I'm following a tutorial using a later version of illustrator but I've noticed that they have a feature similar to InDesign where you can click and drag out the image to the scale you want when placing it. I am wondering whether there is a method surely for this in illustrator CS6?
New versions of applications often contain new or changed features. It should never be assumed that something which exists in the newest version of any application also exists in older versions of the same application.
When placing an image in Illustrator CS6, the placed image merely drops in at size. There's no option to drag an area when placing any image in Illustrator CS6.
A user has to first place an image and then resize the image when using Illustrator CS6.