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January 4, 2018

My best test questions are from Carmen, but…

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 12:28 pm

My best quiz question ideas come from Carmen. But, you have no idea how long the evolutionary trail is. She will give me an idea for what she thinks is a good question. I will ask it and then it will take three minutes for someone to not know how to answer it. So, I have to simplify the question so at least a handful of people might get the answer correct.

In some cases, I will take a question and create five versions of the question so that I get a version that at least 30% of the people I test can get it right. Having answerable questions matters, but also having questions people can answer in twenty seconds or less is important as I don’t have all day to wait.

Carmen’s favorite question was:
What is the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat?

Unfortunately nobody could answer this. However, I broke it down into smaller questions. I asked which notary act can the signer sign prior to appearing before the Notary? The answer most people gave was none. However, an Acknowledgment does not need to be signed before the Notary. It needs to be acknowledged before the Notary. People don’t know this because they don’t have Notary school in their states. Then I asked which Notary act uses the verbiage subscribed and sworn.

Or I would ask which Notary act requires the signer to sign before the Notary. But, people would not know the answer was a Jurat. I would give them a choice of Acknowledgment, Jurat, Affirmation or Proof. Most people said Affirmation, but an affirmation does not require a signature. Dumb!

In any case, no matter how I ask the questions, the majority of Notaries have no clue what they are doing, but try explaining that fact to them — they just get mad. So, maybe I shouldn’t list fake Notaries. I am having standards now of 70% notary knowledge minimum which is a very low standard, but if I raise the bar above 50%, I lose half my notaries which is a disaster. Just do your best and study how to be a Notary. 123notary has a Notary Public 101 course and the NNA has the Notary Essentials course.

Notary Public 101 quiz questions

30 Point Quiz Jeopardy

Notary aptitude test 2



  1. I have found there to be a very distinct difference between test taking and ability to do. I have had employees who unfortunately were unable to obtain technical certifications but in actual assignments were able to perform to a high standard. On exactly the same subject matter and tasks included in the tests.

    Perhaps test taking, or in your case; the ability to answer questions is not a true measurement of the subjects’ ability to competently perform the various tasks asked of a Notary Public.

    Suggestion: test by doing. Email your “set of documents” and ask them to be processed “as if” the persons were present. Subjects would write VOID thru their stamps, and would type in the oath as if the affiant was present. Thereby they are doing, not answering questions.

    The technology exists to do this interactively via the internet with relatively inexpensive commonly available “testing” software.
    I understand you have a concern about testing fraud. Well, I doubt you can recognize the voices at the other end of the phone. So, as far as security is concerned it’s really a wash. The only way to be really sure is to have the subject in person with proper ID, clearly impractical.

    Over the past decade plus I have seen discussions from a generally high level of understanding. I truly doubt if there is really a large number of “know nothings” in your directory.

    But, this would not be the first time for me to be totally wrong. If you have a bunch of complaints about the skill level of the membership; perhaps a series of “what happened” (without names) blog entries would inspire those “not up to the mark” to hit the books.

    Frequent “lamenting” over a very long time has not been working; though easy to do. Perhaps your laudable intent to raise the average skill level requires a different approach.

    Comment by Kenneth Edelstein — January 4, 2018 @ 9:50 pm

  2. Quite frankly, I too have had the testing call. The problem is not your questions. The problem is most of your questions are state specific with the calls being made between 5pm and 9pm. Personally I don’t want to answer a pop quiz when I have been closing loans all day and am trying to fix supper or relax or even heading out the door for an evening loan closing. You surprise most people when you call because a subscription service like yours should not be “vetting” their notaries. So most people at least for the first few seconds are trying to wrap their head around why you are calling. We pay for this service and do not wish to be harassed then berated on a public forum if we dont answer your questions within a few seconds.

    My advice to you? Calm down, assist notaries with their education vs. a pop quiz. Help with marketing solutions. Provide tips with a state law or one of your questions/ideas. I realize that there are many notaries that need more education, and there are a lot of really great notaries out there as well. If you require a measurement of their ability, then lobby for a signing agent state license vs. a certificate similar to a title agent or mortgage broker.

    And please, please, please quit putting down the very people that keep you in business!

    Comment by Tina Baymont — July 3, 2018 @ 12:56 pm

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