Pre-mRNA splicing is a fundamental process required for the expression of most metazoan genes. It is carried out by the spliceosome, which catalyzes the removal of noncoding intronic sequences to assemble exons into mature mRNAs prior to export and translation. Given the complexity of higher eukaryotic genes and the relatively low level of splice site conservation, the precision of the splicing machinery in recognizing and pairing splice sites is impressive. Introns ranging in size from <100 up to 100,000 bases are removed efficiently. At the same time, a large number of alternative splicing events are observed between different cell types, during development, or during other biological processes. This extensive alternative splicing implies a significant flexibility of the spliceosome to identify and process exons within a given pre-mRNA. To reach this flexibility, splice site selection in higher eukaryotes has evolved to depend on multiple parameters such as splice site strength, the presence or absence of splicing regulators, RNA secondary structures, the exon/intron architecture, and the process of pre-mRNA synthesis itself. The relative contributions of each of these parameters control how efficiently splice sites are recognized and flanking introns are removed.