The Notary Exam
Beginning July 2005, all notary candidates will be required in addition to the exam, to take an approved 6-hour notary course prior to commissioning. Subsequent commissioning will require a 3-hour refresher course prior to testing.
A notary is commissioned after passing a written examination with a score of at least 70% and submitting a Proof of Completion of an approved notary course to the Secretary of State.
The notary applicant may complete the registration process during the seminar or afterwards. Testing is conducted by the Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) at locations throughout California. There are currently 30 multiple-choice questions on the exam and you must answer at least 70% correctly to pass. This means that out of 30 question, you can miss up to 9 and still pass! The content of the exam is covered in the Notary Public Handbook. The handbook is available online at:
Of course, this course is derived from that publication with the intent to provide assistance in explaining the regulations through an instructional format.
Your completed notary application will be submitted at the place of examination, and will then be forwarded to the Secretary of State for review. Please note that a fee of $40, ($20 for the application and $20 for the exam) will be due at that time. You must pay with either check or money order, as the state will not accept cash. You will need to print your name and social security number at the bottom left portion of the check.
You will need to bring to the testing site identification such as:
- A valid DMV issued driver’s license from any state.
- A State issued ID.
- A current U.S. or foreign passport.
- A Military ID Card
The CPS will not accept a VISA or Student ID card for identification. If you have an Alien Registration Card, you will need to know your number when you fill out the application.
If you have any further questions about your identification documents or change of name, contact the Secretary of State, Notary Division at:
Business Programs Division
Notary Public Section
P.O. Box 942877
Sacramento, CA 94277-0001