NoeJeko's Training Guide
First off, a disclaimer - I just saw Cujo's guide and this is not an attempt to steal his thunder. His guide is on where to train, mine is on how to train.
First, to maximize your training efficiency you must understand how you receive experience points. Base experience points follow the following formulae:
D = Damage inflicted
Monster is over your level:
Melee/Skill Formula: D * 1.2
Gun/Magic Formula: D * 1.25
Experience is reduced if you kill monsters under your level. Once you pass the level of the monster, you should always move on to a different monster. Furthermore, it is not possible to "overkill". If a monster has 5,000 HP and you use a skill that inflicts 16,000 damage (Arrow Rush, for example), you will only receive 6,250 experience points (5,000 * 1.25, not counting party modifier).
To understand effective training, you must first understand ineffective training. Ineffective training is basically cheating you out of experience points and/or training time. Letís look at some examples.
You are level 90 and you want to go train on a level 219 monster. It takes you 3 skills to kill this monster because you can either not hit it hard enough or you miss it too often. You can kill a level 150 monster in 1 hit. You are ineffectively training because you are taking three times as long to kill the monster for a very small experience increase.
You are training on a monster that you can kill in one hit. This monster has 3,000 HP and you hit it for 9,000 damage. You hit a monster that has 8000 HP for 4,000 damage but you refuse to train on it because it takes two hits. You are ineffectively training because you are wasting 7,200 potential experience points (without party modifier, melee skill assumed).
See the picture? Here are some tips on how to maximize your training effectiveness.
1) Always, always train on monsters higher than your level. Be it 1 level or 100 levels higher, it is better than taking experience penalties because the monster is lower than you.
2) Train on the monsters that you can hit the hardest without over-killing. Hitting a monster for 4 times its HP is impressive, but wastes potential experience points. This waste is greatly multiplied by your party modifier.
3) When possible, always train in a 2.5 party. Going solo should be a last resort because, at 1.0, it takes you 2.5 times longer to level than in a full royal/special. At lower levels this time isnít as noticeable as it is at higher levels. Case in point: At level 252 it takes me about 6 hours to level in a 2.5 party. If I went solo, it would take 15 hours to get the same level. Thatís one hell of a difference.
4) Donít always go after the biggest monster you can kill. I am capable of killing a fish dragon but it takes a few minutes to do it because of its insane defense. I can train on a smaller monster that I kill in 1-2 hits and get experience at a much faster rate.
5) Donít drill for the exclusive sake of gaining TM experience. The base experience you lose from this will only make it take more time overall. Your TM will catch up just by training normally. At level 206, I had a 39 level TM gap. At level 252, my TM is now 40% higher than my base. This caught up simply by training. If you drill, drill for items you need or items to sell and get the TM experience as a bonus. The base experience from drilling, especially at high levels, is not even noticeable.
6) Get skills that help you level faster. As stated before, your TM will catch up. Donít be afraid to use TM points on a skill that makes you level faster. Even if you never plan to use that skill again after you get (insert skill here), it will still get you to the point that you can acquire that skill faster. You have these TM points for a reason Ė use them! A good example: Before second jobs were out I mastered Final Blow. I will never use this skill again Ė but it tripled my leveling speed from level 150-200. I donít regret wasting these TM points in the least.
7) If you canít kill a monster efficiently that you see others your level killing, you have but one solution. Get better equipment. You canít magically create stat bonus points, but you can spend a bit of galder on a new weapon/armor. Once you level up again, re-assess your stats and where youíre adding your bonus points. If you need to hit something a bit harder (for melee types), consider adding these new points into AP (or whatever stat affects your damage skills, i.e. DA for foxes and MA for mages).
I hope this helps some struggling character out there.