You may think that Chinese is Mandarin and Mandarin is Chinese, but unfortunately it's not that correct. So what Mandarin really is, let's  find the answer.

Standard Chinese or Modern Standard Chinese, also called Mandarin, Putonghua, Guoyu or Modern standard Mandarin, is actually a standardized number of Chinese as well as the official language of the People's Republic of China along with the Republic of China (Taiwan), and is one of the 4 official languages of Singapore.

The phonology of Standard Chinese or Standard Mandarin is depending on the Beijing dialect, but its vocabulary is drawn from the big and diverse group of Chinese dialects spoken across northern, central and southwestern China, a linguistic spot whose varieties are collectively known as Mandarin Chinese. The grammar is standardized to the physique of modern day literary performs that define written vernacular Chinese (originally Baihua), the colloquial alternative to Classical Chinese created around the turn from the 20th century in China. The name "Mandarin" referred for the language utilized by the imperial court in Beijing and occasionally by imperial officials elsewhere, and as such was adopted as a synonym for Contemporary Standard Chinese in the 20th century, but the term became ambiguous as its use was extended in the field of linguistics for the numerous Northern dialects of Chinese.

Now, you understand that only standard Chinese is Mandarin. And Chinese, includes not only Mandarin but also other dialects of China and so on. Mandarin must be your first step to learn Chinese, but after that you still have a long way to go.