 2014 10:03pm
SimsDiveBomb-theone&sims's one says...
Hi, I own the Sims 3 3ds and wanted a list of ALL skills on there?
5th January 2014 4:11pm
Maddy says...
Just started my ultimate Sims 3 goal: Max every single skill on one sim. I didn't realize there would be this many... I've got my work cut out for me! (Luckily, I splurged in the store for the MultiTab 3000 a few months ago!)
29th September 2013 6:26pm
SimsDiveBomb-theone&sims's one says...
Cool, I'm doing it on Sims 3 3ds. Lot less skills there!
6th January 2014 10:16am
georgina says...
heya i have bought a expansion pack for the sims 3 but will i be able to play it as i do not have the sims 3 starters pack
21st September 2013 6:38pm
SimsDiveBomb-theone&sims's one says...
You will need a The Sims 3 game. I have heard you need a registered account on Sims 3.
6th January 2014 10:29am
Alyx says...
What about the new skills that came with Island Paradise? I know Scuba Diving is one of them.
Admin:
They are found within the table of skills and through the expansion guides themselves. I just haven't got around to updating a few pages like this and won't likely bother until the release of Into The Future (the last EP) so that I can work more efficiently.
22nd August 2013 10:08am
RaoV says...
Violin and Archery, from Dukes of Bows Venue from the store. Are they hidden skills? My sim doesn't seem to be leveling at all for violin and archery just sims to level athletic.

Also, you should add diving for IP.
Admin:
Archery isn't a skill.  It raises the Athletic skill.    Violin has no skill challenges so it's not really a skill like all the others.  It just has 10 levels much like gambling and dancing now if you own the store content.
29th July 2013 3:07pm
Ellie says...
I recently purchased the new dance studio lot for my sims3 PC game and was wandering if you had any tips to help gain the dancing skill, I'm on level 1 and can't seem to progress quickly enough.
Admin:
Dancing skill isnt really a skill. Without the dancing studio it's just a hidden type deal but really the best way to increase this is to just dance.  The dancing mat will help the most from that studio.
14th July 2013 10:26am
Cintia says...
Hi! First of all, thanks for all the great info here. Your website never fails me.
My question is related to the Dancing skill - is there one? I ask because I saw this* product on the EA website, and I don't want to buy it if there isn't one.
And if there is, what are its "consequences" (like a moodlet, Sim becoming thin etc.)?
Thanks again!
* http://store.thesims3.com/productDetail.html?productId=OFB-SIM3:66110
Admin:
There is a dancing skill that is hidden without the new premium content floor. Now it is no longer hidden, however it's not really a skill in the same sense of other skills. There are no skill challenges. It goes to level 10 and you get better at dancing that's about it.
27th June 2013 10:58pm
Elizebecca says...
Can a teenager have a skill in Mixology?
Admin:
Yes that's when they can start the skill.
27th June 2013 6:06pm
marlon says...
Not to bother you but I recently bought the sims 3 university and was wondering when you were going to add them?
14th March 2013 5:05pm
Lyla says...
i was just wondering if you will bring back being able to set the vehicles to a certain Sim. Its not a big deal, but i miss it. I'm sure you have bigger things to worry about though.
Thanks =0)
Admin:
Sorry but i'm not affiliated with EA or Sims development at all, or I sure would ;)
24th October 2012 10:25am
SilentEkko says...
What about the hidden skills like Dancing?
27th June 2014 12:38am
SilentEkko says...
I apologize. I see now that you covered it. I just thought maybe they should be included for information sake like the artisan skill as well. I constantly use your site for information and much like some others I just wanted to try to cover all the skills as a personal challenge but because of the hidden or semi hidden ones I'm not 100% sure if i have completed my goal :)
27th June 2014 12:42am
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