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Quiz: Common Notary certificate errors

Updated 9-6-22.


1. True or False: If there’s not enough room on the document, it’s OK if your seal covers part of the text or a signature.  

A. True

B. False

ANSWER: False. You should never place your seal impression where it covers other wording or a signature on the document. This is a common mistake that can lead to the notarization being rejected by the receiving agency. If space for a stamp is limited, place your seal in the closest blank area you can near your signature.

2. When completing the venue section of Notary certificate wording, you should write down:

A. The state and county where your Notary commission is filed

B. The state and county where the document will be sent

C. The state and county where the notarization takes place

D. The state and county where you live

ANSWER: C. Many Notaries have contacted the NNA asking what information should be entered in the venue section of the Notary certificate. The venue always refers to where the notarization takes place. Always be sure to enter the state and county where the notarization occurs in the venue section.

3.  If an error is found in the certificate wording after the notarization, should you send a blank or corrected loose certificate page to the signer?

A. Yes, that is the easiest way to correct the error

B. No, because there is a high risk the certificate page could be used for fraud

C. Only if the notarization was performed for a mortgage or title company

D. Only if you personally know the signer

ANSWER: B. You should never provide anyone with replacement blank or unattached notarial certificate wording to correct a notarization error. Once the wording is out of your control, you have no way of knowing if the certificate wording will be completed with false information or attached to an unrelated document to make it appear as if it was notarized.

If an error is discovered post-notarization, you will need to check your state’s Notary laws to find out what steps you may take. Some states, such as California and Florida, specifically prohibit their Notaries from correcting a certificate after the notarization is completed. In California and Florida, the signer would need to have a new notarization performed on the original document.

4. True or False. If you spot an error in the certificate wording while the notarization is still taking place, you are allowed to correct it.

A. True

B. False

ANSWER: True. If you see there’s an error in the certificate wording while the notarization is still taking place, you may correct it by lining through the incorrect information, printing the correct information legibly, and then initialing and dating the correction. You should make a notation in your journal that you corrected the certificate and record the reason why.

5. When you print or sign your name on Notary certificate wording, your name should:

A. Exactly match your name as it appears on your Notary commission

B. Include your full first and last name, but you may omit your middle name or initial

C. Exactly match your name as it appears on your driver’s license or primary ID

D. Include your full last name, but you may initial or shorten your first and middle names

Answer: A. When you sign or print your name on a Notary certificate, your name should exactly match how it appears on your official Notary commission. Do not omit part of your name or use initials if it does not match the commission name you have on file.

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor with the National Notary Association

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Add your comment

edison dorsey

03 Sep 2018

great question


03 Sep 2018

If you can't pass the above test, you might want to reconsider being a notary.

Nancy García

03 Sep 2018

Thank y


11 Oct 2018

To Matt bull crap that's why the have study materials.

Robin Everett

11 Oct 2018

I passed woohoo

Angel F. Banuelos

11 Aug 2020

I passed the quiz.

Daphane A Romer

12 Sep 2022

I appreciate the quiz. Thank you! I passed!


12 Sep 2022

That was a good test and I can see how some notaries can make these mistakes. @Matt, it's too late...they're most likely already a notary.


12 Sep 2022

I work in a an estate planning office in California and I can’t tell you how many times we get document back with errors on the acknowledgment pages. CA notaries, please SLOW DOWN at your appointments and spell your name as shown on your commission!

Jacklyn Brown

12 Sep 2022

I passed the quiz

Ryvona B Stephens

12 Sep 2022

I passed 100%. After 35 years, I better pass or give up my Notary Cert.


12 Sep 2022

Great reminders - glad I passed.

Sherald Barnes

14 Sep 2022

I enjoyed the quiz...

Kathy jo Schell

16 Sep 2022

I passed thank you


16 Sep 2022

I passed, and I’m not a notary. However I review notarized documents all the time, in my role as a default closer.

17 Sep 2022

Glad I passed and great refresher

linda ferguson

19 Sep 2022

this is a great refresher course


11 Oct 2022

I pass, great questions

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