A simple theoretical model was developed to compare the sensitivities (i.e., signal-to-noise ratios per unit imaging time) of two-dimensional (2D) multislice and 3D imaging sequences. The model shows that the sensitivities of 3D and 2D multislice MRI sequences are usually similar. Sensitivities are identical in T2-weighted sequences when the T(R)s of the two sequences are the same. In T1-weighted gradient-echo sequences, sensitivities are very similar when Ernst angle excitation is used and the T(R) of the 2D sequence is less than T1. The predictions of the model are confirmed in phantom and animal experiments.