The IC-718 is one of the most popular entry-level rigs on the market. The only thing I might add to your setup is a sound card interface (assuming you have a computer in your "shack") so you can use digital modes such as RTTY and PSK31. A basic interface such as the RigBlaster Plug & Play costs $120.00 from most dealers.
Having a computer in the shack is a good idea even if you don't use the digital modes right away. One of the most popular uses for a computer is to keep a log of your contacts.
As far as taking the tests, yes, you can take the Technician test and the General test at the same session. It is not unusual for people to go in unlicensed and come out a General or even an Extra! You only have to pay the testing fee once (assuming you pass them both the first time!), but if you do not pass one of the tests, you will have to pay the test fee again.