Mini Schools Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Mini School Programs?

The Vancouver School District Mini School programs provide opportunities for enrichment for students who are Vancouver residents and consistently achieve B averages or higher, who are highly motivated students and who would benefit from a learning environment with highly motivated peers.

What are the requirements for acceptance into the Mini School program in Grade 8?

Students must apply to each program separately by picking up an application package at the school where the program is offered. They must also provide copies of their Grade 7 report card. All students who apply must also register online for the November Cognitive and English test. The date of the test is on the website.

Are all students who apply to a Mini School Program accepted?

Each year over 1400 students apply for approximately 600 Grade 8 spaces in the Mini School programs. Acceptance is based on test marks, Gr. 7 report cards, applications and interviews. Applicants must have residency in Vancouver.

Please remember that each Secondary school has a variety of challenging and exciting programs and courses and that many students who take the regular programs graduate, receive scholarships and attend the university of their choice.

How do I register?

  1. Attend the Information Night of the program you are interested in and apply to that program by the program deadline.  Check the dates to register online at Late registrations are not accepted.
  2.  Apply to each program you want to consider you by the December deadline at the school where the program resides.  Deadlines each year are listed at

 By registering for the test am I registered for the program(s) of my choice?

No. The online test registration is only for the test. You MUST ALSO register for each program at the school.

Does my choice of programs make a difference?

Some programs will only select students who choose their program but others will consider all students. Each program is unique and programs prefer to make offers to students who are interested in their program. 

HOWEVER, since only around 30 students are chosen for the Grade 8 intake each year in each program, to be considered for other programs you should select the option in the online registration that says you would like to be considered for other programs. Also, keep in mind that programs are looking for students who are the best fit for the program and the student.

Please make sure to read the Options brochure and attend the Information Nights for the program of your interest. We will not make changes to your selections once you have registered online.

When will I know where and when to take the test?

Once you register online for the test you will receive a confirmation of your registration that tells you where you will take the test. Print the confirmation and keep it.

The test will take about 2-3 hours to write.  

VSB students can check here: Test sites and feeder schools.pdf

 What is on the test?

The test consists of an English writing component where the student is asked to explain a poem. The second component is a test for cognitive skills which is similar to doing puzzles for amusement. Students usually take 30 minutes to write the English component and about an hour for the Cognitive Skills test. If the student has a designation or letter from the child's school or doctor stating they have a particular challenge such as written output difficulties then special conditions will be arranged.

Parents and students should understand that the test assesses where the student is at that time and date.

There is nothing to study beforehand and no test examples from previous years are provided. The test is part of the process that includes applications, report cards and interviews. Not all Mini School programs recruit from the test marks.

NOTE TO PARENTS: It is best not to contribute to your child's anxiety about the test by adding any pressure. There are many exciting educational opportunities within the Vancouver School District so students should not feel pressured into the Mini School programs. Students excel and go on to post-secondary programs from all our Secondary academic programs.

The Mini School programs are for students who will be comfortable rather than stressed with academic challenges.

Once the test has been written will I find out the marks?

NO. Test results are NOT given out to the student or parent. The test is only used for placement of students.

When will I hear if I am accepted?

First offers of acceptance will be emailed or telephoned in March.

What should I do if I am offered a placement in a program?

If you are offered a placement in a program you will be given a deadline to reply with your acceptance of that offer. It is also courteous to inform the program if you decide not to accept.

What should I do if I am not offered a placement in a program?

If you have not received an offer on the first offer date you may still be offered a placement in the second offers. You must reply then by the given deadline with your acceptance. It is also courteous to inform the program if you decide not to accept.