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Quiz: Back To Basics

ANSWERS:

1. The most common form of notarization requested by signers is:

A. The acknowledgment
B. The jurat (or verification on oath or affirmation)
C. Certifying a copy
D. Executing a protest 

ANSWER: A. Acknowledgments are the most common type of notarization requested by signers. Unlike copy certifications or protests, every state authorizes Notaries to perform acknowledgments, and acknowledgments are often required on important documents such as deeds, loan agreements and powers of attorney.

2. True or False: When performing an acknowledgment, the Notary must always positively identify the signer.

ANSWER: True. When performing an acknowledgment, the Notary must always positively identify the signer according to state law. Depending on the state, this typically involves using acceptable identification documents, the oath or affirmation of one or two credible identifying witnesses or the Notary’s personal knowledge of the signer (except in California).

3. What is the difference between a jurat and an acknowledgment?

A. A jurat requires the signer to make a promise of truthfulness
B. A jurat requires the signer to sign the document in the Notary’s presence
C. Both A and B
D. None of the above

ANSWER: C. Unlike an acknowledgment, a jurat (or verification on oath or affirmation) requires a signer to sign the document in the Notary’s presence and make a verbal promise of truthfulness (either an oath or affirmation) before the Notary. 

4. A signer may take either an oath or affirmation when requesting a jurat. What is the difference between an oath and an affirmation?

A. An oath is taken under penalty of perjury, while an affirmation is not
B. An oath is a promise to a higher power, while an affirmation is not
C. You can go to jail for a false oath but not for a false affirmation
D. There is no difference between an oath and an affirmation

ANSWER: B. While oaths and affirmations have the same legal effect, an oath is a promise made to a higher power such as a deity while an affirmation is a personal declaration made under penalty of perjury. A signer may choose to take an oath or an affirmation when requesting a jurat, based on the signer’s own preferences and personal beliefs.

5. Out of the four choices below, which form of written or documentary identification is the most trustworthy?

A. An ID that contains a signature but no photo
B. An ID that includes a Social Security number but no personal information
C. An ID that is government-issued and contains a photograph, signature and physical description
D. An ID designed by the signer and printed on a home computer

ANSWER: C. Generally, the most reliable form of signer identification is a government-issued ID that includes a photograph, signature and physical description of the bearer. However, keep in mind that state laws regarding acceptable forms of ID vary — some states only provide general guidelines for the criteria an ID must meet, while other states, such as Florida, list specific forms of ID a Notary may accept. Always be sure to follow your own state’s rules regarding signer ID.

6. True or False: A signer not personally known to the Notary and lacking ID can sometimes be identified by one or more credible identifying witnesses.

ANSWER: True. The oath or affirmation of a credible identifying witness can be used to identify a signer if the signer lacks other proof of identity. Essentially, the credible identifying witness acts as a "human ID card" who vouches for the signer’s identity. In some but not all states, the credible identifying witness must be personally known to both the signer and the Notary. In other states, the witness may be identified with written identification if he or she does not know the Notary. Some states allow two credible witnesses, as long as the witnesses can provide written or documentary ID for themselves. Again, always be sure to follow your own state’s rules regarding use of credible identifying witnesses.

7. When is the best time to record a journal entry?

A. After the signer has left, to ensure complete privacy of your records
B. After the certificate and seal are affixed, so you know the notarization was fully completed
C. Before the signer arrives, so you aren’t imposing additional inconvenience for the signer
D. Before you complete the certificate, to ensure you have all necessary information recorded in your journal before the signer leaves

ANSWER: D. Before completing and affixing your seal to the Notary certificate wording. It is a good idea to record all necessary information in your journal entry after the signer arrives, but before you complete the certificate. That way, you make sure the signer doesn’t leave before signing your journal entry or providing any other information you require for your journal.

8. True or False: Even if not required by state law, keeping a journal can provide you with valuable evidence that protects you in the event of a lawsuit.

ANSWER: True. Notaries are sometimes named in lawsuits months or years after a notarization takes place — which makes it nearly impossible to recall details of the event in court. But a well-kept Notary journal entry can provide evidence that you exercised reasonable care during the notarization, which can help protect you from being held liable and forced to pay damages in a lawsuit.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association. 

3 Comments

Add your comment

Debra Heidecker

07 May 2018

Very helpful information. Studying to take the test. Thank you.

Jennifer Eidson

26 Nov 2018

Where is the study material for the NSA exam?

National Notary Association

27 Nov 2018

Hello. The exam should provide you with links to the Notary Signing Agent Code of Conduct and other study material. You can also find the Code of Conduct here: https://signingprofessionalsworkgroup.org/code-of-conduct/

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