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Notary Quiz: What does this signer want?


1. A customer calls you. “I need a copy of my birth certificate notarized so the agency I’m sending it to has proof it’s authentic. Can you do this for me?” What should you do?

A. Agree to certify the copy if the signer brings it to you along with the original birth certificate.
B. Agree to certify the copy only if the signer brings you the original birth certificate and you photocopy it yourself.
C. Tell the signer that only the recording office that issued the original birth certificate can provide a certified copy.
D. None of the above. 

ANSWER: C. Certified copies of vital records such as birth, death and marriage certificates can only be issued by the recording office that holds the original document.

2. A signer asks you to notarize her signature. The document contains a notarial certificate that reads, “Acknowledged, subscribed and sworn to before me on …. (date).” What should you do?

A. Ask the signer to “subscribe” (sign) the document, acknowledge signing it and swear or affirm the statements in it are true, and complete the notarial certificate on the document.
B. Ask the signer to “subscribe” (sign) the document, and either acknowledge signing it or swear or affirm the statements in it are true, and complete the notarial certificate on the document.
C. Ask the signer to “subscribe” (sign) the document, and either acknowledge signing it or swear or affirm the statements in it are true, and replace the certificate on the document with either an acknowledgment or verification on oath or affirmation (or jurat) certificate.
D. Ask the signer to “subscribe” (sign) the document, and affix your seal and signature without completing the notarial certificate.
E. Either A or C, depending on your state.
F. Either B or D, depending on your state.

ANSWER: E. Either A or C, depending on your state. “Hybrid notarial certificates” are tricky for Notaries to deal with, because they ask the Notary to certify actions of not one, but two or more notarial acts. In this test question, elements of an acknowledgment and verification on oath or affirmation (or jurat) are combined into one notarial certificate. If you are presented with a document that includes hybrid certificate wording, you will need to complete all actions stated in the certificate — so if a hybrid certificate includes wording for an acknowledgment and verification (jurat), you will need to complete both.

This test question is also tricky because not all states allow Notaries to complete hybrid certificates (California, for example.) If you are commissioned in California, you will need to complete and attach to the document the correct notarial certificate for either an acknowledgment or jurat that you perform. In this case, Answer C would be the correct answer.

3. A neighbor asks for your help. “I’m going to court tomorrow, and I need to present this document as evidence,” he says. “I need to make sure it’s legal, so can you stamp and sign it?” What do you do?

A. Stamp and sign the document but ask the neighbor to show you acceptable identification first.
B. Tell your neighbor that notarization does not automatically “legalize” a document.
C. Tell your neighbor that you can’t affix your seal to a document without performing a notarization authorized your state’s laws.
D. Both B and C. 

ANSWER: D. Many people mistakenly believe that affixing a Notary’s seal and signature automatically makes the document legally binding in a court of law, but this is simply not true. A Notary can verify the identity of a person who signs a document, or administer an oath or affirmation to a document signer, but a notarization cannot “legalize” a document simply by having a Notary stamp it. In fact, some states specifically prohibit Notaries from affixing their official seals to documents except when the Notary is performing an authorized notarization.

4.  A signer brings you a document that requires the signer to swear that the statements in it are true. But when you are about to administer the oath to the signer, he balks. “I don’t believe in God. Can you just perform the notarization and forget the oath?” What do you do?

A. Stop the notarization since the signer is unwilling to recite an oath.
B. Complete the notarization but skip the oath.
C. Perform an acknowledgment for the signer instead.
D. Suggest the signer can take an affirmation in which the signer confirms the statements in the document are true based on personal honor.

ANSWER: D. When notarizing a signature on a document that requires the signer to verbally confirm the statements in the document are true, a signer has two options. The signer may take an oath, which is a promise of truthfulness made to a higher power or the signer may take an affirmation, which is a promise of truthfulness based on personal honor without invoking a deity or supreme being. Both oaths and affirmations are equally acceptable for and a signer can choose which type of promise they prefer based on the signer’s personal beliefs.

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Add your comment

Gloria Rodriguez

09 Mar 2020

very good information. it is important to understand what it means to be a Notary.

Janet Seay

09 Mar 2020

Good professional information.

Azel Anderson

09 Mar 2020

Very informative


10 Mar 2020

I got hung up on second question because question is a string of "and" clauses but answer C is a string of "or" clauses. very tricky!


