Mandarin has an unfair reputation. While it isn't exactly easy to learn, it's no more difficult than other complex languages, and you can make it even simpler by utilizing these four tips.
1. Know the Differences in the Language
Traditional Chinese is used in places like Taiwan and Hong Kong. Simplified Chinese is used in Singapore. If you're learning Chinese to fit in with a certain group or go to work in a specific country, make sure you're learning the right flavor of the language.
2. Use Mnemonic Devices
Let the picture-characters tell you a story. Make definitions into acronyms. The more you can link the different parts of your visual and auditory memory, the more success you'll have in retaining new knowledge.
3. Get Involved with the Culture
A love of Chinese culture will inspire you to keep up with your Mandarin lessons. For example, if you start watching a Chinese television drama without subtitles, you'll be that much more motivated to know what Xiao Ying is saying to his father when he yells so loudly.
4. Practice Daily
All skills go rusty with disuse, so it's important to practice your Mandarin every single day. A dual immersion school is good for this, and so are daily vocabulary words or memorization recitals.
You don't have to break into a sweat at the thought of learning Mandarin. With these four tips, fluency will come as easily to you as it does to Mandarin's millions of native speakers.