The SAT I: Reasoning Test measures verbal reasoning, math problem-solving, and critical reading. It is not designed to measure motivation, creativity, or specialized talents.
The American College Test or ACT measures general educational achievement in the areas of English, math, reading, and science, and assesses the ability of students to complete college-level work. The ACT is also unlikely to identify students who are gifted in specific areas, such as creative thinking, leadership, or the visual arts.
Both the ACT and SAT also have supplementary tests that are designed to assess advanced achievement in specific subject areas. Some colleges prefer one test or the other in their admissions processes, but both tests are good for selecting students for accelerated content-based programs, such as Talent Search. Schools also can compare scores on the two tests. The American College Testing Program, which produces the ACT, and the College Board, which is associated with the SAT, provide excellent websites with additional information about their testing programs. Both have specific links for parents and students. The ACT website is act.org. The College Board website is collegeboard.com.