There are some rules about stress placement, but like a lot of English there are many exceptions.
Generally, the stress comes on the first syllable of a two-syllable word like "doctor" or "dentist".
For words with many syllables, the stress is usually on the third-from-last syllable like syllable or "hospital or certificate.
You're right about "present". It is correct to present a present!
You won't go wrong very often if you follow the two rules I've suggested, but as I said before, be prepared to come across many exceptions.
Hope this helps.