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Notary Notes

Info on the Pearson VUE Notary Exam Process

by PAN
Here is what PAN knows about the Pearson VUE notary exam process:

Approval for the exam

Once your notary application, fee and education certificate have been received and approved by the Department of State, you will receive an E-mail with the approval to take the notary exam. The E-mail will provide you with the details on how to schedule the exam.

New notary applicants should allow at least four to six weeks for processing after submitting a completed application to the Department of State. If you do not receive the approval E-mail within this time period, contact the Division of Commissions, Legislation and Notaries at 717-787-5280.

Scheduling and paying for the exam

The notary exam will be given at a Pearson VUE computer-based testing facility. When you receive your approval E-mail, you will need to schedule your test by using the Pearson VUE Web reservation site at

The exam fee is $65 and is payable with a credit card, debit card or electronic check payable to Pearson VUE. Personal checks are not accepted. Exam fees are paid online at at the end of the exam scheduling process.

Cancelling and rescheduling policy

If you cannot attend your scheduled notary exam, you must contact Pearson VUE at least 48 hours before the day of the exam to reschedule. If you do not attend your scheduled exam and fail to contact Pearson VUE to reschedule 48 hours before the exam date, your exam fee will not be refunded and you will not be able to transfer the fee to another exam date. Please note: you cannot give your exam date to another person.

Absence policy

Pearson VUE may consider excusing an absence from an exam for the following "acceptable" reasons:
  • You are ill or an immediate family member is ill
  • Death in the family
  • Disabling traffic accident
  • Court appearance or jury duty
  • Military duty
  • Weather emergency
    • Exams may be delayed or cancelled if severe weather or a natural disaster makes the test site unsafe or impossible to reach. Candidates will be notified if the exam is cancelled and may take the exam on another day at no additional cost.
Requests for excused absences must be made in writing within 14 days following the day of the exam that you missed. The request must include proof of the reason you were absent, such as an original doctor's note. The excused absence request must be mailed to:  Attn: Regulatory Program Manager, 5601 Green Valley Drive, Bloomington, MN 55437.

Exam day

You should arrive at the test center 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. If you arrive more than 15 minutes late for your exam, you may be refused admission and exam fees may be forfeited.

No personal items may be taken into the testing room and includes all bags, books not authorized by the sponsor, notes, phones, pagers, watches and wallets.

You will need to show two forms of current signature and photo identification, such as a current driver's license, current U.S. Department of State driver's license, current U.S. learner's permit (plastic card only with photo and signature), national/state/country ID card, passport, passport card, military ID, military ID for spouses and dependents, alien registration card (green card, permanent resident visa).

Secondary identification that has a signature and is not expired could include a U.S. Social Security card and a debit (ATM) card.

The exam

The notary exam will consist of 30 multiple choice questions. Each question will have three answer options. If you do not know the answer to a question, you may guess or move on to the next item. If you want to review a specific question you can click on "Flag for Review" to mark the question. At the end of the test and if you have time to go back to those questions marked for review, you can answer them or change your response. Please note that unanswered questions will be marked as incorrect. You will have 60 minutes to complete the exam.

At the end of the exam, preliminary exam results will be provided. If you have successfully passed the exam and fulfilled all the other requirements, you will receive your Notice to Appointee letter from the Department of State.

Failing the exam

To retake the exam, you must use Pearson VUE's Web reservations at Reservations for a re-examination cannot be made at the test center. You must wait 24 hours from your failed exam before making another exam reservation.

Scaled score

Scoring for the notary exam is computed as a scaled score, which is different from a traditional exam score. A passing scaled score is 75.

Not all questions count equally toward a passing exam score. Some questions have more value than others. The State and Pearson VUE will not disclose to you which questions have a higher value and therefore count more toward a passing grade.

For example, this could mean some people who answer 15 questions correctly do not pass the test because the questions answered did not count as much toward their score. Someone else answering 15 questions could pass because they answered higher valued questions.

When you pass the exam, you will only be told you passed and not given a score. If you do not pass, yo will be given a score from 0 to 74 to see how close you came to passing, which is a 75 score or above.

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