How to prepare for the notarial practice oral exam

Friday, May 17, 2024, 8:26
Author name
Johan van Stade
Tips to prepare for the notarial practice oral exam


This blog is intended to be a guideline in preparing for the notarial oral examination.  It will provide you with a foundation from which to start preparing for the task ahead.  You are going to need your study material, your exam paper, as well as any input you can get from colleagues and students who have prepared for this exam in the past.  
Let’s look at some tips to prepare for the oral exam.


Focus on key areas

Firstly, focus on key areas.  

  • Pay close attention to important topics such as drafting and executing notarial documents, authenticating and verifying signatures, registering deeds and documents, wills, and servitudes. 
  • Remember that in the oral exam, the examiners are rarely going to ask you to draw up full documents; rather, they will ask you about theoretical principles relating to the subject matter.  
  • As such, don’t spend hours drafting various agreements and notarial documents.  Rather ensure that you have a sound understanding of the content covered in this exam. 


Practice in ‘exam mode’

Prepare for your oral exam as if it were a test because, ultimately, it is one.  

  • Don’t underestimate the effort that you need to put into the oral exam.  
  • Treat it like you would any other written examination and make sure you are properly prepared.  Be thoroughly knowledgeable about the subject you will be tested on.  
  • During your preparation, practice answering any questions (out loud) that you think the examiner could possibly ask you.


Seek guidance

Seek guidance from experienced notaries or legal professionals.  Their insights and advice on effective preparation can provide reassurance and support, enhancing your confidence for the oral exam.


Remain calm

Remember to stay calm and confident during the oral exam.  

  • Trust in your preparation and abilities.
  • Approach each question methodically to maximise your chances of success.  
  • Never arrive late for an oral exam.  Ensure that you are ready at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time of your exam.  
  • If possible, clear your calendar for that day to ensure that your sole focus is on acing this oral exam.
  • It is normal to experience exam anxiety.  Here are some tips to beat test anxiety from a Gawie le Roux Institute of Law alum.


What the examiners expect during an oral exam

While an oral exam demonstrates your knowledge of a specific subject, it also showcases your presentation, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills.  Understanding the importance of these skills in the exam will make you feel more aware and prepared.  

  • Note that the examiners will have your exam answer sheet in front of them and they will use it to ask you questions.  
  • Examiners typically want concise, specific answers to the questions asked.
  • Ensure that you listen carefully to the question being asked, take a second to think about your answer, and then answer only once you have thought your response through.  
  • If you feel like you did not understand the question properly, don’t be afraid to ask the examiners to repeat it.  Avoid rambling on about irrelevant details to the question being asked, as this will come across as a lack of understanding about the topic or question at hand.

Connect with your peers

If you’d like to connect with others preparing for the notarial practice exam or oral exam, join our Telegram group.


About the author

Johan van Stade joined the Gawie le Roux team in 2019.  His passion for further education, training, and the law enables him to pass his expertise on to his students, especially those who are seeking deeper practical knowledge and understanding of the law.  He is the presenter and co-author of the Attorneys’ admission exam courses and co-presenter of the Course in notarial practice.  Johan presents various paralegal courses, such as Legal bookkeeping, among others.  He is an admitted attorney, conveyancer, and notary.


You may also be interested in:

How to prepare for your competency-based oral exam
Need a little help passing your conveyancing oral exam?
How to prepare for the notarial practice exam


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