Mini School Prep Classes Vancouver

If your child is applying with one of the VSB’s Mini Schools, Pear Tree Education can help your child!

For Mini School preparation, Pear Tree provides a combination of Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and poetry analysis / essay writing practice.

Our CogAT / SSAT Mini School Prep specialist has a Masters of Education degree from SFU and extensive experience preparing students for a variety of high-school entrance exams, both local and international.

While we do not guarantee that your child will be accepted by such schools, we offer the ultimate preparation for your child to ‘put their best foot forward’.


4 x 1.5hr Mini School Preparation = $650 + GST

(View course date options)

What are Mini Schools?

The VSB advertises their Mini Schools as “programs [that] 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.” They are available at high-school level only, starting in Grade 8.

mini schools

In our opinion, Mini Schools are like the private high schools of public high schools. They offer enriched learning, small class sizes, highly motivated students, and specialist programs with specialist educators / guest speakers. Basically, all children would love studying at a Mini School, but they are generally only open to ‘gifted’ and top students.

Despite the high-level entrance requirements, the fact that Mini Schools are so much better than regular high schools means that an enormous number of families apply for the Mini School exam every year. As stated by the Vancouver School Board: “over 1400 students apply [each year] 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.”

Based on this level of competition, being prepared for this unusual exam is essential to increasing your child’s chances of getting accepted.

*Here is a list of the VSB’s mini schools.

What is CogAT?

CogAT is short-name for the Cognitive Abilities Test, which is designed for elementary and high school students. CogAT uses a battery of verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal tests (see below) to calculate a student’s learned reasoning and problem solving abilities. It is generally used as an entrance exam for gifted and mini-school programs.

There are 10 x levels of the CogAT related to the age and grade of the child. A 13-year-old child (in Grade 7) will take the Level 13 test.

Verbal Battery

Picture/Verbal Analogies

Sentence Completion

Picture/Verbal Classification

Quantitative Battery

Number Analogies

Number Series

Number Puzzles

Non-Verbal Battery

Figure Matrices

Figure Classification

Paper Folding


When Should I Start Preparing?

Ideally, you should start in September in order to prepare for this year’s Mini School exam date (November 2024) assuming that your child is in Grade 7 in September.


Small Group Session Dates 2024

Mini School Session 1

8th, 10th, 15th, 17th October 2024 – 4.00-5.30pm

Mini School Session 2

9th, 11th, 16th, 18th October 2024 – 4.00-5.30pm


Mini School

Parent Testimonials

My son took the mini-school prep courses with you in the fall and I wanted to let you know, he has been offered his first choice of programs. Thank you so much for preparing him so well.

My son was accepted to Ideal Mini. Again, thanks for your help!

Thanks for your lesson. My son was accepted by Churchill Synergy Program. You are really a good teacher, and all my family members appreciate your help.

As far as we are concerned, even if she doesn’t get into [a mini school], this was money well spent to prep her for high school.

My son found your lessons to be extremely helpful. I was surprised at the insights he had (I believed that he was already in possession of certain math facts because I had explained those to him, but apparently, parents are not always great at teaching their offspring).

My daughter came out of her second session with you and said “I just learned so much math!” – she was really excited. Thank you for being such a good teacher!

Thanks for the feedback. My son really enjoyed the session and said he was looking forward to the next one! I have never heard him say that about school work before! This is the kind of environment we are hoping a mini can offer him, a place where it is fun to learn.

I wanted to say thank you for the quality education you are providing to my daughter at Pear Tree. Thanks to your classes and guidance, she is more confident in her math skills and seems to be on the right track to build a strong foundation for math in high school.

We wanted to let you know that although my son was hesitant about joining the class before going, he has said that he is really enjoying your class. He said that your instructions/explanations have been very clear, and he has enjoyed making friends with the other boys in the class.