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The Ultimate Guide to the California Notary Exam 2023

21st February, 2023

Key tips and answers notary public applicants need to know to prepare for the practice test and pass the California notary exam in 2023.

If you’re a legal California resident who wants to become a notary public, you are required to pass a written examination prescribed by the Secretary of State. The California notary exam is designed to test your knowledge of notary laws, procedures, and ethical responsibilities. The ultimate guide from Notary Course Online outlines the up-to-date specifics of the CA notary exam as of 2023, including its format, questions, and tips for success.

Table of Contents

Why is the California notary exam important?

Passing the notary public exam is an important step towards becoming a notary public in California. Whether you are interested in starting a new career as a notary public or want to renew your notary public commission, passing the exam is one of the mandatory steps prior to appointment as a notary public.

What is the exam’s format and cost?

The California Notary Exam 2023 is a closed-book exam that consists of 45 multiple-choice questions. The exam has a time limit of 60 minutes. A success score of at least 70% is required to pass the exam. An applicant must register in advance and visit an official testing site on a specified date. Check the exam schedule for February-April 2023 and find the list of testing sites available in California.

New applicants and renewing notaries must pay the fee in the amount of $40. In the case of exam retaking after failing the last one the fee is reduced to $20. Applicants must bring a separate check, money order, or cashier’s check made payable to the Secretary of State with their name preprinted on the check. Learn more about the additional materials you must bring to the notary public exam here.

The California notary exam covers the following topics:

Notary Public Law and Procedures.

Applicants must prove the knowledge of California’s notary laws, including the Notary Public Handbook, the Secretary of State’s regulations, and the Civil Code. It also covers the general procedures for notarizing documents, such as verifying the identity of signers and maintaining a notary journal.

Ethics and Professional Responsibilities.

Applicants must be aware of the ethical and professional responsibilities of a notary public. It covers topics such as conflicts of interest (for example, when you notarize for a family member), fraudulent documents, and maintaining impartiality.

Notary Practices.

It is necessary for applicants to prove their knowledge about common notary practices, such as certifying copies, administering oaths, and witnessing signatures.

Filing and Recording Documents.

This type of questions test the applicant’s knowledge of how to file and record the notarial documents.

CA Notary Public Exam 2023 Topics

Who is the exam administrator?

The notary public exam in California is administered through CPS HR Consulting. This is the only organization contracted with the California Secretary of State to administer the Notary exam on behalf of the State of California. The registration process for the notary public exam is processed through the organization’s official website.

How to prepare for the CA notary exam?

Preparing for the California Notary exam can be a bit challenging, but there are open resources to help you get ready. Here are some tips on how to prepare for the exam and where to find study materials:

1. Review the Notary Public Handbook.

It contains detailed information about laws and regulations that control notary public services in CA. You can download the latest version of the Notary Public Handbook from the California Secretary of State.

2. Take an online notary course.

The state-approved 6-hour online notary course is a great way to prepare for the notary public exam because now you can take it from your home or any convenient location. The online course covers all of the topics that you’ll have to answer during the notary exam. That includes notary credentials, obligations and restrictions, as well as proper identification procedures and record keeping. You can complete the course at your own pace and receive the same-day certificate of completion.

3. Practice with sample exam questions.

During the online course, you will be able to pass a practice test with questions from the state notary public exam. The questions are designed to simulate the format and content of the real exam. This is the best way to assess your knowledge and point areas where you may need extra study.

4. Practice time management.

The exam has a time limit of 60 minutes, which means that applicants have an average of 1 minute and 20 seconds to answer each question. It is essential to practice time management to ensure that all questions are answered within the time limit.

5. Read the questions carefully.

The exam questions can be tricky, and it is essential to read them carefully to ensure that you understand all the details. We also recommend reading through all of the choices before selecting an answer.


Before taking the CA notary exam all applicants are required to pass a notary public course from a state-approved vendor, such as Notary Course Online. The course covers the exam’s topics and additional study materials including the Notary Public Handbook. With careful preparation and a focused approach, you’ll be able to successfully pass the California Notary Exam 2023 and become appointed as a notary public in California.

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