I am about to graduate with a B.A. in Math and want to pursue a Ph.D. in the subject. I understand that most graduate schools require both the general GRE as well as the subject math test.
I am wondering exactly how important these exams are for admissions. Obviously it varies by school, so I was hoping people could compare them to undergraduate admissions with the ACT or SAT.
For example, as a high school student we were told that SAT / ACT scores were an important but not determining factor in admissions. Accordingly, I stressed quite a bit about my scores and even retook the ACT.
For a graduate program, especially in mathematics, is the general GRE really that important? Or is it more of a check mark — that is, to make sure candidates are able to read and write, but not necessarily to pick those with the highest scores.
Similarly, are the subject tests decisive at all? Or are they used to just make sure that you know the "basics," while the course load and letters of recommendation are far more important.