Just like obtaining a Driver's License, pilots must pass a written exam (called the knowledge test) in order to receive a pilot certificate. There are several methods for obtaining this knowledge and you must select the best method for your particular learning style. The ground school can be completed prior to or concurrent with flight training. However, it is important you keep ahead of your flying with knowledge as the flight lessons focus on practical application of the things you learned. Upon meeting the ground school requirements you will receive the endorsement required to schedule the knowledge test.
Online Ground School
There are several online courses such as the Jeppesen Private Pilot Online Training and Sporty's Learn to Fly Course that break down over 30 hours of content into short 30-min topics. You can complete these modules individually or binge over several weekends. If you enjoy media-rich content consumed at your pace, then this may be a good solution for you.
In-Class Ground School
At Rainier Flight, we offer several in-class RFS Private Pilot Ground School courses throughout the year for students to attend. The course is six weeks long and is taught by experienced flight instructors. If you enjoy group discussions and hands-on projects, this is a good option. Often times students will supplement an online course with FAA Handbooks. Or if you find a particular topic challenging, you can audit that session in our formal ground school to help you progress, free of charge.