How to Prepare for the Notary Public Exam

Prepare for the Notary Public Exam


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Whether you’re renewing your notary public license or becoming a notary public for the first time, you’ll need to pass the California notary public exam before you can receive your new commission.

We know that you want to feel confident as you go into your notary exam. That’s why our course includes the study tools you’ll need to be prepared for the California notary exam and ready for your duties as a California notary public.

Complete Your Notary Public Education Course

Your online notary class is more than a convenient way to complete your notary education requirement - it’s also a great way to prepare for the California notary exam. Here are some tips to get the most out of your online notary class.

  • Use the final exam to practice for the state exam. The final exam is 50 minutes long, with 30 multiple choice questions, just like the state exam. Even after you complete your course, you can re-take the final exam as many times as you need to - this will give you a good idea of how you’ll do on the state exam.
  • Use the unit quizzes for targeted practice. Need more review on specific topics like filling in a journal entry or penalties for notarial misconduct? You can go back into the course material and re-take the quizzes until you’re confident in your knowledge.
  • You’ll see different questions each time you try a quiz or final exam, so you’ll know you’re prepared for the full range of possible state exam questions.
  • After each attempt, you can review your answers and go back to the course material to go over any topics you weren't sure of.
  • Need a quick review of a term? Our course includes a glossary for easy reference, with definitions and images from the material to explain each term.

Register for the California Notary Exam

Once you’ve passed your notary education course, you’ll need to register for the California notary exam. The exam is administered through CPS (Cooperative Personnel Services).

First, review the exam schedule to find a date and location that works for you.

Second, register online at any time, or by calling CPS at (916) 263-3520, Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 5 PM.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to register at least 15 business days prior to the exam date.

You’re Ready to Take the Notary Public Exam!

Be sure to arrive at the test location 45 minutes before the scheduled exam time. You’ll need to bring the following items with you:

  • One of the following forms of photo identification, current or issued within the past 5 years:
    • A drivers license or state DMV issued ID card
    • A Canadian or Mexican drivers license
    • A U.S. Passport, or Passport issued by a foreign government
    • A U.S. Military ID card
  • A check, money order, or cashier’s check for the appropriate fees ($40 exam and application processing fee, or $20.00 exam fee for applicants who previously took the exam and failed)
    • Made payable to “The Secretary of State”
    • Cash is not accepted
    • Temporary checks are not accepted. The candidate’s name must be pre-printed on the check, or written in the memo field of a pre-printed company check.
  • A completed current Notary Public Application form (and fail notification letter if retaking the exam)
  • 2” x 2” color passport photograph of yourself
  • The Proof of Completion certificate of your approved education course
    • Your completion certificate is available for you to print out as soon as you complete your course. Did you lose yours? You can print out a new one at any time by logging back into your course.
  • Two sharpened No. 2 lead pencils.

During the exam, all personal belongings must be placed in a designated storage area in the testing room. CPS recommends that you bring only the required application materials listed above into the testing location with you, and leave personal belongings in your car or at home.

Good Luck on Your Notary Exam!

Once you have taken your exam, you’ll need to wait for your exam results from CPS, and then complete the remaining state requirements.

You are well on your way to becoming California’s newest notary public!