Our expert says:
You don't mention your current age ; what you've been doing between leaving school, and what else you're doing now, but they could all be relevant. Especially, one just tends to get out of the habit of studying, and it can take a while to re-gain the skills - of concentrating, recognizing the important features of whatever stuff you're looking at, organizing your thoughts, claridying what a question is really loking for, and so on.
Mainly, one tends to regain such skills by continuing to do it, gradually improving, though some courses or advice sources on pure study skills, can help.
Don't panic and start telling yourself that "I can't do this!", but calm down and at most admit I'm not YET doing this well right now", reminding oneself that improvement is likely, especially if one allows oneself to be open to it.
If you can assemble a good listing of the main points appropriate to responding to a question, fleshing that out into an essay ought not to be too hard. Assume you have your list, and a friend has asked you to explain it to her, and just conversationally explain things including all the important things in your list.
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