top of page

About Us

ExcelEdge, Inc. is the Midwest leader in standardized test preparation services, as 150,000 graduates of our programs prove. The corporation provides unparalleled preparation for the PSAT, ACT and SAT in partnership with high schools. ExcelEdge has developed proven strategies which work reliably to elicit correct responses that enhance test scores on high stakes college exams. Our ExcelEdge team of curricular experts monitors emerging changes to the PSAT, ACT and SAT and makes accurate modifications to our materials and instruction that have earned us our reputation since 1987.

Working on a Project

What sets ExcelEdge apart from other test preparation programs?

“There are many test preparation companies that simply proctor multiple practice tests and then read explanations that justify correct responses. For some students, this low level intervention can be an effective exercise. However, Excel Edge approaches test prep as a dedicated refinement of knowledge and skills already presented in the high school curriculum and choreographs these skills with test taking behavior that lead to higher scores. Led by recommended veteran teachers in their subject areas, classes focus on content, pacing, and offensive and defensive strategies. These strategies are applied not only through each specific content area class but also reinforced during our full length practice test and subsequent review, offering yet another opportunity for students to reinforce content and strategies and  ask questions. Moreover, teachers meet before and after each season to review and refine content and latest developments in testing, adjusting when needed for the best possible environment and outcome for a  student-centered experience. 


A student's mastery of a concept in education will most often be measured through application, so understanding how to approach a question on a test is imperative. A systematic approach to test taking empowers a student that they can arrive at a correct response by offering an approach that is logical and sequential. By acquainting the student with a thorough knowledge of the test, we will establish a systematic approach that builds on their knowledge base and considers test psychology specific to the test they are taking.”

Pat Leonard

BA English and Secondary Education, Governors State University

MA English, Governors State University

Reviewing Essay

Our Curriculum – Our curriculum clones the PSAT, SAT and ACT. We have developed strategies that work consistently to reveal the correct answer. We hone students’ skills by applying proven strategies to authentic exams purchased from the College Board or ACT. We keep abreast of changes to the tests and make the accurate, incremental modifications to our materials and instruction that have earned us our reputation.

Our Approach – We are high touch, not just high tech. We take a personalized approach to prepping juniors, phoning homes when students are absent or when juniors or their parents have a concern.

Our Staff – Only the best secondary-certified teachers join our ranks.

Our Class Size – Classes average approximately 20 students per section, allowing for personal attention and small-group interaction. Each class is taught by a team of two or more certified teachers.

Our Location – By the invitation of your high school, we offer classes on site.

Our Results – Our data is conclusive. Test prep works when students do.

Our History

ExcelEdge, Inc. was incorporated in 1987 by Carol and Dave Talabay. As a member of the English faculty of Purdue University in the 1980s, she was dispatched to a local school system to assist with their reading and writing curriculum. The superintendent, new to that district, had just come from New York. He asked Carol to develop an SAT test preparation curriculum for his district, which I did. Together they piloted it; rewrote it; tested it; fine tuned it. By 1982, neighboring schools had heard of their work, and the audience grew. By 1987 she was advised to establish a corporation, which she did. ExcelEdge worked in area school systems readying juniors for the SAT with SAT 1600 (which became SAT 1600 with the addition of the Writing Test in 2005). We prepped Merit contenders with PSAT 1520. We helped freshmen shape their study habits with A Study Skills Game Plan. In 1989, the ACT launched Project Silver, reinvented itself as a major testing force, and our new textbook, ACT 36 was born, a deliberate clone of the new ACT. 


In 2019, Carol retired from the business and after a twenty plus year career teaching for ExcelEdge, Marcy Paddock became director.  The business is now based in Orland Park, Illinois under ExcelEdge LLC.  Thirty plus years, multiple textbook revisions and thousands of students later, we have not deviated from our initial mission: to provide a quality test preparation experience, grounded in research, shaped by best practices, taught by dynamic teachers, all at a cost affordable to middle income families.

bottom of page