For example, what"s the difference between
in trying to say "I hope you pass the exam"?
I think you mean ますように rather than ように. 試験に合格しますように is more natural.
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They are basically the same meaning. However I think 試験に合格しますように has a stronger wish than 試験に合格するといいな.
The main difference is whether you want it to sound like a wish/prayer/humble request (～ますように。), or like a simple hope/desire for an outcome (～といい～).
Take this example:
「彼が長生きしますように。」 ‘May he live long.’
「彼が長生きするといい(です)ね。」 ‘It will be nice if he lives long.’
In trying to say "I hope you pass your exam" I would use
「試験に合格しますように。」 "May you pass your exam.", "I pray that you pass your exam".
「合格するといいね！」 "It would be nice if you passed!"
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