I feel that many probability questions are very ambiguous concerning the choice of words. For example:

In a talent show there are 12 contestants. The judges will choose 5 contestants and place them in the top 5 places. How many ways can this be done?

I seem to stumble upon these sorts of questions all the time where I find myself asking: ''Do they want me to find out how many ways 5 contestants can be placed in 5 places?'' ''Do they want me to find out how many ways 5 contestants can emerge from 12 and then find out how many ways these 5 can be placed in the top 5 places?''.

Maybe it's because I lack probability knowledge but is there any way to understand these explicitly?