The Notary Public test is a 50-minute exam that has 30 multiple choice questions. A Notary Public is appointed by each state's Secretary of State, governor or lieutenant governor, and authorized to affirm contracts and documents for validity. Tests are state-specific and do vary, but they follow the guidelines established by the National Notary Association.
Questions About State Commission
The test includes questions about where a notary can sign documents. For example, a question may ask whether the notary can perform affirmations in another state. The answer is no, with exceptions. The State of California requires all notarial acts to be performed in the state of commission. Other states, like New York, have reciprocity rules with neighboring states that might commonly do business across state borders.
Record-Keeping and Document Requests
A notary is appointed by the state, and her journal records are subject to review. You will be asked who can review these. A sample question might look something like, "An attorney sends a request for a copy of the journal entry. What information is needed to grant the request?" Anyone can request the journal entry copy. The request should include the month and year the journal entry was made, but not necessarily the date. Additionally, the name of the party and the type of document notarized is required.
Types of Notarial Acts
Not every notarial act is defined the same way. There are acknowledgements, oaths, jurats, copy certification and signature witnessing. You may see a question like, "An acknowledgment indicates what?" An acknowledgement is one of the most common notarial acts. It means the person signed the document in person in front of the notary, and the notary acknowledges this action through her stamp and signature. As part of the acknowledgement, the notary is determining the identity of the signer and that they have the capacity to sign the document.
A notary needs to be particularly careful with immigration documents. A sample question might be, "Is it illegal to make unauthorized copies of certain immigration documents?" The answer is yes -- making unauthorized copies can result in criminal penalties. Documents like a Certificate of Naturalization or a Certificate of Citizenship cannot be copied except by an official immigration representative. A notary would have to refer the person to the nearest immigration office.