The Notary Public Examination consists of multiple-choice questions. It is a CLOSED-BOOK examination which is administered by proctors. Please allow approximately 2-3 hours for registration, testing, and proctor instructions. All of the material in the California Notary Public Handbook (including updates, if any) is subject to examination.
CPS HR administers the Notary Public written examination ONLY. Information on mandatory notary education may be found on the Secretary of State's website by clicking here.
Frequency of Testing: Candidates can test ONLY once per calendar month. If the exam is taken more than once in a calendar month, the second score will be invalid and any fees paid will be forfeited.
Reappointments: Candidates applying for reappointment are not encouraged to test more than twelve months in advance of the commission expiration.
Test Fees: Please see What to Bring.
Result Notification: Results from your Notary Public Examination will be sent approximately 15 business days following the exam. Result information will not be discussed over the phone.
Scoring: A scaled score of at least 70 is required to pass the exam. Candidates who take the California Notary Public Examination receive a scaled score that ranges from 0 to 100. A scaled score is a conversion of a candidate’s raw score on one examination form to a common scale used for all the examination forms. Those who pass the examination receive a scaled score between 70 and 100. Those who fail the examination receive a scaled score between 0 and 69. A scaled score is NOT a percent score and cannot be calculated by dividing the number correct by the total number of questions on the examination. Rather, a scaled score is a transformation of a raw score.
Candidates passing the examination: All persons appointed as a Notary Public are required to undergo a background check by the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for each and every Notary Public Appointment. The Request for Live Scan Service form is available on the Secretary of State website at www.sos.ca.gov/notary/forms
Notary Public commissions are issued from the Secretary of State’s office, Notary Public Section. The notary public application processing time can be viewed on the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.ca.gov/notary/processing-times/
Candidates not passing the exam will be mailed a fail notice.
Rescoring Test Results: Requests for rescoring test results must be submitted in writing and accompanied with a $30.00 money order only, payable to CPS HR. No checks or cash will be accepted. Rescoring requests must be received by CPS HR within 45 days after the test date at the following address: 2450 Del Paso Road, Suite 160, Sacramento, CA 95834, ATTN: Notary Public Exam Services. Processing of these requests will be handled on a daily basis.
Commission: Notary Public commissions are issued from the Secretary of State’s Office, Notary Public Section.
Emergency Test Center Closure: Inclement weather or other emergencies may force the closure of a test center on the scheduled test date. In that event, the examination will be rescheduled. All registered candidates will receive notification of the new date and time of the test.