Yes it is true that "intelligence" is an arbitrary and broad term that can mean a number of things. But the SAT does what its supposed to do and what Universities actually care about, and that is measure how well a student does with reading, writing, math and in the case of the ACT, science. The time limit is justified because in college you will be faced with the same sort of testing procedure. Of course, people who excel in areas that aren't covered by the SAT, such as athletics or leadership and social skills, will receive scholarships and entry into colleges based on how they do in school sports or extra-curriculars. However, the SAT and ACT are still excellent measures of how "intelligent" a student is in the three areas it covers, and it just so happens that these areas are what top universities actually care about.
Oh, and for those who are saying that since the SAT is being changed this year then that means the SAT is somehow flawed, that isn't entirely true. The SAT dumbing down their questions and making the essay optional won't matter when universities can just raise their minimum SAT score requirements and make the essay obligatory.
No, scores from standardized tests such as the SAT do not provide an accurate portrayal of a young person's intelligence level. The SAT is timed, and therefore paints a more accurate picture of how quick the test taker can think on their feet and perform the tasks. They are looking at overhauling the SAT, so that should tell you something about this matter.
SAT scores are really good at testing the ability of the book smart student. For the emotionally smart or socially smart student they do a very poor job of testing those types of intelligence. So, while SAT scores show how much a student cares about the world of facts and figures they do not show overall intelligence
IMO, the SAT can test for academic knowledge skills, however, with the complete omission of creative and coping skills. Creative and coping skills are a part of overall intelligence. Therefore, the child who excels at creativity can often be overlooked by the traditional and antiquated so called barometers of intelligence such as the SAT test.
I do not believe SAT scores are a good way to determine the intelligence of a child. I think the SAT's are good for given an estimation that will help colleges assess a students placement. I do not believe it is possible to fully gauge intelligence based on a test.