10 Mar 2020

Not sure I agree with the answer for Question 3. If feels like giving legal advice to: B. Tell your neighbor that notarization does not automatically “legalize” a document. I only answered D.


11 Mar 2020

This was a nice refresher, making sure that we are doing the right things!

Daniel Downing

16 Mar 2020

Question 4 ans C must include that it meets the requirements for notarization in California...i.e. it commits the signer in some way.

jonathan mitchell

14 Apr 2020

The last 2 questions caused me some concern. They were tricky and going with what is best for me I choose the wrong answer. can you do more of these test to help with doing a notary correct. Thank you

thomas flewellyn

14 Apr 2020

the text questions are extremely helpful for student to learn the subject matter in its entirety.

National Notary Association

15 Apr 2020

Thank you Thomas, we're glad you find them helpful!

Nancy Laurie Spellmeyer Doak

14 Apr 2020

Thank you. Very good information.

Bertha L Gross

14 Apr 2020

Great Information

Esther Piper

16 Apr 2020

Very good, I enjoyed the informative very informative.

Katheryn Brown

04 Aug 2020

I agree excellent refresher, thanks

Lisa Q

19 Aug 2020


Stephanie White

13 Oct 2020

This was great information & refresher to keep you up-to-date and ensuring you're on the right track to staying legal.


13 Oct 2020

More quizzes like this only longer, please!! I really enjoyed it!

02 Dec 2020

These Quizzes are Very Useful, Challenging & Kinda Fun :)

30 Apr 2021

Very helpful and very interesting

gerald birk

31 May 2021

Joyce, I kind of agree with you but then again I don't totally. I've had an almost identical situation happen to me and I explained to the person what a Notary is, that it's certifying that the person who signed actually was physically there along with enough proof that he was actually who he said he was and that I observed him sign the document. I then in conversation told him that the notary seal and signature didn't make it "legal" but only that he was actually the person that signed it.

30 Jul 2021

Good practices for all!


10 Jan 2022

I don't agree with the answer to the first question. The signer asked for the birth certificate to be notarized, not certified. In California, notaries can perform a "Copy Certification by Document Custodian". I would've explained this as an option.

National Notary Association

10 Jan 2022

Hello. A copy certification by document custodian requires notarization of a signature on a written statement by the bearer of the document attesting to the copy's accuracy. It is not a notarization performed directly on the actual copy or document.

John Opalko

10 Jan 2022

For question 3, I was going answer "both B and C" but then I thought that simply informing your neighbor that a a Notary's stamp and signature doesn't "legalize" a document could, strictly speaking, be construed as giving legal advice, so I answered "C," which was incorrect. Tricky!

Jane Jech

13 Jan 2022

the tricky questions are the most helpful!

Jaime V

08 Feb 2022

I really like these! Especially when they are "trick questions" since this is how life works.


23 Feb 2022

Being a new Notary I was excited to take this quiz testing my knowledge of what I've learned so far. It really helps to do this type of exercise because it clears up any doubts you may have when faced with awkward situations. Thanks NNA.

Dana Madison

01 Jan 2023

Very Excellent Indeed !!


06 Mar 2023

Hi! I'm a CA Notary. For question 2 answer C: is that saying that the Notary (in CA) chooses whether to use an Acknowledgement or a Jurat themselves? We aren't supposed to choose the type of Notarial act for the Signer so I'm confused by the answer. Could you explain in more detail please? Thank you! : )

National Notary Association

06 Mar 2023

Hello. No, in the situation described in question 2, a CA Notary would ask the signer to choose either an acknowledgment or jurat certificate because CA Notaries cannot complete hybrid certificates. The CA Notary would not make the decision which wording to use; that would be chosen by the signer.

BK Jackson

14 Aug 2023

I would say that for the first question, although I answered C as the correct answer as I believed that you all would have that listed as the correct answer, the actual correct answer in my estimation is D, None of the Above. I say that because when you read the question and look at the answers, the Issuing Authority NEVER issues the original document. The only issue a certified copy. That's even stated in your answer. As such, C would be incorrect as worded: "Tell the signer that only the recording office that issued the original..." Again, they NEVER issue the original. This in and of itself will confuse Notaries, new and old alike into thinking that they can notarize a birth certificate as a true document. In California, we simply cannot do that. I've spoken to several who think they can.

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