Along with hands-on flight instruction to prepare for the check ride, you'll take ground school to prepare for the required FAA knowledge test. Various ground school options are available, depending on the school and your own preference.
The traditional method is to attend a class taught by a certified ground school instructor. The flight school may offer in-house ground school classes, or they may be available at a local community college or adult education program. Some people prefer to complete ground school before starting on flight training so they begin with a base knowledge, and can then focus all of their time and concentration on flying.
Today, more and more student pilots use self-study programs to acquire the academic knowledge needed to pass the written test.
Informative and entertaining videotape and computer-based ground school programs have been available for some time, and have proven highly effective at preparing students for flight training and the knowledge, oral, and flight tests.
One advantage of a classroom approach is the opportunity to learn from questions and discussions that take place between instructor and students. Things that might not have occurred to you, or that you may be reluctant to ask about, probably will come out in a group class. The great advantage of self-study is its flexibility. You "attend class" on your schedule, and go at your own pace.