CA Notary Exam

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a Notary?

Individuals who wish to obtain a commission must complete the tasks outlined in the California Secretary of State's Notary Public Checklist. This includes passing an exam administered by CPS HR Consulting (that's us).

How do I register for a Notary Public exam?

You may register for a Notary Public exam online.  

To register online, go to Test Schedule and review locations and dates for your area.

If you are unable to get into your online account or need assistance, please contact CPS at (916) 263-3520 or via email at notaryinfo@cpshr.us (available Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm).
Be prepared to provide a complete description of your request including the following information:

  • Your Name
  • Daytime Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Preferred examination date, time and location


A confirmation scheduling letter will be sent via email or USPS 1-2 weeks prior to the examination date. The confirmation letter will also be available in your online account under View Notifications.

How do I obtain a Notary Handbook and Application?

The Notary Handbook is available either online or by mail. To receive a handbook by mail, please click here.

The application is only available online and must be printed from the Secretary of State's Website.

How do I receive my test results after the exam?

Result Notification: Results from your Notary Public Examination will be emailed (if you provided an email address on the upper right corner of your application) or mailed via USPS approximately 15-20 business days  following the examination. Result information will not be discussed over the phone. Current processing timelines can be found at the top of the homepage.

If you do not have an existing online account and have listed an email address on your application, a message containing your username and password will be sent to you from CPScontact@cpshr.us. Receipt of this message indicates we have processed your application and created your online account. This message is automatically generated and may not clear any “spam” filters. In this case, the message is likely to be in your “junk” mailbox.

Once exam results are available, you can access them via your online account. To view your results notification online, select the “My Account” link located in the toolbar. Once logged in, select “View Notifications” to see a copy of your exam results letter. Exam results are available approximately 15-20 business days after the exam date.

How long is the exam?

Effective July 1, 2019 the Notary Public exam is 45 items and candidates are permitted 60 minutes to complete the exam.

What is on the exam?

All of the material in the California Notary Public Handbook (including updates, if any) is subject to examination. The exam will test your knowledge on the following content areas; 1) Administrative Procedures, 2) Notarial Acts/Documentation, 3) Identification/Subscribing Witness Notarizations, 4) Immigration/Foreign Language and 5) Misconduct/Fees.

How is the exam scored?

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.

How long will it take to receive my commission after I pass the exam?

To check current processing times, please visit the Secretary of State’s website. Notary Public commissions are issued from the Secretary of State’s office, Notary Public Section.

Once candidates pass the exam, their application is forwarded to the Secretary of State's office for processing. All persons appointed as a Notary Public are required to complete the items on the  Notary Public Checklist.

ABOUT CPS HR CONSULTING

CPS HR Consulting is the only organization contracted with the California Secretary of State to administer the Notary exam on behalf of the State of California.

If you are looking for education providers to prepare for the notary exam please click on the approved vendor list. If you have any questions regarding registering or taking the exam, please contact us. For questions regarding obtaining a notary commission, please contact the California Secretary of State.

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