We calculate classical cross sections for absorption of massless scalars by the extremal 3-branes of type IIB theory, and by the extremal 2- and 5-branes of M-theory. The results are compared with corresponding calculations in the world volume effective theories. For all three cases we find agreement in the scaling with the energy and the number of coincident branes. For 3-branes, whose stringy description is known in detail in terms of multiple D-branes, the string theoretic absorption cross section for low energy dilatons is in exact agreement with the classical gravity. This suggests that scattering from extremal 3-branes is a unitary process well described by perturbative string theory.