Pavey and team-mate Julia Bleasdale both produced PBs to finish seventh and eighth with times of 30:53.20 and 30:55.63 minutes respectively, as Tirunesh Dibaba retained her Olympic title.
And 28-year-old Pavey, in her fourth Games, was overjoyed as her performance delighted the crowded Olympic Stadium.
She said: “We’re just so pleased, we’re great mates and for us both to get a big personal best in front of a home crowd in a home Olympics.
“It was a tough race but we’re just thrilled with our times and we gave it our all. It was a great experience.”
Meanwhile, Ross Murray finished fourth in his men’s 1500m heat with 3:36.74 minutes to qualify for the semi-finals.
And 21-year-old Murray credited the raucous support of the home crowd for giving him the extra motivation to finish strongly in what he described as one of the best moments of his life.
He said: “When they called out my name on the start line I was just overwhelmed. Words can’t really explain how it feels but it’s unbelievable.
“I came around with 200m to go and I went past (Asbel) Kiprop and everyone went nuts.
"I was like this is a heat, everyone’s going crazy for a heat but I thought I’m just going to go for it and not ease up one little bit.”
Teammate Andrew Baddeley joined Murray in the semi-finals with a 3:40.34mins run to finish sixth in his qualifying heat and secure automatic qualification.
And Baddeley, who finished eighth in Beijing, believes there is more to come from him as he looks ahead to Sunday’s semi-finals.
He said “I felt very comfortable, especially with 300m to go. I thought there might have been more of us in the mix, especially when you look at the start sheet.
“I think I would have finished a comfortable fourth or fifth if they hadn’t cut me out at the end but that’s racing.”
Great Britain’s long jump pair Greg Rutherford and Christopher Tomlinson both qualified for Sunday night’s final after finishing fourth and fifth respectively in qualifying.
Rutherford took third place with a best jump of 8.08 metres, edging fellow Brit Tomlinson into fourth place with 8.06m and keeping Team GB’s long jump medal chase on track.
And 25-year-old Rutherford, who finished tenth in Beijing, is expecting an exciting finale as he chases an Olympic medal on home soil.
He said: “Tomorrow will be special. I am here to win. I am bringing the biggest 'A' game I've ever brought anywhere.
"Four years ago I went to pieces in the final. Now, I'm in the best shape, the best position and with the best team around me. I am going to go well."